Breaking words down into syllables is a great spelling strategy to help you spell long words.

This means you break the word down into little spoken chunks and each chunk is called a syllable. Each syllable usually has a vowel in it: advertisement = ad / ver / tise / ment

Say ‘qualification’ aloud. Listen to the way it breaks into syllables:
qua / li / fi / ca / tion (5 syllables)

assistant = ass / is / tant (3 syllables)

organisation = or/ gan /i / sa/ tion (5 syllables)

Breaking words into syllables also helps you remember the silent letter(s) in the word.

Let's look at Wednesday with that horrible silent 'd' in there.
We say "wens day" but spell it Wednesday.
When you need to spell it, say it slowly and exaggerated,
Wed / nes / day- and you'll be able to spell it every time

When you break a word down into syllables it helps you see the part of the word you need work on.

Look at the following words and how we break them down.


Let's look at suffixes (the endings of words). When you break a word down it helps to know the common endings.

–tion,  –ment,  -ly,  -ture,  -ing

- ture    ad/ven/ture    fu/ture    tem/pe/ra /ture

-ly     faith/ful/ly  grate/ful/ly

-ment   com  part  ment     a/part/ment

-tion    de te ri or  a  tion    dec/or/a/tion      mul/ti/pli/ca/tion

-sion    ex/ten/sion   ap/pre/hen/sion

examination - ex/ am / in / a / tion

comprehensive - com/ pre / hen/ sive

Anne Betteridge in her book "Adult Learner's Guide to Spelling" says, If breaking words into syllables doesn't make sense to you then don't worry. Some people find it hard. A word can be broken up in several ways: hearing
small words - h ear ing
suffix endings - hearing
letter patterns - hear, near, dear, fear
say it oddly - "he" "a" "ring"
memory trick - you hear with your ear - hearing

Let’s do a spelling test. There are nine sentences.
Click here to do the spelling test

Remember to break the long words into syllables to help with the spelling. I'll help you by breaking the words into syllables. But there are different ways to break them down, use whatever way you like.


1. My doctor gave me a comprehensive examination.

2. My apartment needs decorating.

3. I want to be a retail assistant in the future.

4. The temperature is hot for September.

5. Please phone him immediately.

6. Yours faithfully

7. The expansion of Heathrow is inevitable.

8. I'm very grateful for your excellent explanation

9. What experience and qualifications do you have?

Interested in learning how to remember difficult words? Want to learn more Spelling Strategies? Then click here and you'll never be stuck for that spelling you need to remember and always forget!

For more info on suffixes click here
For more info on letter patterns click here