Spelling Rules

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Spelling Rules"q" is always written as "qu". It never stands by itself. e.g. quick, queen, quarrel. We double "l, f, and s" after a single short vowel at the end of a word. e.g. call, tall, toss, miss, stiff, stuff. Exceptions: us, bus, gas, if, of, this, yes, plus, nil, pal. Regular plurals are made by adding "s". e.g. animals, horses, monkeys, and cliffs. The sound of "ee" on the end of a word is nearly always "y". Exceptions: committee and coffee. "y" and not "i" is used at the end of an English word and is usually pronounced as a short "i". Exceptions: macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli (Italian), and taxi (short for taxicab). A silent "e" on the end of a word makes the vowel in front say its own alphabetic name. e.g. hate, ride, cube, bake, shire, mare, lobe. Exceptions: done, come, some, give and have. "ck" may only be used after a single vowel that does not say its name at the end of a syllable or root word. e.g. track, pick, rocket, wreckage. To form plurals of words with a hissing ending, add "es". i.e.after "s, x, z, sh, and ch". e.g. buses, foxes, buzzes, wishes and churches. Words ending in an "o" preceded by a consonant usually add "es" to form the plural. e.g. potatoes, volcanoes. Exceptions: pianos, solos, Eskimos Nouns ending in a single "f" change the "f" to a "v" before adding "es" to form the plural. e.g. leaf leaves; wolf wolves. Exceptions: dwarfs, roofs, chiefs. If a word ends in a consonant plus "y", change the "y" to and "i", before adding any ending. Except: "ing". e.g. party parties; heavy heaviness marry married; funny funnily carry carriage; pretty prettier but;

cry crying; hurry hurrying When "w" comes before "or" it often says "wer" as "worm". e.g. worship, worst, worth, work. Exceptions: worry, worried, wore. Words ending in both a single vowel and a single consonant always double the last consonant before adding an ending. e.g. stop, stopped, stopping. flat, flatter, flattest. swim, swimmer, swimming. Exceptions: fix, box, fox, mix. "x" is the same as "ck"; that is it counts as a double consonant ending. When "c" is followed by "e", "i" or "y", it says "s". Otherwise it says "k". e.g. centre, ceiling, circle, cycle. cottage, cave, cream, curious, clever. When "g" is followed by "i", "e" or "y", it says "j". Otherwise it says "g" as in gold. e.g. gentle, giant, gymnastic. gallon, gold, guide, glass, grow. Exceptions: get, got, begin, girl, give, gear, geese, gift, girth, geyser, giddy. Drop the final "e" from a root word before adding an ending beginning with a vowel, but keep it before a consonant. e.g. love, loving, lovely. drive, driving, driver. settle, settled, settling. grace, graceful. "ti", "ci" and "si" are three spellings most frequently used to say "sh" at the beginning of all syllables except the first. e.g. national, patient, palatial, infectious. gracious, ancient, musician, fiancial. session, admission, mansion, division. Exceptions: "ship" as a suffix, e.g. "worship". "i" comes before "e" when it is pronounced "ee", except when it follows "c" or when sounding like "a" as in "neighbour, or weigh". e.g. brief, field, priest. receive, deceive, ceiling. Exceptions: neither, foreign, sovereign, seized, counterfeit, forfeited, leisure. "all" and "well" followed by another syllable only have one "l". e.g. also, already, although, welcome, welfare. "full" and "till" joined to another root syllable, drop one "l". e.g. useful, cheerful, until. Almost no English words end in "v" and none in "j". Since publishing this page on the Web, Alistair Ewan of the University of East Anglia has reminded us of the word "spiv".

For words ending in a single "l" after a single vowel, double the "l" before adding a suffix, regardless of accent. e.g. cancelled, traveller, signalling, metallic. If a word of more than one syllable ends in a "t", preceded by a single vowel, and has the accent on the last syllable, then double the final consonant. e.g. permit; permitted. admit; admitted. regret; regretted. But, if the accent is on the first syllable, dont double the "t". e.g. visit; visited. benefit; benefited "ous" at the end of a word often means "full of". e.g. famous: full of fame. glorious; full of glory. gracious, ridiculous, furious, dangerous. "al" at the end of a word often means "to do with". e.g. musical:to do with music. criminal:to do with crime. historical:to do with history. "er" or "or" endings. The most common everyday words end in "er". e.g. baker, painter, teacher. If in doubt, use "or", when the meaning of the word is "one who" or "that which". e.g. author, director, instructor, indicator, conveyor, escalator. "ery" or "ary" endings. Words ending in "ery" are often obvious. e.g. very, brewery, flattery, bakery, nursery. If in doubt, use "ary". e.g. dictionary, secretary, commentary, stationary. Seven words ending in "ery" that might cause trouble. e.g. distillery, confectionery, millinery, cemetery, dysentery, monastery, stationery (paper). "ise", "ize" or "yse" endings. Most of these words end in "ise". e.g. sunrise, surprise, supervise, exercise, disguise, unwise, surmise, advertise. Only two common words end in "yse". i.e. analyse and paralyse. Only two common words end in "ize". i.e. prize and capsize. "ceed", "sede" and "cede". Three "ceed" words; succeed, exceed, proceed. One "sede" word; supersede. All others "cede" e.g.intercede, antecede, precede. "able" or "ible" endings.

Use "able": After root words. e.g. available, dependable. After root words ending in "e". e.g. desirable, believable, usable (drop the "e"). After "i". e.g. reliable, sociable. When other forms of the root word have a dominant "a" vowel. e.g. irritable, durable, abominable. After a hard "c" or "g". e.g. educable, practicable, navigable. Exceptions: formidable, inevitable, memorable, probable, portable, indomitable, insuperable. Use "ible" After non-root words. e.g. audible, horrible, possible. When the root has an immediate "ion"form. e.g. digestible, suggestible, convertible. After a root ending in "ns" or "miss". e.g. responsible, comprehensible, permissible. After a soft "c" or "g". e.g. legible, negligible, forcible, invincible. Exceptions: contemptible, resistible, collapsible, flexible.

28 Rules for English Spelling1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. The letter q is always written with u and we say, "kw." The letter u is not a vowel here. (quiet) /c/ before e, i, or y says, "s" (cent, city, cycle). /g/ before e, i, or y may say, "j" (gentle, get). Vowels a, e, o, u usually say, " ", " ", " ", " " at the end of a syllable (belong, protect, futile) Vowels i and y may say " " at the end of a syllable, but usually say " " (final and my as opposed to Indian and baby) [for spelling] Vowel y, not i, is used at the end of an English word (for example, my). There are five kinds of silent final e's. The first rule (as in time) is one of the three ways a vowel says its name. o-r may say, "er" when w comes before the o-r (for example, works). We use e-i after c... if we say, " "... and in some exceptions. Exceptions: receive, vein, neither, foreign, sovereign, seize, counterfeit, forfeit, leisure, either, weird, heifer, protein, geiger, height, sleight, feisty, stein, seismograph, poltergeist, kaleidoscope 10. s-h is used at the beginning of a word, at the end of a syllable but not at the beginning of any syllable after the first one, except for the ending, "ship." (shut, fish, nation) 11. t-i, s-i and c-i are used to say "sh" at the beginning of any syllable after the first one. c-h says, "sh" in a word of French origin. (nation, session, special, chic) 12. s-i is used to say, "sh" when the syllable before it ends in s (session) and when the base word has an s where the word changes. (tense/tension) 13. Only s-i can say, "zh" except for t-i in "equation." (vision)

14. When a one-syllable word ends with one short vowel and one consonant, double the final consonant before adding a vowel suffix. (hop, hopping/hopped) 15. When a two-syllable word ends with a vowel and a consonant, double the final consonant when adding a vowel suffix, if the accent is on the last syllable. (admit, admitted, admitting) 16. Silent final e words are written without the e when adding an ending beginning with a vowel. (have, having) 17. We often double l, f, s, after a single vowel, at the end of a one-syllable word. (full, puff, pass) 18. Base words do not end with the letter a saying, " " except for the article a; a-y is used most often. (may, pay, say) 19. Vowels i and o may say, " " and " " when followed by two consonants. (find, bold - gift, bond) 20. s never follows x. (box, boxes) 21. All is written with one l when added to another syllable.(almost, also) 22. Till and full added to another syllable are written with one l. (until, fulfill) 23. 3-letter "j" (dge) may be used after a single vowel which says, " " - " " - " " - " " - " " (badge,edge,ridge,lodge,fudge) 24. When adding an ending to a word that ends with y, that has a sound alone, change the y to i unless the ending is i-n-g. (fry,fried - cry,crying) 25. 2-letter "k" (ck) may be used only after a single vowel which says, " " - " " - " " - " " - " " (pack,peck,pick,pock,puck) 26. The letter z, never s is used to say, "z" at the beginning of a base word. (zero, zipper) 27. The letters e-d say, "d" and "t" as the past tense ending of any base word which does not end in the sound, "d" or "t." When e-d says "ed" after words ending with "d" or "t," they form another syllable. (loved, wrapped) (word,word ed-part,parted) 28. Double consonants within words of more than one syllable should both be sounded for spelling. (lit tle, but ton)

Pronouncing Spelling Rules:GrammarPronounce all sounds of letters written with virgules /o/. Pronounce the names of letters written alone (x) or with dashes between (s-i). Pronounce the sound of all letters written with quotations and dictionary markings as shown ("sh" " " "er"). Word examples in parentheses are not taught as part of the rule but are shown as illustrations only. The rules are most effectively taught when the phonograms are applied, sound by sound, in written dictated spelling lessons - not by rote memorization. Students learn the process of analysis and thinking.

1.) SPELLING RULES FOR THE PRESENT PROGRESSIVE TENSEa.) Add ing to the base form of the verb. read - reading, stand - standing, jump - jumping b.) If a verb ends in a silent e, drop the final -e and add ing. leave - leaving, take - taking, receive - receiving c.) In a one-syllable word, if the last three letters are consonant-vowel-consonant combination (CVC), double the last consonant before adding ing. sit - sitting, run - running, hop - hopping However, do not double the last consonant in word that end in w, x, or y. sew - sewing, fix - fixing, enjoy - enjoying

d.) In words of two or more syllables that end in a consonant-vowel-consonant combination, double the last consonant only if the last syllable is stressed. admit - admitting, regret - regretting e.) If a verb ends in ie, change the ie to y before adding -ing. die - dying

2.) SPELLING RULES FOR THE SIMPLE PRESENT TENSEa.) Add s for most verbs work - works, buy - buys, ride - rides, return - returns b.) Add es for words that end in ch, -s , -sh, -x, or z. watch - watches, pass - passes, rush - rushes, relax - relaxes, buzz - buzzes c.) Change the y to i and add es when the base form ends in a consonant +y. study - studies, hurry - hurries, dry - dries Do not change the y when the base form ends in a vowel +y. Add s play - plays, enjoy - enjoys d.) A few verbs have irregular forms. be - is, do - does, go- goes, have - has

3.) SPELLING RULES FOR SIMPLE PAST TENSE OF REGULAR VERBSa.) If the verb ends in a consonant, add ed. return - returned, help - helped, cook - cooked b.) If the verb ends in e, add d. live - lived, create - created, die - died c.) In one-syllable words, if the verb ends in a consonant-vowel-consonant combination (CVC), double the last consonant and add -ed. hop - hopped, rub - rubbed However, do not double one-syllable words ending in w, -x, or y. bow - bowed, play - played, mix - mixed d.) In words of two or more syllables that end in consonant-vowel-consonant combination, double the last consonant only if the last syllable is stressed. prefer - preferred (The last syllable is stressed.) visit - visited (The last syllable isnt stressed) e.) If the verb ends in a consonant, + y, change the -y to -i and ed. worry - worried, copy - copied

f.) If the verb ends in a vowel +y, add -ed. (Do not change the y to i.) play - played, annoy - annoyed Exception: pay - paid, lay - laid, say - said

4.) SPELLING RULES FOR THE COMPARATIVE (-ER) & SUPERLATIVES (EST) ADJECTIVESa.) Add er to one-syllable adjectives to form the comparative. Add -est to one-syllable adjectives to form the superlative. cheap - cheaper - cheapest, bright - brighter - brightest b.) If the adjective ends in e, add r or st. nice - nicer - nicest c.) If the adjective ends in a consonant +y, change to y to i before you add er or est. pretty - prettier - prettiest. Exception: shy - shyer - shyest d.) If the adjective ends in a consonant-vowel-consonant combination (CVC), double the final consonant before adding er or est. big - bigger - biggest However, do not double the consonant in words ending in w or y. slow - slower - slowest, coy - coyer - coyest

5.) SPELLING RULES FOR ADVERBSa.) Add ly to the corresponding adjectives nice - nicely, quiet - quietly, quick - quickly, beautiful - beautifully b. If the adjective ends in consonant +y, change the y to i before adding ly easy - easily c. If the adjective ends in le, drop the -e and add y. possible - possibly However, do not drop the e for other adjectives ending in e. extreme - extremely, Exception: true - truly d.) If the adjective ends in ic, add -ally. basic - basically, fantastic - fantastically, terrific - terrifically

How to Improve Your SpellingKeep a notebook of words you find difficult to spell. Underline the part of the word that you find most difficult. Use a dictionary, not a spell-checker! OK use a spell-checker, but don't rely on it. Spell-checkers don't check for meaning, the most common misspelt words I have seen on the net are there and their. Learn words with their possible prefixes and suffixes.

Learn the rules, but don't rely on them. As I mentioned earlier for every rule there is at least one exception. For example:-

i before e except after cOne of the first English spelling rules that was learnt in most schools is "i before e except after c". This only works when the pronunciation of the word is like a long ee as in shield. For example:but after c :-

piece, relief, niece, priest, thief conceive, conceit, receive, receipt

When A or I is the sound Its the other way roundwith an 'a' sound with an 'i' sound :_

deign, eight, neighbour, feign, reign, vein, weight either, feisty, height, neither, sleight seize, weird, conscientious, conscience, efficient . . .

Exceptions (sorry):Silent Letters

There are lots of silent letters in English. Yes, we stick letters in a word and then we don't pronounce them (sorry). What is a silent letter? A silent letter is a letter that must be included when you write the word even though you don't pronounce it. Over half the alphabet can appear as silent letters in words. They can be found at the beginning, end or middle of the words and, from the sound of the word, you wouldn't know that they were there. For example :- a - treadle, bread

b - lamb, bomb, comb d - edge, bridge, ledge h - honour, honest, school l - talk, psalm, should p - pneumatic, psalm, psychology t - listen, rustle, shistle w - write, wrong, wrist

c - scissors, science, scent e - see below k - know, knight, knowledge n - hymn, autumn, column s - isle, island, aisle u - biscuit, guess, guitar

Silent e:Silent e is the most commonly found silent letter in the alphabet. There are some hard and fast rules for spelling when a word ends with a silent e. When you wish to add a suffix to a word and it ends with a silent e, if the suffix begins with a consonant you don't need to change the stem of the word. For example :

force + ful =forceful sincere + ly =sincerely

manage + ment


If however the suffix begins with a vowel or a y, drop the e before adding the suffix. For example :

fame + ous =famous believable + y =believably

nerve + ous =nervous criticise + ism =criticism


mileage, agreeable

Prefixes and SuffixesAdding a prefix to a word doesn't usually change the spelling of the stem of the word.

For example:anti + septic autobiography de - sensitize im - possible mega - byte micro - chip un - available desensitize impossible megabyte microchip unavailable

antiseptic auto + biography dis - approve inter - mediate mis - take re - used disapprove intermediate

mistake reused

Adding a suffix to a word often changes the spelling of the stem of the word. The following may help you work out the changes. Again there are exceptions, so if you're not sure - look it up in your dictionary.

Words ending in a consonantWhen the suffix begins with a consonant, just add the ending without any changes. For example:-

treat + ment


Doubling the consonantFor most words with a short vowel sound, ending with a single consonant, double the consonant when adding a suffix that starts with a vowel, such as er, ed or ing.

For example:-

mop + ing hot + er

mopping hotter

big + est


For words endling in l after a vowel, double the l before adding er, ed or ing.For example:Exceptions: Some words ending in r, x, w or y are exceptions to the doubling rule

carol + ing caroling

travel + er travelling

tear + ing box + er

tearing boxer

blow + ing blowing know + ing knowing

And if youre main word has two consonants at the end, or more than one vowel, don't double the consonant. rain + ing (two vowels a + i) raining break + ing (two vowels e + a) breaking Word EndingsWords ending in ce and ge

keep + er (two vowels e + e) keeper hang + er (two consonants n + g) hanger

When you want to add a suffix starting with a or o leave the e in.

For example:-

manage + able notice + able courage + ous

manageable noticeable courageous


prestige + ous Words ending in ie


When you want to add ing to verbs ending in ie, drop the e and change the i to a y.For example:-

die dying

lie lying

tie - tying

Words ending in y after a consonant When you want to add suffixes such -as, -ed, -es, -er, -eth, -ly, -ness, -ful and -ous to a word ending in y after a consonant, change the y to an i before adding the suffix.For example:-

eighty + eth =eightieth mystery +ous=mysterious multiply + ed=multipliedWords ending in y after a vowel

duty + es =duties beauty + ful=beautiful busy + ly=busily

lazy + ness=laziness

Keep the y when adding suffixes such as er, ing or ed.For example:-

destroy pry

destroying destroyed pried player buy buying buyer


play playing

You may be confused by some differences in spelling that are actually caused by the differences between American (AmE) and British (BrE) English spelling. It's not that one is right or better and the other wrong or worse, the trick is to learn one form of spelling and stick to it. Try not to mix them up.

-ise vs ize

-re vs -er