Spelling Test 3
What's Wrong with Your Spelling?

Vivian Cook   Spelling Web   More Spelling Tests    Other tests

This tests whether there are general problems with your spelling in English rather than one-off spelling mistakes.

Choose the alternative spelling you prefer

Section 1

1 A. questionnaire    B. questionaire     C. questionnairre    
2 A. very useful    B. very usefull  C. very usefule     
3 A. She refered to Trump...  B. She referred to Trump...    C. She reffered to Trump   
4 A. beginer's luck  B. beginner's luck    C. begginer's luck     
5 A. not neccessarily so  B. not necesarily so  C. not necessarily so   

If you have more than one of Section 1 wrong, you have problems with Consonant Doubling. This is a widespread phenomenon in English; the rules for it are highly complex. A summary of them is given at Consonant Doubling in English. There are also some differences between English and American styles of spelling, seen at British and American style spelling. It is probably the area with the highest number of mistakes from English speakers.

Section 2

6 A. I don't know where it is    B. I don't know were it is  C. I don't know wear it is     
7 A. It's quiet now    B. It's quite now  C. It's quiete now   
8 A. the bear necessities    B. the beer necessities  C. the bare necessities     
9 A. a principal of mathematics    B. a principle of mathematics   C. a prinsipal of mathematics    

10 A. It's their problem  B. It's there problem  C. It's they're problem 

If you have more than one of Section 2 wrong, you have problems with Homophones. These are words like they're/their/there that have the same pronunciation but different spelling. There's not much you can do about this except remember which is which by memory and by the context in which they occur. By and large this is a useful feature of English in that the written language makes more subtle distinctions than the spoken language.

Section 3

11 A. highly responcible    B. highly responsible  C. highly responsable   
12 A. He critisised the plan   B. He critisissed the plan  C. He criticised the plan     
13 A. good sense    B. good sence  C. good cense     
14 A. liberal tendancy    B. liberal tendensy    C. liberal tendency     
15 A. an immence cliff  B. an immense cliff  C. an imence cliff   

If you have more than one of Section 3 wrong, you have problems with the difference between 'c' and 's'. Careful with these rather complicated rules.

Section 4

16 A. he deceived everyone    B. he decieved everyone  C. he deceeved everyone   
17 A. they beleived the news  B. they believed the news  C. they beleeved the news     
18 A. the percieved cost B. the perceeved cost    C. the perceived cost     
19 A. to conceive    B. to concieve  C. to conceve     
20 A. He recieved a letter  B. He received a letter     C. He receeved a letter 

If you had any wrong in section 4, you need to remind yourself of the 'i before e' rule, though this really applies to only a handful of words. 

Section 5

21 A. definate    B. defenate    C. definite     
22 A. independent    B. indipendant    C. independant   
23 A. open-ended catagories    B. open-ended catigories     C. open-ended categories   
24 A. seperate    B. seperete    C. separate   
25 A. cause and affect  B. cause and affekt    C. cause and effect   

In unstressed syllables like these, 'e' and 'a' are both reduced to the vowel schwa 'er' in speech. Hence there is little alternative but to remember which word has which.

Section 6

26 A. medicine    B. medicin    C. medecine     
27 A. sensative    B. sensetive    C. sensitive     
28 A. indispensable    B. indespensable    C. indispensible     
29 A. elicit gains  B. illicit gains    C. ellicit gains   
30 A. a complementary drink  B. a complimentary drink    C. a complementaory drink   

Again 'a', 'e' and 'i' have a reduced schwa sound in speech and apparently have a random correspondence in writingt (but often traceable back to Latin)


Spelling Facts and Fancies  Unusual spellings