Language Tips

Spelling tip of the week – develop

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 verb develop often spell it with an extra ‘e’: *develope. People also search for *developement instead of development.

The endings -elop and -elope are both very rare in English: the only entries in Macmillan Dictionary that end -elope are elope, antelope and envelope. Those ending in -elop are develop (and redevelop) and envelop.  In both cases the pronunciation is reflected in the spelling: the first three are all pronounced with a long final vowel (the diphthongs /-əʊp/in British English, /-oʊp/in American English) while the other three end with a short vowel, a schwa /ə/, in both varieties. The same ‘schwa’ sound is carried through into all the different forms of develop: verbs, nouns and adjectives.

So to remember how to spell develop and all its derivations, you need to remember that it is spelled like envelop, another verb, and not like the noun envelope. Remembering how the words are pronounced might help with this.

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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