JS Tip 187: From the Writing Workshops: Spelling

Spelling is a disaster.

Spelling is chaotic.  

Spelling is almost impossible. Almost.

Let’s explore this. Here’s a game you can play with your children. Or your grandchildren.

Spell “fish.”





         GH as in tough. (Fffff . . . .) 

         O as in women. (Ih . . . .)

         TI as in nation. (Sh . . . .)

GHOTI: Ffff . . . ih . . . sh. Yup. Fish.

The Rules

What’s the one spelling rule you remember from the eighth grade? “’I’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c.’” Right? (Some teachers added “or sounding as ‘ay’ in ‘neighbor’ and ‘weigh.’”)

It was a weird rule. And unscientific. (Bam. Bam. Weird: “e” before “i.” Unscientific: “i” before “e” after “c.”) The rule doesn’t work. The rules don’t work.

The Response

Develop your visual memory. Identify the words that give you problems. Write the correct spellings on the back of a business card. Put the card in your pocket or your wallet or your purse. While you’re waiting for a meeting, pull out the card and look at it. While you’re riding on the bus, pull out the card and look at it. Focus on the correct spelling.

Pretty soon, when you seen the misspelled word, it will look funny. Wait a minute, that doesn’t look right.

It’s the only way.

Questions? Ask. We love this stuff. And we appreciate you. Thank you.