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  • A range of scrabble tiles lying on a pink surface in random order.
    • Just for fun
    • Language hints and tips

    The most commonly misspelled words in English

    By Pearson Languages

    If you've ever had the feeling a word doesn’t look right after you've typed it, you are not alone. The most commonly misspelled words from this list pose challenges for more people than you think. English native speaker or not, hard-to-spell words are determined to give you a headache. And if bad spelling does happen, it’s usually in very important contexts like a vital application letter or during a conversation with your crush – which can really change the tone and potentially cause confusion or embarrassment.

    English has drawn inspiration from many different languages, so it’s perfectly normal to get confused because of its double consonants and silent letters. We all know that moment when you stare at a word for ages and still can’t believe it has two sets of double letters. There are many such examples. In fact, “misspelled” is one of them and people often misspell it.

    Here are some of the most commonly misspelled words in English (both British and American, where necessary), along with their common misspellings.

    1. Accommodate not accomodate

    Also commonly misspelled as: acommodate

    Let’s start strong with a typical example of double consonants – two sets of them. 

    2. Acquire not aquire

    Think of this rhyme whenever you encounter the word: 'I c that you want to acquire that wire'.

    3. Awkward not akward

    It also describes how we feel when we realize we’ve just misspelled a word.

    4. Believe not belive

    Remember the rhyme ‘I before E, except after C’. The same rule applies to 'believe', so use this mnemonic when in doubt. There are some exceptions to the rule, so be careful.

    5. Bizarre not bizzare

    It’s bizarre that there is only one Z but that’s the way It is. 

    6. Colleague not collegue

    Also commonly misspelled as: collaegue, coleague

    It’s hard to get this one right! Make a funny association like 'the big league of the double Ls', you may just win the misspelling match.

    7. Embarrassed not embarassed

    Also commonly misspelled as: embarrased

    If you remember this one, you’ll reduce the chances of finding yourself in an embarrassing bad spelling situation. 

    8. Entrepreneur not enterpreneur

    Also commonly misspelled as: entrepeneur, entreprenur, entreperneur

    It’s not only hard to spell, but also hard to pronounce. The origins? It’s a French word coming from the root entreprendre (‘undertake’).

    9. Environment not enviroment

    The N is silent, so it’s quite easy to misspell this one too. Luckily, it’s similar to 'government' whose verb is 'to govern' which ends in N. A very long, but good association. 

    10. Definitely not definately

    Also commonly misspelled as: deffinately, deffinitely, definitley

    You’ll definitely get this one right if you remember it’s not a case of double letters. Neither does it feature any As. 

    11. Liaison not liasion

    There’s a reason why you’re never sure how to spell 'liaison', 'bureaucracy', 'manoeuvre', 'questionnaire' and 'connoisseur'. They do not follow the same patterns because they are all French words. 

    12. License not lisence

     In American English, it’s always spelled 'license' – no matter what. On the other hand, in British English, it’s spelled 'license' when it’s a verb and 'licence' when it’s a noun. Once you decide which spelling you’ll use – American or British – it’s best to go forward with that and stick to it. 

    13. Publicly not publically

    Words ending in 'ic' receive the 'ally' suffix when transformed into adverbs (e.g., organically). But 'public' makes an exception so it’s understandable if you misspell it.

    14. Receive not recieve

    Remember the 'I before E, except after C' rule? This is the kind of word where the rule applies. It also applies to 'niece' and 'siege', but it doesn’t apply to 'weird' or 'seize'. So remember the rule but keep in mind it has some exceptions.

    15. Responsibility not responsability

    People often get tricked by this word’s pronunciation. And if you think about it, it does really sound like it has an A in the middle. Safe to say – it doesn’t. So keep an eye out.

    16. Rhythm not rythm

    This is another borrowed word; in this instance it comes from the Greek word ‘Rhuthmos’ which mean a reoccurring motion. 

    17. Separate not seperate

    'Separate' is apparently one of the most misspelled words on Google and it’s understandable why. The same as with 'responsibility', its pronunciation can trick you into thinking there’s an E there.

    18. Strength not strenght

    Even spelling pros will sometimes have to think twice about this one. Our mind is probably used to seeing the H after the G because of words like 'through'. Not this time though (wink wink).

    Don’t forget that the same goes for 'length' (and not 'lenght').

    19. Successful not successfull

    Also commonly misspelled as: succesful, sucessful

    There are so many double consonants in English, that it can become tempting to double them all at times. But for the love of English, don’t do that to 'successful'.

    20. Succinct not succint

    Some people would say two Cs are enough. This is why the word 'succinct' gets misspelled so frequently. The third S is indeed very soft, but don’t let pronunciation deceive you.

    21. Thorough not thurough

    You may have heard of this tongue twister: “English can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” It’s hard not to get confused with so many similar-looking words. You add an O to 'through' and its pronunciation changes completely.

    22. Until not untill

    In fact, 'until' was spelled with two Ls in the Middle Ages. If it helps you remember, you can think it just lost some weight but getting rid of the last L (unlike 'still').

    23. Whether not wether

    Not as confusing as the 'through' and 'thorough' example, but still pretty challenging.

    24. Which or witch not wich

    Do you know which one is which?

    Advice to avoid misspellings

    One obvious answer would be spell-checkers, but the truth is that spell-checkers won’t actually help you to improve your spelling. You will continue to misspell words and they’ll continue to correct them. This process is passive and won’t stimulate you to learn the correct spelling because somebody else already does the job for you. 

    The best advice? Practice, practice and practice!

    If you keep attempting to spell challenging words and checking them it will begin to sink in and become second nature over time. Using tools like dictionaries and language learning apps such as Mondly can help you practice and learn spelling. If you persevere and practice you can avoid any spelling mishaps. 

  • Two Young children high fiving one another
    • Language teaching
    • Young learners

    The importance of teaching values to young learners

    By Pearson Languages

    Values in education 

    The long years children spend at school are not only about acquiring key knowledge and skills. At school, children also learn to work together, share, exchange opinions, disagree, choose fairly, and so on. We could call these abilities social skills as they help children live and flourish in a wider community than their family circle.

    Social skills are not necessarily the same as social values. Children acquire social skills from all kinds of settings. The tools they use to resolve problems will often come from examples. In the playground, children observe each other and notice behavior. They realize what is acceptable to the other children and which strategies are successful. Some of the things they observe will not reflect healthy social values. 

    Part of a school’s mission is to help children learn social skills firmly based on a shared set of values. Many schools recognize this and have a program for education in values. 

    What values are we talking about? 

    Labeling is always tricky when dealing with an abstract concept such as social values. General ideas include:

    • living in a community, collaborating together
    • respecting others in all of human diversity
    • caring for the environment and the surroundings
    • having a sense of self-worth.

    At the root of these values are ethical considerations. While it may seem that primary education is too early for ethics, children from a very young age do have a sense of fairness and a sense of honesty. This doesn’t mean that children never lie or behave unfairly. Of course they do! But from about three years old, children know that this behavior is not correct, and they complain when they come across it in others. 

    In the school context, social values are too often reduced to a set of school rules and regulations. Typical examples are:

    • 'Don't be late!'
    • 'Wait your turn!'
    • 'Pick up your rubbish!'
    • 'Don't invent unkind nicknames'.

    While all these statements reflect important social values, if we don’t discuss them with the children, the reasoning behind each statement gets lost. They become boring school rules. And we all know that it can be fun to break school rules if you can get away with it. These regulations are not enough to represent an education in values.

    School strategies

    At a school level, successful programs often focus on a specific area of a values syllabus. These programs involve all members of a school community: students, teachers, parents, and administrative staff. 

    Here are some examples of school programs:

    Caring for the environment

    Interest in ecology and climate change has led many schools to implement programs focused on respect for the environment and other ecological issues. Suitable activities could include:

    • a system of recycling
    • a vegetable garden
    • initiatives for transforming to renewable energy
    • a second-hand bookstore.

    Anti-bullying programs

    As bullying can have such serious consequences, many schools have anti-bullying policies to deal with bullying incidents. However, the most effective programs also have training sessions for teachers and a continuous program for the children to help them identify bullying behavior. Activities include:

    • empathy activities to understand different points of view
    • activities to develop peer responsibility about bullying
    • activities aimed at increasing children’s sense of self-worth.

    Anti-racism programs 

    Combating negative racial stereotypes has, until recently, relied mainly on individual teacher initiatives. However, as racial stereotypes are constructed in society, it would be useful to have a school-wide program. This could include:

    • materials focusing on the achievements of ethnic minorities
    • school talks from members of ethnic minority communities 
    • empathy activities to understand the difficulties of marginalized groups.
    • study of the culture and history of ethnic minorities.

    As children learn from observed behavior, it’s important that everyone in the school community acts consistently with the values in the program.

  • Woman with a headset at a computer
    • Business and employability
    • English language testing

    Online English language testing for employment: Is it secure?

    By Pearson Languages

    Managers and HR professionals have a global workforce at their fingertips – and now, nearly 50% of organizations plan to let employees work from home. This makes adopting a secure English language test for employment more important than ever.

    An online English test enables organizations to assess candidates’ language proficiency from anywhere in the world, screen more applicants, and standardize the hiring process. They also help HR professionals and managers to save time – ensuring only people with the right language skills advance to the interview stage.

    But how can employers be certain these tests are safe? And how easy is it for people to cheat? In this article, we’ll explore a few of the top security concerns we hear, and share what features make online language tests secure.

    What is an online English test?

    An online English test measures how well a job applicant can communicate in English, focusing on speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. They also assess a candidate’s specific English for business skills – for example, how clearly someone can communicate on the phone with clients, or understand what is being said during a conference call.

    Online tests can be taken in a controlled environment – in a testing center with in-person proctors – but also from a job applicant’s personal computer or mobile phone at home. When tests are taken at home, they can be made more secure using virtual proctors or powerful AI monitoring technology.

    Cheating, grading and data security

    When many people think of taking a language test, they imagine the traditional way: students in a large testing center scribbling away with pen and paper. No mobile phones are allowed, and if test-takers are caught cheating, they’ll be flagged by a proctor walking around the room.

    So when managers or HR professionals consider the option of an online English test – taken digitally and often without human supervision – it’s no surprise that many have questions about security. Let’s take a look at some common concerns:

    Is cheating a problem?

    A large number of test takers admit to cheating on their tests. According to research by the International Center for Academic Integrity, 68% of undergraduate students say they’ve cheated on a writing assignment or test, while 43% of graduate students say they have.

    But how easy is it to cheat during a Versant test?

    The truth is, not very. With Versant, exam cheating is actually quite difficult, and test takers would have to outsmart a range of AI monitoring technologies.

    If a verified photo is uploaded to the platform, HirePro’s face recognition technology can compare the live test taker with it. This ensures test takers are who they say they are, and haven’t asked someone else to sit the exam for them. It is the institution’s responsibility to verify the original photo.

    And since Versant tests are monitored using specialized AI algorithms – without a human present – even the slightest suspicious behaviors are flagged for review. For example, Versant notices if a different face appears in the video, or if the camera goes dark. With video monitoring, our platform also flags if the test taker moves from the camera, or looks away multiple times. And we’ll see if someone changes tabs on their computer.

    Finally, the entire test is recorded. When suspicious behavior arises, HR professionals will decide whether to accept or reject the results – or have the candidate retake the test.

    Are scores accurate?

    We’ve all had frustrating experiences with AI. Chatbots don’t always understand what we’re trying to say, and speech recognition technology sometimes isn’t up to par. This leaves many wondering if they should trust AI to grade high-stakes tests – especially when the results could be the difference between someone getting the job, or not.

    Versant uses patented AI technology to grade tests that are trained and optimized for evaluating English language proficiency. It evaluates speaking, listening, reading, writing, and even intelligibility.

    Our AI is trained using thousands of fluent and second-language English speakers. With these models, we’re able to not only evaluate how someone should be assessed but also understand when they’ve mispronounced words or have made another mistake. Using all this information, a candidate’s final score is evaluated based on more than 2000 data points.

    Do online tests follow GDPR standards?

    HR professionals and managers deal with sensitive personal information every day. This includes each job applicant’s name, full address, date of birth, and sometimes even their social security number. The HR tools they implement therefore must also keep this data secure.

    Most importantly, it must follow GDPR standards. The data must be gathered with consent and protected from exploitation. With Versant, test-taker data is securely stored and follows all GDPR guidelines.

    All our data is encrypted at rest and in transmission. Versant assessment data is stored in the US and HirePro, our remote monitoring partner, stores the proctoring data in either Singapore or Europe, depending on customer needs. Both systems are GDPR compliant.

    Versant: a secure English language test

    The Versant automated language test is powered by patented AI technology to ensure the most accurate results for test takers and employers alike. Even better, our remote testing lets HR professionals securely and efficiently assess candidates worldwide, 24/7 – and recruit top global talent to help more companies scale.

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