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Knowing the Correct Spelling


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I have always noticed something when writing in English: when I write a difficult word (or any word for that matter), if I spell it correctly I feel some sort of innate satisfaction/approval kind of feeling, confirming that I wrote it right. While, on the other hand, when I write a word wrong, I get a feeling too, but this one tells me I spelt it wrong.

Due to this, when I'm unsure about the spelling of any word, I just write it in as many variations as I can, and every time, one of them felt 'right' and it turned out to be so.

Have any of you ever felt something like this? Or am I just weird?

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It's a type of recognition.  You may be a very visual learner, so you see words on the page and part of how you remember them is the way the word looks.  So when you are writing, you know when it looks like what you have read, or if there is something different.

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I have always noticed something when writing in English: when I write a difficult word (or any word for that matter), if I spell it correctly I feel some sort of innate satisfaction/approval kind of feeling, confirming that I wrote it right. While, on the other hand, when I write a word wrong, I get a feeling too, but this one tells me I spelt it wrong.

Due to this, when I'm unsure about the spelling of any word, I just write it in as many variations as I can, and every time, one of them felt 'right' and it turned out to be so.

Have any of you ever felt something like this? Or am I just weird?

You're weird...just kidding. :tongue:

I find as Native English speaker I get tripped up on the easiest(relatively)words. For instance there are two words that I literally have to think about  for 45 seconds or more, how to spell them...they are RHYTHM and EGYPT, yet I could spell onomatopoeia at gun-point. Strange how our brains work...or don't.

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This used to happen to me all the time when I was in high school. I am a native Spanish speaker, so the use of accents always made things difficult for me, especially when a accent can change the meaning of the word completely. Whenever I felt like the word was off, I'd just write variations of the word and "feel" which one was the correct one.

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Oh my... how I envy you...

Only kidding. :wacky:

I feel like that when I write Russian. As I am unfamiliar with Russian spelling, I know when a word is wrong. However, I don't know enough to put it right.

I feel your blessing. :)

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I experience this too. Sometimes I just instinctively know that a word is misspelled just by looking at it and I usually try and fix it in my mind before I go and look it up somewhere just so I could test my own knowledge. I think it just has to do with being so familiar with the language and the structure that everything becomes so natural in a way that you immediately know once something is deviating from said structure, whether it be regarding spelling, vocabulary, grammar, or punctuation.

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I am a native English speaker and yet I do have the same issue. I also jot down different spellings to figure out the correct spelling, even for words that I use all the time. It may just be a simple matter of how the brain works so I don't focus too much on it.

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I have had similar feelings and sometimes I think I have misspelled a word and it is really correct but it just look weird. Sometimes even the easiest words like was, I take a moment before spelling :cry: I oftentimes ask my sister to spell two and three letter words for me, she would always laugh as she know I can spell but it is just something with those moments.

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Yeah I have. This especially occurs whenever I'm writing an essay or article in which I use some words that I don't usually use in a casual conversation. I think my mind is just conscious about the words I'm writing that's why I can easily feel if I spelled a word incorrectly.

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I am not that good when it comes in spelling so, getting some of those difficult right also give me that feeling of satisfaction. There are times that I try to just use another synonym or just expand the sentence to make the thoughts the same if I really had a hard time making the spelling of a word right when writing an essay before.

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I think that shows a pretty solid, developing grasp on the language to have recognition like that just from writing. I get that sometimes but not as often as it sounds like you do. I also sometimes get it in inappropriate situations- sometimes I will write a word perfectly but for some reason it just doesn't look right at all to me. So I don't really rely on that kind of perception alone very often.

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I often find that when I am writing out a word that it looks incorrect and I also write it out in a few ways before I get the right answer. I sometimes do not have the time to do this so I use a spellcheck or dictionary to see whether I was correct or wrong and often, I am correct or wrong!

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Guest wellpostlooper

I once read somewhere that if you can't remember how to spell a word, don't think about it; just write it. The premise was that sometimes our mental faculties can be hindered e.g due to a head injury etc and you get amnesia. Somehow, you still remember how to do things e.g you can write your signature even when you don't remember your name. Try it out next time. Just write the word and you will find that most of the time you are right.

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I do absolutely the same thing. I find it surprising that I forget the spelling of words sometimes, even though they aren't all that uncommon. I think this method also explains why it is recommended to take notes while studying because you tend to remember the things you write over things you just read.

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Yes, I have a similar feeling when I'm spelling words. There have been very few times when I've spelled a word wrong when I've been right, and vice versa. Usually I can tell when I have misspelled a word because it just doesn't look or "feel" right to me. Nine times out of ten I can figure out the correct spelling on my own, but other times I will have to look it up. That's rarely though.

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Same here, I also type or write other variations of the word I'm having difficulty spelling in, and when the word "looks" right, I know it is the right spelling. For example, I always tend to misspell the word "Michael" as "Micheal". Now at 1st glance the 2nd word looks odd, right?

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@DancingLady: That does make a lot of sense. I have felt that I am a visual learner (at least in languages), but I never realized that my gut feeling spelling is a visual thing as well. Thank you so much!

I agree. I think that theory makes a lot of sense. I've noticed throughout my life that I've been knowing pronunciations and meanings of different words that I never actually took time to focus on and learn consciously and now looking back and realizing it from this theory I think I may just have gotten so used to the structure of English language that it's become second nature to me somewhat.

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I definitely won't say that it's weird. I think it happens to most of us. We had this discussion in one of my classes called The Psychology of Language. Unfortunately, I can't remember the exact explanation that my professor gave the class. Sorry, that was back in 1998,  :laugh:

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I'm a native English speaker.  I used to be able to sense when a word was spelled right or not, just like you mention.  But then I learned French and spent a year in Europe speaking and living French.  After that my ability to sense if a word was spelled right went out the door.  No longer able to do that.

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That's odd, starshine. I can do it even when I'm writing in Spanish. Granted, it has to be a word I recognize, but for the most part I can tell when I'm misspelling a word in Spanish. Obviously, it's more pronounced in English since that is my native language. Must be some kind of psychological tick most of us seem to have

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I have always noticed something when writing in English: when I write a difficult word (or any word for that matter), if I spell it correctly I feel some sort of innate satisfaction/approval kind of feeling, confirming that I wrote it right. While, on the other hand, when I write a word wrong, I get a feeling too, but this one tells me I spelt it wrong.

Due to this, when I'm unsure about the spelling of any word, I just write it in as many variations as I can, and every time, one of them felt 'right' and it turned out to be so.

Have any of you ever felt something like this? Or am I just weird?

I understand exactly what you are talking about, I tend to feel the same way, sometimes I end up writing a word over and over just because I feel  that I did not get the spelling right.

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I am a non-native English speaker, but after going through the American public school system, I think I have a steady grasp of the English language. Whenever I write, whether for academic or personal purposes, I often find myself focusing on not only specific words, but the context in which the word is placed. Sometimes we remember how to spell a word correctly by recalling how it was used in a particular sentence, since there are some words that can only be used in specific situations.

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