Learning to spell Definitely

It's definately  defnetly certainly got to be one of the most misspelt words - definitely.

By the time you've read this post, you'll definitely never misspell it again. But how DO you learn those words that refuse to be learnt.

Here's my advice:

Don't rely on sound alone. Depending on your accent, this word definitely might sound a bit like "def-nut-lee". In fact you really can't hear how that vowel between n and t is spelt, so that's not going to help you. Going on sound alone it could be a, e, i, o or u.

Try more than one way to remember. At least one of them will work for you. And if you can use more than one of those methods, you can check that you're right.

Here are some ways to remember the spelling of definitely.

1) Build it up. This is my favourite way (and how I personally learnt to spell definitely).

finite  (easy to spell)
de + finite = definite
definite + ly = definitely


2) Think about the error you usually make (people often write this word with an 'a') and kill it!

There's definitely no 'a' in definitely.


3) Look at the shape. If you follow this blog you'll know I do a lot of work with word shapes. But they don't work so well with long words and not at all with vowels. So here's another way. Look at the combination of letters below. What does the overall shape remind you of? You might need to squint!

Does it look like a car? Or an armchair? Or something else? Remember those are the vowels in this word:


4) Play a game: how many words can you find in the word definitely? The letters must be consecutive not anagrams. So fin is fine but fit isn't.



5) Relate part of the spelling to part of another word that you can spell.

I've definitely finished


6) Colour your vowels. Decide on a colour for each vowel. For example:
a - grey
e - green
i - bright red
o  - yellow
u - blue
(the names of the letters sound like the colours)
Then write the word:
Download resources for coloured vowels here.


7) Check you've got it. Use my Look Say Cover Write and Check chart to test yourself. Download it from here: or read more about it here.


Got it? Any other ways to remember? Go ahead and share them.


  1. I used to struggle a lot with the second 'i', using an 'a' instead. Now whenever I need to spell it I think to myself (in my best pirate accent) "aye aye Cap'n, I can definitely spell that" :)


  2. Thx so much! I will *definitely* be using these techniques when spelling definitely!