Remembering tricky spellings

Home learning focus

Learn spelling strategies and how to remember tricky spellings.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to help you with tips on remembering tricky spellings and to revise homophones and homonyms

  • three activities


Some words in the English language are difficult to spell. There are many different reasons a word can be tricky to spell. For example:

  • they have silent letters, like the letter b in the word subtle
  • they have double letters that you also cannot hear, for example, in the words disappoint and accommodation
  • they don’t follow a pattern or spelling rule, for example, the word ancient does not follow the rule - i before e except after c

Watch this short video for tips on how to remember tricky spellings.

Learn how to use tools and techniques to help you memorise tricky spellings.

There are tools that you can use to improve your spelling skills. In the the table below there are four common tricky words and examples showing how tools can be used to remember their spellings.

Tricky WordToolExample in action
NecessaryMnemonic - helps in remembering facts/wordsOne collar, two sleeves - one c two s’s
RhythmAcrostic - create a phrase from the letters that make up the wordRhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move
IndependentWords within words - break the word down and remember the smaller words inside itdepend, dependent, dent
WednesdaySounding out parts of the word and giving them emphasis can help when trying to remember the spellingWed-nes-day


Words that have the same sound, but a different spelling and meaning are called homophones. These words might lead you to use the wrong spelling in your writing. For example, many writers confuse the words your and you’re.

Lean more about homophones and homonyms in this short video.

Learn about the differences between homophones and homonyms.


Activity 1

Highlight the six correct homophone words to complete each of the sentences below.

Now complete this short quiz to check how much you've remembered.

Activity 2

Create your own spelling quiz show to play. You are the quiz host and can test the people you live with on spelling rules, and strategies for remembering tricky spellings.

  • Start by writing ten questions and answers for your players, for example:
    What is a mnemonic? For an extra point see if you can spell mnemonic!

  • Then, see who's free to take part in your quiz show. You could even organise a virtual quiz show.

Activity 3

There are other spelling rules that can help you master tricky spellings.

Click on the image below to read a 'Spelling rules' chapter from Collins. Take notes on some more spelling rules and complete the four questions on the final page to check your knowledge.

Spelling rules progress check

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about using tips to remember tricky spellings and revised the meaning of homophones and homonyms.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you make your spelling more accurate.

There's more to learn

More lessons for Year 7 and S1
More from KS3 English
11 - 14 English Language
Class Dismissed
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