spelling vocabulary lists for ELL students

Image: iClipart

These are the most commonly misspelled words found in my students’ papers. Here’s a brief definition for each one and a sample sentence:

  1. to —  indicates direction or goes with a verb (to make/to go/etc.)–My brother had to go to the office.
  2. two — 1+1 –At our school two people cannot share lockers.
  3. too —also or very or in excess–It’s too bad they have that rule.
  4. are — present tense of the verb “to be”–My sisters are in eighth grade.
  5. our — owned by “us”Our brother is in sixth.
  6. right — opposite of left or correct–He’s deaf in his right ear.
  7. write — to compose words–We plan to write a letter to the principal requesting that we share lockers.
  8. where — indicates or questions place or direction–My locker is over where the eighth grade hall connects to ours.
  9. were — past tense of “are”–Our sisters were mad at us yesterday.
  10. we’re — contraction for “we are”–Now we’re not talking.
  11. than — a comparison word–My brother is nicer than my sisters.
  12. then — in the past or after that–Once our sisters go to high school, then we’ll be happy.
  13. past — a time before now–In the past, our sisters used to pick on us.
  14. passed — went by or advanced–They told my friends I barely passed the third grade.
  15. once — just that single time onlyOnce my sister stuck a fake love note in my locker.
  16. hole — an empty spot–She jammed it through a hole in my locker door.
  17. whole — complete–My whole sixth grade year was a pain because of my sisters.
  18. piece — a portion–They cut off a piece of my brother’s hair and made fun of him.
  19. peace — a time without war–My brother and I just want peace between all of us.
  20. bare — – naked or uncovered–I keep my locker bare, because they know my combination.
  21. bear –  a hibernating animal–My brother turns into a real bear when they tease him.
  22. the — an article indicating a single nounThe worst thing about my sisters is their sneakiness.
  23. them — those people there–That’s why we can’t stand them.
  24. there — in that place or direction–Just look at them standing over there with sneaky smiles!
  25. their — owned by “them”–They hang out with their friends for protection.
  26. they’re — contraction for “they are”They’re good at fooling all the teachers too.
  27. its — owned by “it”–This school’s west wall is where you’ll find its seventh grade lockers.
  28. it’s — contraction for “it is”It’s a shame my sisters found out my combo.
  29. of – related to (not necessarily in a family way though)–There are four of us, plus our parents.
  30. have — to own; this is also a helping verb–We should have joined forces long ago!
  31. no — a negative statement–Then our sisters would have said, “No way!”
  32. know — to be aware of–They know we’re going to defend each other this year.
  33. now — at the present time–We are now ready to take on our rotten sisters.
  34. your — a pronoun showing ownership to you–When your sisters are mean, what do you do?
  35. you’re — contraction for “you are”You’re probably braver than me.
  36. a lot – two words, not one, which together mean “many”-My brother has a lot more courage than me.
  37. here — in this place–This is my brother, right here.
  38. hear — to use one’s ears to listen–Remember, he can’t always hear you because of his partial deafness.
  39. still — without moving at all–When he stands still, he’s listening carefully.
  40. steal — to take something that doesn’t belong to you–We’ve heard our sisters are planning to steal my notebook today.
  41. cause — to make something happen–We don’t know the cause of this particular attack against me.
  42. because — since, or due to the fact that–I’m not taking any chances, because they’ve done crueler things in the past.
  43. smelled — used the nose to perceive odor–One time I smelled something gross in my locker after school.
  44. smelt — a small fish which is somewhat like a trout–They had put a package of smelt in my locker.
  45. I — the pronoun meaning first person personalI tried to tell our mom, but she didn’t believe me.
  46. and — a conjunction indicating a joining together (don’t use the symbol in formal writing)–Now my brother and I will face them together!
  47. whose — belongs to whom — Whose idea was it to put fish in my locker?
  48. who’s — contraction for who is — Who’s responsible here?
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