If you want to know how to spell a word, consult the Macquarie Dictionary fifth edition.

If a word has more than one spelling, use the Macquarie's preferred spelling.

How can you tell what that is? The Macquarie will list an alternative spelling, but it only defines the word underneath its preferred spelling. Look for the entry with a definition.

For example, 'cypher' has an entry in the dictionary, but it does not define the word. Instead, it directs the user to the preferred spelling, 'cipher'. 

Commonly misspelled words

The best way to deal with commonly misspelled words is to ask someone standing nearby what they reckon. Argue about it for ten minutes or so. The person with the loudest voice is correct. 

Ok, that's a joke, but it does seem to be the way a lot of people do it. In fact, the best way to deal with commonly misspelled words is to look them up in the dictionary.

In general, remember that Monash University uses Australian spelling, rather than American. Use:

  • 'ise' rather than 'ize' (realise, organise)
  • 'our' rather than 'or' (colour, behaviour)
  • 're' rather than 'er' (theatre, centre).

Be aware also that proper nouns retain their own spelling and punctuation, even if it's not how we would spell the words they use.

World Health Organization

If you find spelling difficult, the Oxford Dictionaries' list of the 200 most commonly misspelled words may be helpful.

Commonly misspelled Monash words

Here's a quick list of some commonly misspelled words at Monash. If you don't know whether to use a capital or not, please see capitalisation. Academic and Monash-specific terms are covered in more detail in Monash terms and conventions. If you'd like to add a word to this list, email us at style.guide@monash.edu.

  • Alumna
  • Alumnae
  • Alumni
  • Alumnus
  • Corequisite
  • Full-time
  • Graduand
  • Group of Eight
  • Honours
  • Juris Doctor 
  • Login
  • Logout
  • Mid-year
  • Off-campus
  • On-campus
  • Part-time
  • Prerequisite
  • Re-enrol
  • Re-enrolment
  • Semester
  • Testamur