Some spelling problems involve word endings. Is it “collectible” or “collectable“? Why is it “apologize” but “advertise“? And what about “defendant” and “dependent“? How can we keep straight “proceed” and “precede“?
The rule on these problems is to check the dictionary. Perhaps you are like me and find that you need to look up certain words often. I have tried writing the words over and over to imprint the spelling on my brain. I have tried posting the correct spelling on a poster at my desk. Even though I have been a copy editor for almost 30 years, I still have only one solution to this problem. Keep a good hardcover dictionary nearby and crack it open regularly.
This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.