Language Tips

Spelling tip of the week – weird

© Macmillan
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.

Last week we looked at two words that obey the spelling rule ‘i before e, except after c’, noting that the rule only applies when the sound is ‘ee’ /i:/. So yield and deceive both follow the rule.

A word that trips up many people is weird: people often search Macmillan Dictionary for *wierd instead. Weird does not follow the rule because the vowel sound is not /i:/but the shorter sound /ɪ/. In British English weird is pronounced with the diphthong /ɪə/ while in American English it is /ɪ/. So while *wierd is a reasonable guess, weird is a word whose spelling just has to be memorized.

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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