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Seeing Double: How to Spell Words Correctly

Categories: ESL Vocabulary, Vocabulary Building Words, Vocabulary Improvement Tips | Tags:

Doubled letters in a word cause spelling problems, in part because there’s usually no difference in the word’s pronunciation from the duplication. With many of these words, you need to simply memorize the correct spelling, writing out the words several times until you’ve locked the word firmly in your mind and fingers. Here are some of the words that are frequently misspelled due to their doubled letters – or lack thereof. Test yourself and see if you can identify which of these words are misspelled:

1. comittee
2. fullfil
3. neccessary
4. occassionally
5. occured
6. personel
7. possesion
8. sherrif
9. travelling
10. vaccuum
11. withold

As a matter of fact, all of these words are spelled incorrectly; either a letter that should be doubled isn’t, or one that shouldn’t be is. Here are the correctly-spelled words, and some tips on how to remember the right way to spell them:

committee (kuh-MIH-tee)
With two Ms and two Ts, you’ll spell “committee” with ease.

fulfill (full-FILL)
You don’t need to be filled full to be fulfilled – only double the second L.

necessary (NEH-seh-sair-ee)
It’s not necessary to double the C when you’re spelling “necessary.”

occasionally (uh-KAY-zhun-uh-lee / oh-KAY-zhun-uh-lee)
Sadly, no: you don’t double the S or the N in this word.

occurred (uh-KURD / oh-KURD)
Both the C and the R occur twice in the word “occurred.”

personnel (PER-suhn-ELL)
Each PERSON on the New Employee List is part of the company’s PERSONNEL.

possession (puh-ZEH-shun / poh-ZEH-shun)
”Possession” possesses two double Ss.

sheriff (SHEH-riff)
Bar the second R, or the sheriff will put you behind bars.

traveling (TRAH-vuh-ling)
Pack light when traveling, and don’t double any of the letters in this word.

vacuum (VAH-kyum)
When you think of empty space, remember it’s an Unlimited Universe out there!

withhold (with-HOLD)
You pronounce both halves of this word as if they’re separate words, so they both need their letter H.

What words make you see double? Tell us in the comments.

Cross-posted at the Ultimate Spelling blog.