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 who want to look up cuisine in Macmillan Dictionary often misspell it as *cusine.
Cui- is a very uncommon combination of letters in English. The only other entry in Macmillan Dictionary that starts with those letters is Cuisenaire rods, a teaching aid named after a Belgian primary school teacher called Georges Cuisenaire. I can think of only one other word in reasonably common use that starts in the same way, and that is cuirass, which is the name for a piece of armour that covers the torso.
The factor that these words have in common is their French origin. In French, unlike in English, cui- is quite a common way to start a word. As for how to remember that tricky ‘i’ after the ‘u’, perhaps a mnemonic such as ‘French cuisine is never quick’ might help.
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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