Language Tips

Spelling tip of the week – aggressive

© 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.

In last week’s post we looked at one of the most frequently misspelled words in English, accommodation. This week’s word presents similar problems and for the same reason: double consonants. People trying to look up aggressive in Macmillan Dictionary often miss out either a ‘g’ or an ‘s’, spelling it *agressive or *aggresive, usually the latter.

Aggressive and its related words conform to the rule of thumb that words of Latin origin tend to have doubled consonants in the middle. It comes from the past participle of the Latin verb aggredi, meaning ‘to attack’. This helps us with the first double consonant, but what about the second? Here pronunciation is a guide: *aggresive would probably be pronounced like adhesive or cohesive, with a long second vowel rather than a short one.

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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