Language Tips

Spelling tip of the week – renowned

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 adjective renowned often mistakenly spell it *renowed. Others remember the second ‘n’ but spell it with a ‘u’ instead of a ‘w’: *renouned.

Renowned is of course related to the noun renown but is much more frequent, so it is unlikely that someone would know how to spell the noun and not the adjective. Although renowned is pronounced /rɪˈnaʊnd/, it is easy for the second ‘n’ to get missed in speech, which is probably why many people miss this letter out when spelling renowned. And although both noun and adjective were originally spelled with a ‘u’, the spelling with ‘w’ was well established by the 17th century.

It might be helpful to remember a mnemonic such as ‘She was renowned throughout the town‘, but otherwise this is one of those spellings that just have to be learned.

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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