Email Spelling Quiz

How good are your spelling skills? Please don’t say, “It doesn’t matter. I have spell checker!” Remember, the spell check function will only catch misspelled words. It won’t verify you’ve used the correct word. If you haven’t experienced an embarrassing situation where spell checker missed a mistake, I’m sure you have a friend who has.

Spell checker is a great tool. But, since you can’t rely on it completely, let’s find out how well you can do on your own. Try this spelling quiz.

Spelling Quiz

Directions: In each statement, select the correctly spelled word from the choices given within the brackets [ ].

1. The attorney filed a tax [lean, lien].

2. The little boy tracked [allot, a lot, alot] of mud onto his mother’s new white carpet.

3. He was [already, all ready] in trouble for putting a green frog in his little sister’s bed.

4. The driver was going 95 miles per hour when he [passed, past] the police officer.

5. The server glared at the man as he made his fifth trip to the [dessert, desert] table.

6. She found a parking spot on her [forth, fourth] time around the block.

7. Please use the blue corporate [stationary, stationery].

8. The [cite, sight, site] of the world’s biggest ball of string is a great place to take your family.

9. That tie you bought is a wonderful [complement, compliment] to your dark blue suit.

10. His wife’s opinion will [effect, affect] his choice.


1. Lien is correct.

It is a legal claim on property for payment of debt.
Lean is incorrect.
A loan shark may lean on you for not paying a debt, or you could lean your ladder against a wall.
As a noun, “lean” refers to meat that is low in fat — as in a skinny cow.

2. A lot is correct.

It refers to an amount or quantity.
There is no such word as alot.
Allot means to distribute or assign, “I will allot $50 in the budget for new boxes.”

3. Already is correct.

It means “previously.”
All ready means completely ready. “She is all ready to go.”

4. Passed is correct.

It is the past tense of pass.
Past means something is over or no longer current.

5. Dessert is correct.

If you add an “s” and read it backward, it spells “stressed.”
As everyone knows, desserts can cure any stressful situation.
As a verb, desert means to leave without permission, or to abandon.
As a noun, the word desert is pronounced differently.
The noun “desert” is a hot, dry place that is not well known for its sweet stuff, although you might go there if you desert your dessert.

6. Fourth is correct.

Simply use the number four and add “th.”
Forth means going forward.

7. Stationery is correct.

Remember that the word “stationery” has the letters “er” in it, the same as the words “paper” and “letterhead” do.
Stationary means not moving or fixed, as in a stationary bike.

8. Site is correct.

Site is a noun.
Site refers to the place where something is, or will be, located.
Cite is a verb meaning to quote or to mention.
Sight is the ability to see.

9. Complement is correct.

Think of the “e” because the words in the definition also contain “e’s” — that which completes or perfects.
To use compliment, think of the “i” in the word, to say, “I want to give you praise.”

10. Affect is correct.

This one is easy, once you remember that “affect” is always used as a verb meaning to influence.
Usually, “effect” is a noun.
If it is used as a verb, the word effect means to bring about, as in “to effect a change.”


10 = You’re perfect. (But, you knew that already.) Keep emailing!

7 – 9 = You’re okay. Be a little more cautious, though. You could learn a few tips from my book, Email Etiquette Made Easy (see link in resource box).

4 – 6 = You could use some help. Try my book, Email Etiquette Made Easy (see link in resource box).

Less than 4 = Ugh! Call me now! We’ll schedule your intense therapy immediately.

Spelling Results
How did you (do, dew)? Don’t feel (too, to, two) overwhelmed if (you, ewe) didn’t do (very, vary) well. (When, win) it comes to these words, you don’t have to memorize all of (their, they’re, there) meanings. The (key, quay) is to use this quiz as a (cue, queue) to recognize which words to look up.