Writing: Spelling Similar Words

Academic Writing

Spelling: Similar Words

In English many words are similar and easily confused. For example, summary & summery, cereal & serial, write & right. Make sure you have the correct word.

There are several different kinds of mistakes that might appear to be spelling mistakes.

  1. Words spelled incorrectly.
  2. Spelling of words pronounced the same.
  3. Word confusion.
  Example Correction

He left imediately
The animals are agresive.

He left immediately.
The animals are aggressive.


The students went to there class.
She has brown hare.
Wear is the library?

The students went to their class.
She has brown hair.
Where is the library?


The library is a quite place to work.
A pesonnnel computer is useful.
Shanghai is bigger then London.
I finished at least.

The library is a quiet place to work.
A personal computer is useful.
Shanghai is bigger than London.
I finished at last.


Try this exercise. 

!!Be careful with computer spell-checkers. They do not know which word you intended to write and if you mistakenly mis-spell a word which exists in English, the computer will knot notice it:

I have a spelling checker
It came with my PC
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I cannot sea
I’ve run this poem threw it
I’m sure your please to no
It’s letter perfect in it’s weigh
My checker tolled me sew

Also if you make a spelling mistake, the computer spell-checker might correct it wrongly – as it does not know which word you indended to type.

Two examples from my students are:

Firstly, …
Secondly, …
Thirdly, ..
Frothily, ..

And the accounting student who wrote about “earrings per share“.

Try this exercise, or this different version of the same exercise..

For more examples, see: Grammar: Correct Word

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