Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

How can you make sure that you catch spelling mistakes at work?

Many words are very similar which makes this extremely difficult.

In today’s episode, a listener shares a disastrous spelling mistake they made at work.

Listen in and get three tips to conquer this challenge in English.

Spelling mistakes

Lindsay asks Aubrey if she is generally a good speller.

Aubrey says that she has always been a good speller.

She is really good at spelling and is proud of that skill.

When she was younger, she won spelling bee contests.

Her family members and friends rely on her to ask how a certain word is spelled.

She attributes this in part to her love of reading.

She loves books and is a total bookworm.

Today’s question

A listener sent in a question about spelling words correctly.

I hope you are well. I’m writing this because I wanted to tell you that I love your podcast and the energy you put into all of your programs. I took the Connected Communicator course and some classes and I enjoyed them and it has helped me in my path as an English student. This morning I had some troubles and I need your help. I would like to talk to you, Michelle, Jessica, or Aubrey about the real effect that incorrect speaking or spelling in a professional environment when it comes to those words that change in meaning just when you change one letter. For example, dumb truck or dump truck, striping or stripping. For more context, I work for a construction company in New Jersey and these two errors caused a big problem with our company accountant. She was so hard on me. I hope you can help me. Thank you so much.


This can be very difficult, especially in writing.

Even if you have spell check on your computer, it won’t always catch spelling mistakes or errors.

Native English speakers struggle with this too.

Tips for catching spelling mistakes

There are so many words that differ by just one letter.

This makes spelling very tricky.

It would be impossible to list every example.

Thousands of combinations of words are extremely similar.

What will be most helpful is a strategy to catch these spelling mistakes in your writing.

Here are some tips:

#1: Proofread from the bottom up

This tip was given by Amanda Nosbisch, who Aubrey interviewed for our Business English course.

She is a grant writer who works for a non-profit in Arizona.

This is one of many tips she shared about professional writing and proofreading your own writing.

It is much easier to catch errors if you start at the end.

When you start from the beginning, your mind looks ahead of what you are reading and might skip mistakes.

Once you’ve written something, your mind can trick you and skip ahead which will make you miss mistakes.

Aubrey is using this tip herself to proofread a book she wrote.

#2: Read in English

The best spellers and writers are prolific readers.

When you read and consume many resources, you are exposed to a lot of vocabulary.

This helps you learn correct spelling and will equip you to recognize mistakes.

Lindsay shares that when she speaks a word, she can see the word.

She has always been able to visualize in this way.

It has helped her learn language more easily.

You can experience the same effect if you read English books or articles.

If you are able to visualize the words, it can be easier to catch spelling mistakes.

It is tempting to read books in your native language.

However, in order to be familiar with English spelling, it is important to read English materials.

#3: Use tools for grammar and spelling

There are a lot of software tools you can use to check your grammar and spelling when you are writing on a laptop or computer.

The usual spell checkers will miss quite a few errors when misspelled words are still words that exist in English.

Grammarly’s desktop extension is a very good tool that easily picks up errors since it can decide if the word you used is grammatically correct.

For example, ‘tweak’ and ‘weak’ are two different words.

If you miss a letter it can make your entire sentence incorrect.

A normal spell checker won’t pick that up since both are actual English words that are spelled correctly.

But with Grammarly, it will understand the meaning of your sentence and suggest an edit to the word.

Aside from Grammarly, there are other hi-tech tools you can use.

It’s a matter of doing the research and maximizing the tools that are available out there to ensure you don’t make spelling and grammar mistakes.


In the professional world, everything you do is important.

You have to be very careful and not make dire errors.

Use the strategies mentioned in today’s episode to avoid spelling mistakes.

There is no shame in finding help so you can improve your English output.

A lot of tools are available that can assist you in this.

Let computer software take care of the perfection so you can focus on the relationship.

What are other challenges do you have at work when submitting presentations or reports?

Share it in the comments and we’ll see how we can help.

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