Language Tips

Spelling tip of the week – bicycle

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of spelling tips we will be looking at some of the most commonly misspelled words in English and suggesting ways to improve your spelling.

People searching in Macmillan Dictionary for the word bicycle often misspell it *bycicle, or sometimes *bicicle or *bycycle.

Bicycle is a case where both frequency and etymology are helpful in remembering the spelling. There are no words starting bici- or byc- in Macmillan Dictionary, but there are several that start with bic- and of course many starting with the prefix bi-. Bi- means two or twice, and this is your other clue to the spelling: a bicycle has two wheels, the ‘cycle’ part coming from the Greek word for wheel, ‘kuklos’. So if you remember that bi- means two and a bicycle is for cycling and has two wheels, you won’t go far wrong.

You can find some information on why English spelling is so difficult, as well as helpful tips on mastering it here. You can search for other posts in this series using the tag ‘spelling tips’.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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