Is it always necessary to spell words correctly? Of course not. When students send text messages, for example, they abbreviate words and simplify spellings; indeed, sometimes to do anything else could be silly. But when they’re giving a presentation and need to write on the whiteboard, spelling words incorrectly can be a real problem.

Separate and definitely are two of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. We use them every day, but many people simply can’t remember how to spell them. And if students have difficulty with those two, imagine what happens when they get to entrepreneurial or idiosyncrasy.

English spelling has a reputation for being difficult. Some have even seen it as being quite chaotic, giving examples like the following (try sounding them out):

  • through, rough, though, thorough, cough

In each of these words, the same sequence of letters (ough) is pronounced in a different way. The trouble with spelling rules in English is that there are often exceptions.

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