Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English

The IELTS English test is conducted to judge your writing, speaking, reading, and listening skills of the English language. English vocabulary and grammar, therefore, play an important role in judging your band score for the IELTS test. It is a high proficiency test and in this particular blog, English vocabulary will be focused upon.

Lexical Resources

It is one of the valuable parameters on the basis of which an IELTS score is given. Lexical resources refer to the vocabulary and wide range of words used in English tests. English vocabulary is an ocean of words that can never be fully known. However, practice on a daily basis can make it improve.

In my teaching career, I have seen many spelling mistakes from the students in English writing. Spellings play an important role in the writing and listening exams of IELTS as both tests require you to write with your own knowledge. In the reading test, all the spelling is given in the sheet or passage itself. So here, some of the commonly misspelled words lists will be shared with you in order to give a boost to your knowledge.

List Of IELTS Commonly Misspelled Words

Illustration- it is usually misspelled with the word ilustration.

Grammar- it is one of the highly misspelled words in English as it is written wrongly as grammer. Always 'a' not 'e'

Then and than- in IELTS task 1, in comparison graphs, students tend to make mistakes, especially in these two words. Remember that

'Then' is used to describe the time period.

'Than' is used to compare.

Juveniles- it is a synonym for Children.

Juvenile delinquency- synonym for crimes committed by children.

Accommodation or to accommodate- means to live in a place. Written with 'cc' and 'mm'.

Environment- it is commonly misspelled with the word envirement as it is said so. However it is not correct pronunciation.

Optimistic and pessimistic- these are the two words used to describe a person as being positive in nature or negative in nature respectively.

License or licence- In American English, the noun is spelled the same as the verb- license. But in British English, the noun is spelled licence. However, the meaning stays the same—permission or permit.

Cigarette and liquor- many students actually don't know these spellings.

experience- the content of observation or participation in an event

beginning- the act of starting something. ('nn' always but in the word 'begin' it is 'n').

government- the system or form by which a community is ruled

Immediately- without delay or hesitation; with no time intervening

length- the linear extent in space from one end to the other. (Spelled as so 'gth').

Strength- the property of being physically or mentally powerful

opinion- a personal belief or judgment. However, to write 'opine' it is spelled so.

Difference- In my opinion or I opine that……. (Opinion as a noun and opine is used as a verb)

enemy- a personal foe

Appearance- outward or visible aspect of a person or thing

Stopped- (of a nose) blocked

generally- usually; as a rule spelled with 'll'.

Success- an event that accomplishes its intended purpose. Always 'cc' and 'ss'.

professor - a member of the faculty at a college or university


Personal and personnel- are two different words where personnel means staff

Particularly- to a distinctly greater extent or degree than is common

difference- the quality of being unlike or dissimilar

committee- a special group delegated to consider some matter

existence- the state or fact of being

pleasant- being in harmony with your taste or likings

Likely- having a good chance of being the case or of coming about

Finally- as the end result of a sequence or process

Island- a landmass that is surrounded by water. Pronouns with 's' as silent.

Especially- to a distinctly greater extent. Spelling starts with 'e'.

knowledge- the result of perception, learning, and reasoning

Practice and practise- these two words are the same in pronunciation but have different meanings.

Practice is a noun.

Practise is a verb.

Accessibility or accessible- means to have a reach to something.

Vacuum- emptiness which is generally misspelled with the word vaccum.

guarantee- an unconditional commitment that something will happen

exhaust- wear out completely

Independence- not dependent (commonly misspelled as independense or independance)

maintenance- activity involved in keeping something in good working order

peaceable- inclined or disposed to peace

Vigilant- carefully observant or attentive

Faithful or faithfully

Fulfilled, fulfill, fulfil or fulfilling-

Fulfil and fulfill both are correct spellings.

  1. Fulfil is the spelling commonly used in English speaking countries like the UK and Australia.
  2. Fulfill is the spelling commonly used in the United States
  3. In Canada, they use both spellings.

Restaurants- pronounced as 'restron'.

Unnecessary- 'nn' and 'ss' but 'c'

Unanimously- in one decesion.

Jealous or jealousy - commonly misspelled as jealos or jealosy. It has 'ou' in between.

Mistake of 'ie' & 'ei'

I before E, except after C" is a mnemonic rule of thumb for English spelling.

● Deceive- to make something believe in untruth.

● Received or receive- commonly misspelled with recieve.

● achievement- the action of accomplishing something

● Believe or believes

● Ceiling

● Fierce or fiercely

Putting 'ied' by Cutting 'y' (to change the form into past)

● Deny - denied

● Study- studied

● Marry- married

Forming Adverbs from Adjectives by Changing a -y ending to -ily:

● happy - happily

● heavy - heavily

● lazy - lazily

To form the plural of a noun, change a -y ending to -ie- and then add s.

● baby -babies

● hobby - hobbies

● family - families

● lorry - lorries

Some Important Connectors And Conjunction-

Therefore- as a result; from that fact or reason

really- in actual fact

several- of an indefinite number more than 2 or 3 but not many

till- work land as by ploughing to make it ready for cultivation

already- prior to a specified or implied time

quite- to the greatest extent; completely

Quiet- means to get silent.

enough- sufficient for the purpose

Though- (postpositive) however

However- on the contrary.

How To Avoid Spelling Mistakes In IELTS Exam?

  1. Focus on the pronunciation and sound of the word. There are in total 5 vowels in the English language. 'a' , 'e' , 'i' , 'o' , 'u'. These all vowels produce different sounds. Speak the words aloud.
  2. If the pronunciation of the word does not match the spelling, learn it as per your sound. For example- patience is pronounced as 'pashence' but learn it as 'pa' 'tea' 'an' 'ce'. It will get you to remember all the words in a quick way.
  3. Written practice is one of the key tips to getting perfect in spelling writing. Listen to more of the words and write them daily. If the mistake happens again, write it twice or thrice.
  4. If you are unsure of the spellings in the exam, think of its alternative synonym and write that. Remember that the wrong spellings of a word are more noticeable than a simple word written.
  5. Proofread your writing task once you have done it. It can also help you to avoid spelling mistakes if done any.

I hope that the above list of commonly misspelled words is clear to you. However, the list can never be complete but a little idea of quite common mistakes has been given to push a little more in achieving the desired band score Keep practicing for it on a daily basis and work hard.

Best of luck!

Dr. Roma

Content Writer