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Using words correctly
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Common mistakes

Words which sound the same

Some words sound the same but are spelt differently and have different meanings.

there - a place or position
their - of them

hair - a filament growing from the skin
hare - a small animal, like a rabbit

English or American spelling

There are some words which English and American people spell differently.

In academic work in England you need to use the English spelling.

English - colour
American - color

English - organisation
American - organization


If you give a direct quotation from an American publication, use the spelling given in that publication. Note that any direct quotation must go inside quotation marks - see Double or single quotation marks and inverted commas in the Punctuation topic at Starter Level.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004