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Some of the Hardest English Words to Learn and Spell

We know learning English can be hard work and we love helping people get batter through our videos and courses. However, we thought it might be useful to share some of the words students tell us are some of the hardest to learn in the English language.


This is a really confusing word and for such a small word it causes big problems. It is a word used in the same way as “who” but there are subtle and important differences. One easy tip to know if you should use Who or Whom is to answer the question yourself and see if the answer is “him” or “he”. “Who/Whom are you going to the cinema with?” – “I am going with him”  – Him means you should use “whom” in the question. “Who/Whom said the film was really good?” “He did” – The answer is He then use “who”. In reality, many English people fail to use “whom” but if you want to get it right then try to learn how to use it properly.


This is an important word if you are planning on working in the UK or another English speaking country. The word refers to someone you work with. It is a more formal word for “workmate” because you would not use such a casual term unless you were talking with friends. In a business and work situation colleague is the correct term. It is a hard word to say but even harder to spell. It uses “ea” in the middle rather than “ee” and it also confuses students with the use of “ue” at the end. It is a very useful and important word, it is just a shame it is such a hard one!


This is another very important word for people who want to work in English speaking countries. While it is easy to say, when you look at the spelling it can get confusing. It is spelt like “bus-i-ness” which would sound like “busyness” but it is said “buzness” which makes it a very hard one to learn how to spell and say. It is a very very common word so it is really important to try to learn it.

Country and Countries

Both of these words are spelt differently to how they sound. Going just by spelling they should be said like the word “count”. Without being rude it is very important to get this right as there is a very rude and very offensive word that can get used by accident here. The best way to make sure you have got this right is to ask a teacher or an English speaking friend to help.

Our online English courses are designed to help you learn these words and so much more. Learning English following a full course structure like Perfectly Spoken you will find these harder words much easier to learn.




Word of the Day – January

If you follow us on Facebook, you will know we have a number of posts called Word of the Day. This is a fun look at a single word to see if people know what it means, and then we look at the definition and how it might be used. These are all common words in English and are all useful to know if you are learning English.

If you do not follow us on Facebook, then come and join in the fun and see what you can learn – https://www.facebook.com/spokenperfectly

We also have a range of online English courses available.


This word has two or more meanings. One very common one is about how clear and image is or the size of a digital image. It is important because we use technology so much. So a high resolution image would be a very high quality image.

The second meaning is about settling an argument. When people are fighting they might be looking for a resolution or looking to resolve a disagreement. A resolution is a very good thing if people are fighting as it means they have agreed and can stop fighting.


It is winter in the UK and as everyone knows, we do like to talk about the weather. So in January we had 3 weather words. The first was “pouring”. This word actually has different uses but essentially one meaning. You can pour water from a jug, or pour a glass of wine. So it describes moving liquid or even solids like sand from one place to another. However, it is very common in the UK to say “it’s pouring outside” or “it’s pouring with rain”. This means it is raining very heavily and is a useful term to know.


The second weather word is blizzard. This is related to snow, you can only have a blizzard in snow. This is when it snows so much that you cannot see very well, driving is dangerous and even walking can be hard. In fact, people often use the word when it is snowing heavily and actually not a blizzard.


Our last weather word is gust. A gust is a single blast of wind that is very strong that then goes away. During storms, there are often gusts of faster wind and times when it is slower. A gust can be very strong and even cause damage in some storms. Some people call a windy day “gusty”; “it’s very gusty outside”.


This is a very important word. It is a word used to describe being somewhere at the time you said you would. If a job interview is at 09:00 then a prompt arrival would be 08.55. Prompt means on time or early. In business, it is very important, if someone asks you to be at a meeting promptly then you must not be late.


Another work term this word means a person you work with. A colleague can be anyone in the company you work for; they may be in the office with you or in another office in another country. If they work for the same company they are a colleague. It is a nice word and is often used when two companies work together as a way of saying everyone is working together.


This is a very useful and important word that can have 2 meanings. To assume something is to think you know what is going to happen before it does. It can be rude if you do not have the information to make that choice. It can also be used by managers and bosses to say “I assume you will be at work on time” by this they mean they want you to be at work on time and if you are not it will not be good.

However, you can also “assume” responsibility for something or someone. This is where you can take control or take charge of looking after a project or job.


Word of the Day – December

If you follow us on Facebook, you will know we often have a word of the day. This is a fun post that highlights and teaches followers a single useful word. We normally do this right through the month but because of all our Christmas fun posts, we did less than normal in December. Below is a list of the words we did look at. Following us on Facebook can be a great way to get extra help with learning and to have some fun.

If you are not following us on Facebook then click this link to join in – https://www.facebook.com/spokenperfectly



We often talk about how British people like to talk about the weather. Overcast is a very commonly used weather term describing a cloudy day. The cloud is low and grey and there is no sun on an overcast day. The weather person may say the day is going to be overcast which means you will probably not see the sun at all that day. It is important not to think a day is overcast if there are clouds in the sky because there are different sorts of clouds. An overcast day is dull, grey and the sky is all one colour.


In one of our free Facebook live lessons our teacher talked about vocabulary used to describe family. The word sibling is used to describe a brother or sister. This word is not used when talking about other relatives like mother, father, aunty or uncle. An example of how this could be used is if you were asked “Do you have any siblings?” You could answer “yes I have 2 sisters”. This word could be very useful if you are filling out forms or being interviewed for any reason.


This word is used as a way to describe what you think will happen in the future. It is normally used when you are sure something will happen. For example “I predict my team will win the football match”. If you did not think they will win, you could say “I hope my team will win”. Predict is a stronger word used when you are confident something will happen.

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November – Words of The Day

Below is a list of all of our Facebook “words of the day” we had in November. These words are often chosen because they relate to one of our live Facebook lessons or something else seasonal that is going on during the month. Each word is also chosen because it is commonly used and can be very useful to know. If you would like to join in the discussion then follow us on Facebook and keep looking out for words of the day. If you already follow us then the words below will help you look back and make sure you have learnt all the words we have talked about.

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This word describes an activity that is against the law. This is something that the police can arrest you for and you could be taken to a court of law and even sentenced to spend time in prison. Illegal is an important word to understand so you do not accidentally do things you should not. If anyone asks you to do something for money that is not a normal job you can simply ask “is this illegal”.


This is an important word and it means something that happened in the past. History can also be the study of things that happened in the past. The word is used to talk about things that happened a long time ago rather than days or months and usually hundreds or thousands of years ago. A history teacher will teach about the Romans, world wars and other things like that.


Cost is a very common word and it normally describes how much money you need to pay for something. You may say “how much does this computer cost?” when you want to find out if you have enough money to buy it. Cost can also be used to describe things that are given for something that is not money. For example, a bad advert for a product could cost the company more than just money, it could have offended people and cost them customers too. The term is also used when talking about war and natural disasters as the cost to human life!


Finance is a very important word and can mean different things. It is a term used to describe money and the way it is spent and used. The financial department of a company deals with all the buying and wages. A financial adviser is someone who can help people understand things like investments and mortgages. However, you may see “finance available” on products like cars, beds or sofas. This means the company will offer you a loan to buy the product. It may seem like a good idea but be very careful and check how much extra money you have to pay back on top of the cost. Finance offers can sound good and leave people paying a lot of extra money.


The word rush is a word used to describe speed. If someone is in a rush, it means they do not have very much time to stop. Rushing around is a term used to describe when someone is moving quickly from one meeting or job to another or one place to another. Someone might say “Don’t Rush” This means they are saying it is OK to slow down and do what you are doing slower.


During is another time word. This describes the time in the middle of a task or activity. You may feel hungry during a long meeting, this means you are hungry while the meeting is going on. You may fall asleep during a movie or read a book during your lunch break at work.


Returning is the word to describe coming back to something. You may return home after a day at work. Someone might be happy about a friend returning home after a holiday. The word return means to go back or come back and returning is the verb related to this.


This is a very useful word to describe someone who understands and sees detail and information in something. A perceptive person may understand something that is being explained to them very easily with extra detail. It is a skill that is useful in the workplace and when learning.


This is a very useful word when considering working in the UK. Wages are the money you get paid for working. This is normally describing payment that is given each week or daily. The word Salary is then used if you get paid each month as part of a long job contract over a year or more.