Language Tips

Spelling tip of the week – conform

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 for the verb conform in Macmillan Dictionary sometimes spell it *comform by mistake.

Conform comes from the Latin prefix con- meaning ‘together’ plus the verb ‘formare’. Although con- is the more common form of this prefix, it is also spelled com-, especially when it precedes the consonants b, m, p, and sometimes f: so combine, command, compose, and comfort. So it is not unreasonable to think that conform could be spelled with an ‘m’ in the middle.

An additional factor may be the consonant sounds in the middle of the word. When we say conform, most of us do not sound the ‘n’ clearly, making it easy to confuse it with an ‘m’.

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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