Spelling: Common Mistakes in the 11+

Eleven-Plus Preparation Specialists

There are many words that are frequently misspelt, and you will find that many schools will put a specific exercise in their Section A which looks to probe your knowledge of spelling. Additionally, you’ll have to spell correctly throughout section B in order to secure high marks. Here, we look at some of the most commonly misspelt words.

Accommodate – remember that this word has two Ms, and two Cs.

Aggressive – remember that this word has two Ms

Apparently – remember that this word has two Ps

Appearance – again, remember that there are two Ps here

Basically – this is often misspelt as ‘basicly’ – remember the extra A and the double L

Bizarre – often misspelt as bizzare

Business – often misspelt as bisness

Definitely – this is very often misspelt as definately

Disappoint – remember that there is only one S, but two Ps

Embarrass – remember that there are two Rs and two Ses

Government – remember that this is spelled with RNM in the middle

Necessary – remember that this has one C and two Ses

Occurrence – remember that this has two Cs and two Rs

Possession – remember that this has double S, twice

Siege – might be misspelt as seege, for example

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Rules to Avoid Making Mistakes

I before E, except after C: This is a very well-known rule. It generally holds true – think about ceilings, or perceiving. However, there are some exceptions – so be aware!

Dropping the E: If we’re changing a word and adding a suffix, then we drop the E. Examples are joke+ing → joking, or close+ing → closing.

Words ending in -ful: These are always spelled with one L. As examples: grateful, faithful, careful, helpful, useful.

Words starting in ‘all’: We drop the extra ‘L’. As examples: all+though → although, and then we have almost, also, already, always, etc.

Can you spot the mistakes?

Building on what we did above, here’s a passage with a variety of spelling mistakes. Look through and see if you can spot the errors. I’ve written the answers out below.

As he looked out of the window, he thought he percieved something strange. For there, allmost so far off that it was difficult to sea, was a shadowy figure. The figure was moving slowlly, and seemed to be nearing the house. He thought for a second about closeing the window, and forgetting about what he had seen – then he realised that this wouldn’t help the situation. Whilst the site was bizzare, it could be dealt with, he decided. He would go outside, and he would do what was necesary. If the figure became agressive, then perhaps he would run. He certainly did not feel like standing and fighting. The day was ending, and knight was beginning. He ran down the stairs, and went strate out of the door, into the garden. He ran down the path, towards were he had seen the figure. He piered into the bushes, looked between the trees… Then, with a sudden surge of embarassment, he realised what he had seen – it was a balloon, floating over the bushes, no doubt left over from the birthday party that he had had the day before. It had seamed to be a human figure, he told himself. He had made the write decision by coming out and checking.

In the above, there are actually some words that are misspelt and some others that are homonyms (words that sound the same but are not).

Misspelt words are as follows: perceived, almost, slowly, closing, bizarre, necessary, aggressive, straight, peered, embarrassment.

The homonyms are: night, where, seemed, right.

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Closing remarks on spelling

You may be unable to avoid being examined on some spelling, if there is a dedicated part in Section A. However, if you’re struggling with a particular word or words in section B, see if there’s a way around it. For example, if your character is feeling ‘an acute sense of embarrassment’ and you’ve realised that your spelling is wrong, but you’re not sure how to correct it, then simply change to a synonym or a similar word. Here, we might have them feel ‘an acute sense of shame’ instead – and thus avoid having to make a mistake. 
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