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September, 2011:

Top 20 misspelt words in English

It’s always interesting to read the results of studies relating to language. The Telegraph, an English newspaper, recently reported on a study of the most commonly misspelt words in English. The top twenty misspelt words creates an interesting list – many of the words are words that an IELTS student might use in their writing. Do you think you would be able to remember how to spell all of the words in the list correctly?

Top 20 misspelt words:

1. Separate

2. Definitely

3. Manoeuvre

4. Embarrass

5. Occurrence

6. Consensus

7. Unnecessary

8. Acceptable

9. Broccoli

10. Referred

11. Bureaucracy

12. Supersede

13. Questionnaire

14. Connoisseur

15. A lot

16. Entrepreneur

17. Particularly

18. Liquify

19. Conscience

20. Parallel

You can read the full article here. Make sure that you read through the comments at the end of the article. Some of the commenters make interesting points.

Only and its position in a sentence

Only comes before the word it qualifies. If you change the position of only, you change the meaning of the sentence.

Read this post about the position of adverbs in English. It’s very useful for the IELTS exam. Make sure that you understand what the different adverb types are in English and what their position should be in a sentence. Remember, sometimes there will be a change of meaning when an adverb changes postions. This could be important in the IELTS reading exam and you need to be careful with adverbs in your writing and speaking.

Look at this sentence :

I spoke to his teacher.

How many positions do you think that only could go in? How would putting only in different positions change the meaning of the sentence?

Only I spoke to his brother.
This means that you were the only person to speak to his brother.


I only spoke to his brother
.
This means that you only talked. You didn’t write a letter.

I spoke only to his brother.
You didn’t speak to anybody else.

I spoke to his only brother.
He only has one brother and I spoke to him.

Look out for the use of only in IELTS reading papers and be careful when you use it!!

Vocabulary for describing data on graphs : plummet

When something plummets, it falls dramatically over a very short period of time. When a price plummets, it might approach zero.

The value of his shares in the company plummeted during the financial crisis.

vocabulary for describing data on graphs : fluctuate

The verb is to fluctuate. The noun is fluctuation. This is when the data on a graph goes both up and down. The rises and falls may not be regular but they are constant.

The President’s popularity has fluctuated during his term in office.

There has been a constant fluctuation in the President’s popularity over the last few years

vocabulary for describing data on graphs : fall

If there is an downward trend in a graph, there is a fall. A fall can be slight (not vey big) or dramatic (very quick and noticeable.) A fall can also be rapid (happens over a short period of time.) A fall that happens over a long period can be a slow fall. If a fall happens little by little, it is a gradual fall.