In my 18 years as an English teacher, there was a word that definitely tripped me up every single morning as I took the roll call of who was present or absent in class: “Attendance.” Yes — I, the lofty English teacher, messed up my attempts to spell attendance, over and over.
Is it attendance or attendence? Truly, my brain could never retain the answer… until now. What follows are my hand-illustrated cartoons demonstrating a trick to help all of us remember how to spell attendance correctly. Shout-out to the colleague, Marisa, who taught it to me, and to her colleague, Mercy, who taught it to her! Here goes.
Attendance or Attendence?
The reason that “attendance” is on the list of hard words to spell is that it’s difficult to hear whether there is an “A” or “E” after the “D.” In fact, if you listen carefully, the pronunciation sounds more like “attendence” with an “E” than anything else. However, that is wrong!
“Attendence” with an “E” is one of those fake word misspellings like greatful (which should be spelled “grateful”) or seperate (which should be “separate”). People use them all the time, but they’re a figment of our imagination and don’t actually exist.
Tricks to Spell Attendance
So how do we remember that there’s an “A” in the middle of “attendance?” Visualize it this way: there’s a DANCE at the end of attenDANCE! Above is my illustration to help you remember. Isn’t the pink and purple-haired lady a fabulous dancer? (You might want to review how to spell rhythm to keep up with her beat.)
Here’s another way to remember that the spelling is not attendence: When you take attendance in a class, you hope there is a nice balance of students present. Similarly, the As and Es of the word are in perfect harmony: AttEndAncE has exactly two As and two Es. Boom!
VIDEO: Attendance Spelling in Action
How to Spell Attendance, in Sum
In the attendance or attendence quandary, I hope this happy dancing lady and her lesson will help you remember the correct letters from here on out! In sum: “attendence” with an “E” is misspelled (not mispelled), while “attendance” with an “A” and delightful dance at the end is correct.
What else would you like me to illustrate and explain? Do share!
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009), TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010), and ReikiColors.com. Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!