Spelling Tips: Letter Omission and Addition
  • 3-minute read
  • 29th October 2019

Spelling Tips: Letter Omission and Addition

Letter omission and letter addition are common causes of spelling errors:

  • Omitting a letter means missing it from a word.
  • Letter addition means adding an unnecessary letter to a word.

In this post, we take a look at a few terms affected by these issues. Remember to look for similar words in your writing, as this will help you avoid mistakes.

Letter Omission Errors

Letter omission errors are common when a word is supposed to contain double letters. Funnily, one example of this is the word “misspell,” which is often (wrongly) written as “mispell.” As such, you should always check whether a word needs a double letter. Other examples include:

Correct Spelling

Incorrect Spelling

Beginning

Begining

Embarrass

Embarass

Occurrence

Occurence

Possess

Posess

However, not all letter omission errors involve double-letter words. In some cases, you may miss a letter because it’s silent or hard to hear when the word is pronounced. This is true of the following terms, for instance:

Correct Spelling

Incorrect Spelling

Liaise

Liase

Knowledge

Knowlege

Unfortunately

Unfortunatly

Which

Wich

There’s not, unfortunately, a simple rule for remembering these words. But it is worth learning about silent letters, as these are frequent offenders.

Letter Addition Errors

Letter addition often occurs when someone adds an unnecessary double letter in a word. This is particularly common when a word already contains one double letter. “Recommend,” for example, is often misspelled as “reccommend” (i.e., with an extra double “c”). Other examples include:

Correct Spelling

Incorrect Spelling

Across

Accross

Disappoint

Dissappoint

Harass

Harrass

Parallel

Parrallel

Letter addition errors also affect words that do not contain a double letter. Common examples of these include:

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Correct Spelling

Incorrect Spelling

Curiosity

Curiousity

Forty

Fourty

Truly

Truely

Until

Untill

In some cases, it helps to learn how spellings change when adding a suffix. The extra “e” in “truely,” for instance, is wrong because we typically drop the final “e” in when adding a suffix to a word that ends in “e.”

Double Trouble!

Some words invite letter omission and letter addition errors at the same time. These can be particularly tricky, so make sure to double check any words you’re uncertain about. Take the following, for instance:

Correct Spelling

Incorrect Spelling

Broccoli

Brocolli

Necessary

Neccesary

Questionnaire

Questionairre

Tomorrow

Tommorow

Regional Variations

It’s also worth looking out for regional spelling differences. In terms of letter omission and addition, for example, it is worth noting that most countries outside the US double the “l” when adding a suffix to certain words.

In American English, for instance, we would write “travel,” “traveler, and “traveling.” But in British or Australian English, while “travel” is the same, the other terms would be spelled “traveller” and “travelling” instead.

Thus, if you use a US spelling of one of these words when writing for an audience outside the US, it could look like a mistake. But one way to avoid this is to ask a proofreader to check your writing for errors.

Comments (1)
PROF SP PANDEY
21st November 2021 at 04:28
I find it very useful

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