|So You Think You Can
Spell? -- is it remedial, pedagogical, academic?
No way! It's not another compendium of commonly
misspelled words. Not a discussion of spelling rules and pitfalls.
A book for adults of any age as well as 12-year-old
spelling bee phenoms, SYTYCS? is a pocket-sized paperback offering real
spelling action in a way that is ever lively, entertaining, and challenging.
Packed with quizzes (with words both common and uncommon) to test or best you,
it's designed to appeal both to the privately curious and
self-improving speller and to the more venturesome participant in adult spelling bees now
flourishing across the United States.
Along with tests galore, there are essay features --
on how and why English spelling came to be so
infernally illogical and difficult; on who Webster
was and why today his iconic name is synonymous with
a modern American dictionary; and on the history of
the "simplified spelling" movement, whose adherents
continue to make a case for reforming our vexing
orthography. ("Enuf is enuf," as their protest signs
read, annually, at the finals of the Scripps
National Spelling Bee.)
Mark Twain, of course, also had his droll opinions
about the importance of correct spelling. The book includes his amusing
introductory remarks tendered in 1875 as a prelude to an important East
Coast spelling bee.
In addition, there's a brief history of the spelling
bee in America as well as some practical advice for "wanna-bees" -- anybody
hankering to create, plan, and produce his or her very own spelling bee.
With its clever and provocative variety of test
formats, this book will definitely be a must-have not only for grammar vigilantes and
word lovers but for puzzle aficionados.
They’re both uniquely different types of spelling
tests. There is only one place you’ll find
If you welcome having your spelling smarts tested in
every which way, you’ve come to the right book!
There are more than 200 tests/quizzes in
Think You Can Spell? -- ranging from three
questions to fifty. All in all, the book will test
your knowledge of the correct spelling of more than
Complementing 15 general (or miscellaneous)
multiple-choice tests are 15 that present, instead of spelling choices, a
phonetic (or fo-NET-ik) version of the
word to be spelled. Other quizzes use other
approaches in their formats.
For example, there are quizzes requiring you:
to add the correct (one of two) suffixes
to fill in each word’s missing (interior)
to match definitions to homophones -- pairs of
often confused words similar in sound but
to choose whether one word or two words is,
according to the dictionary, the correct form in
to indicate which words have a doubled letter
and which don’t
to provide (in loan words, or “foreign
borrowings” so abundant in standard English) the
correct accent marks
to spell brief but maybe not-so-simple-to-spell
to give the weird but correct plural forms of
particular foreign-borrowed English words (you
might call them “singular plurals”)
to consider three misspellings of a word and
fill in the correct spelling
to read brief humorous passages crammed with
sound-alike words and determine which are
to choose the correct spellings of 100 American
cities; or (in a separate test) of countries,
provinces, islands, rivers, etc., around the
to rearrange groups of scrambled letters into
the words indicated by the definitions
to provide, from phonetic pronunciations and
definitions, the correct spellings of either
three words or five words diabolically chosen to
raise doubts or second thoughts
And that’s not all. A culinary test confronts
with a menu of 50 recherché
– and error infested
–international-cuisine dishes. Which 17 need
to be respelled correctly?
And did we
mention that SYTYCS? finishes (you?) up
(off?) with five Killer Bees? These are mere
ten-worders but quizzes that unscrupulously
bring together (a) uncommon words having (b)
common -- or even identical -- pronunciations
and (c) entirely different spellings.