Happy Sunday! Today I'll finish talking about each type of question you can ask in a spelling bee. Last time, I discussed language of origin, sentence, definition, and part of speech. The remaining three questions are discussed below.
Question number five: word repetition. It might seem a little silly to even talk about this one. However, it cannot be stressed enough that you have to make sure you're pronouncing the word correctly. If you aren't, that could lead to misspelling. Asking the pronouncer to repeat the word until you're absolutely sure you have it right is the best way to go about ensuring that you're understanding the word.
Question number six: alternate pronunciation. If there are multiple ways to pronounce a word, different pronunciations could give away different parts of the spelling. For example, the word "acervuline" can be pronounced \uh-SUHR-vyuh-luhn\ or as \uh-SUHR-vyuh-liin\. The second pronunciation, due to the "long i" sound, helps you figure out how to spell the ending, but since the first pronunciation is the main pronunciation, you wouldn't hear the version with the long i sound unless you asked for alternate pronunciation.
Question number seven: root word questions. Local bees don't usually allow these, but the national bee does. If you suspect that your word might contain a specific root, ask about it. There are three parts to a root question: language, root, and meaning. For example, you might ask, "does this word come from the Greek root phil- meaning love?" If you leave out any of those three parts, they won't be able to answer your question. If they say yes, the portion of the word that contains the root is probably spelled the same way as the root. If they say no, there's a chance it's still spelled that way, but it is much less likely.
Questions are key to spelling any word right, especially if you haven't seen the word before. Remember that all the questions are important; make sure you ask them all to maximize your chances of spelling correctly. (Side note: bee season is starting to begin in earnest. Good luck to everyone in their school/area/district/regional bees!)