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Watch your spelling

‘Watch your spelling’ tests you on advanced spelling – including words that native English speakers often slip up on!

Depending on whom you ask, English ~ with its seemingly simple basic grammar and huge expressive richness ~ has either a blessing or a curse when it comes to its spelling 'system'. How accurate are you with some of our more complex and/or confusable words?

  1. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    When you have already enjoyed two courses in a ... ... , comes that ... ... moment when your waiter or waitress returns, smiling, with a smaller menu and invites you to ... ... what you'd like for ... ... .
    Only Answer 4 has all the words correct within the same version.
  2. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    The mature traditional gardens at my brother's new house look ... ... in the high summer as the ... ... are ... ... with flowers.
    Further issues with 'G' here; and please don't confuse 'borders' (flower-beds along the edge of a garden) with 'boarders' (students who lodge overnight within their school).
  3. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    In traditional religions, a ... ... is a person, ... ... touched by God with an ability to ... ... , and whose most famous or provocative ... ... may well be recorded in the Sacred Book of that Faith as an inspiration to future followers and teachers.
    Answer 1 offers the correct form of each (mostly, related) term throughout.
  4. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    ... ... was ... ... Britain's ... ... ; possibly the very best who ever lived and worked.
    Answer 3 is the only fully correct version; allegedly Shakespeare himself spelt his own name with about two dozen variants, but the version we approve here is regarded as the standard.
  5. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    In the good old days when most people were ... ... how to write proper letters on paper, anyone could have reminded you of the ... ... between 'Yours ... ...' and 'Yours ... ... '.
    Some of these words are semi-irregular, but none is particularly uncommon; check with your dictionary (or a grammar book, for formation of the two adverbs).
  6. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    In fact, my brother and I were just admiring the ... ... of the ... ... garden layout, when my young ... ... came out and said, 'Dad puts a lot of love into his ... ... '!
    Further catch-words here; the nephew has presumably looked at the shapely layout and willfully misheard the word 'herbaceous' ( = full of growing things) as 'curvaceous' (shapely; an epithet traditionally applied to the generous figure of some women, but ~ quite rightly ~ not so often heard these days).
  7. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    ' ... ... ' is usually spelt this way in English, to avoid people making an unhelpful ... ... with the idea of ... ... .
    'Cruficixion' (as a word) can perhaps best be thought-of as a '-ion' abstract-style noun from the concrete noun 'crucifix' (an image, perhaps in miniature, of the traditional Roman executioners' cross).
    The other key words here do rhyme with it, but the point is that their spelling does not match it.
  8. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    Down at the marina they have boats for every kind of budget, from the smartest brand new ... ... to the humblest inshore rowing tender; they also have second-hand vessels, but some are awaiting major overhaul because they aren't ... ... until they are seaworthy and ... ... !
    'Yachts' is a loan-word into English from across the North Sea and is, of course, irregularly pronounced. There is a pun, of sorts, on whether a boat is 'saleable' (i.e. whether it may plausibly and legally be offered for people to buy it) and 'sailable' (whether it can be sailed, or undertake a voyage under its own power).
  9. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    The staff are all ... ... up for the ... ... cuts our new international ... ... will be making, now that they are ... .. our mode of work.
    This one is largely about spellings that pivot on a letter G, with its two different phonetic values. There's no need for an extra E in 'changing', because it can't easily be confused with anything else; but we need to distinguish between 'swingeing' and parts of the more familiar verb 'swing'.
  10. Find the only answer which offers the correctly-spelt words to fill the blanks.
    Not only is that man a bit of a slob ~ eating all the wrong things, and never taking any exercise ~ but he's also a ... ... , who wouldn't ever touch a nice piece of fresh ... ... in case it gave him ... ... .
    Hardly a very pleasant topic, but it has its vocabulary like anything else; Answer 2 is the only fully correct version.

Author: Ian Miles

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