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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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3.3 Memory aids

One way to remember how to spell a word is to find something in the word itself that makes it memorable. In the examples below, note how the letters in bold type can help you remember how to spell the word.

Ways of remembering some spellings

Separate – Pull apart (to pull things apart is to separate them)

Stationery – Paper (paper is one sort of stationery); or an envelope is an item of stationery

Stationary – Car (when a car is not moving it is stationary)

Accommodation – two cots and two mattresses

Secretary – a good secretary keeps a secret

February – brrrrrr it’s cold in February

Necessary – one collar, two sleeves

Another way of remembering spelling is by associating each letter with a word.

For example, here’s one way of remembering how to spell ‘necessary’:

Never Eat Cake Eat Salmon Sandwiches And Remain Young

Even just thinking of cake and salmon sandwiches should help you remember that the word has one c and two ss.

Here’s one for rhythm:

Rhythm Has Your Two Hips Moving.

And because:

Big Elephants Can’t Always Use Small Exits.

Activity 15 Word play

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

You might know ways of remembering how other tricky words are spelt. If so, make a note of them in the box below.

Then choose one of the words you identified earlier that you find difficult to spell. See if you can make up some word play to remember it.

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There are at least two other good examples for necessary:

the cesspool in the middle

the shirt prompt for the c and the ss - one collar, two sleeves.

If you can make up your own rhymes or prompts for the words you struggle to spell, you are far more likely to remember them. This is a flexible and fun way to remember correct spellings.


If a word is very long you can break it down into small chunks like this:

Environment: Env – iron – ment.

Then remember that there is an ‘iron’ in the middle!