Learn English | 7 Tough Words

Learn English | 7 Tough Words


Category: Academic


When when you learn English at EC English Language Centres, your awesome teachers will help you learn a lot of new, useful vocabulary to use in your day-to-day life. Sometimes, you might discover a word that’s a little difficult to spell or pronounce – the key to remembering how to spell difficult words like these is repetition: write it over and over again and try to use these types of words in your next writing task.

1. Rhythm (noun)
/ ˈrɪð(ə)m/

Definition: a strong, regular pattern of movement or sound
Example: We studied about the rhythm and pattern of words in our poetry class.
This is a word that seems to have way too many consonants, and too few vowels – right? It might look a little odd, but with a little practice, you’ll get into the rhythm of things, we promise.

2. Weird (adjective)
/ wɪəd/

Definition: suggesting something unusual, strange, or supernatural.
Example: Something weird happened last Halloween. Would you like to hear the story?
The old rule, ‘I before E except after C’, is actually not a very good one, because there are quite a few words that break this rule. It might look weird, but it’s actually correct.

3. Pronunciation (noun)

Definition: the way in which a word is said or pronounced
Example: Tomoko’s pronunciation has really improved since she started studying English!
This one is a little confusing. In its verb form, we write and say ‘pronounce’, but when we use its noun form, we drop the ‘o’ to create a shorter, more ‘closed’ vowel sound.

4. Occurred (verb)

Definition: from the verb ‘to occur’ which means ‘to happen’
Example: The police asked the man about what occurred at his shop last Friday.
What’s with all of these doubled letters? That can’t be right…can it? ‘Occurred’ might look odd, but it’s correct. It’s the past tense of ‘to occur’ which means ‘to happen’.
Top Tip: Very often, verbs ending in a single ‘r’ will have a double ‘r’ in the past tense.

5. Embarrass (verb)
/ɪmˈbarəs/ or /ɛmˈbarəs/

Definition: to cause someone to feel awkward, ashamed or self-conscious.
Example: I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of your friends, so I thought we could have a quiet chat alone.
Another double-lettered nightmare, this ‘embarrassing’ mistake is frequently made by native speakers too. Don’t worry – you’ll be spelling like a pro soon enough!

6. Conscience (noun)

Definition: a moral sense of what’s right and wrong
Example: Do whatever you need to do to have a clear conscience.
Firstly, it’s important to know that ‘conscience’ is not to be confused with ‘conscious’ (conscious means to be aware of your surroundings; to be ‘awake’). Make sure you don’t pronounce ‘-science’ in the same way as ‘Science’ (/ˈsʌɪəns/)!

7.  Beautiful (adjective)

Definition: aesthetically pleasing to the senses or mind
Example: Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Jasmine.
The trick behind memorising how to spell this one is creating a rhyme. Try to spell it out in a sing-song voice, emphasising the position of the three ‘problem’ vowels in the middle:

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