Spelling Rules

Spelling Lists
Each week more and more spelling lists will be added. We have some for grade one and all of grade seven complete. Keep checking back for more!
Spelling Lessons
Some words just have to be learned, they don’t seem to follow the rules. However, there are plenty of rules to learn that will help you spell most words.

We start off with a look at short vowels and some of the rules you can learn if you know them.Plurals can be tricky. Just how do you know if it needs an s, an es, or if it changes?

Spelling rules usually dictate a language, more so the English language. Actually, many English words are not pronounced the way they are spelt, making it very tough to remember the spellings. Even the native speakers find it difficult spelling words correctly because of this discrepancy in pronunciation and spelling. Many people try to memorize the spellings. Evolvement of spelling rules has made the process of memorizing spellings easy and simple.

Following are some simple spelling rules in English (along with their exceptions), which will help you avoid commonest spelling errors:

Adding A Prefix
This is the simplest of the rules. Adding a prefix does not affect the spelling at all. You only add the prefix to the original word as in dissatisfy, unhappy, etc.

Final E Rules
The E coming at the end of a word is a huge stumbling block and many are known to falter with it. Spelling rule requires you to drop the word-ending E when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel to a word that ends with a silent E, for instance advancing, managing, etc. If, on the contrary, the suffix begins with a consonant, you will not need dispensing with the final E, e.g. advancement, management, etc. Rule has it that if the silent E is preceded by another vowel, you will need dropping the E while adding the suffix: argument, truly.

Rules of pronunciation sometimes prevail over spelling rules and determine the spellings. Thus, if the final E in a word is preceded by a soft C or G, you will not need dropping the E to add the suffix, e.g. courageous, noticeable, etc.

Final Y Rules
While suffixing a word ending with Y, change the Y to I if it is preceded by a consonant. Thus, occupy becomes occupied, merry becomes merrier. However, there is an exception to the rule – it does not apply to the ending –ing, and so occupying continues with the Y. The rule stands cancelled if the final Y is preceded by a vowel as in saying.

The End Consonant Doubling Rule
The rule decrees that the number of syllables in a word decide whether or not to double consonants (appearing at the end of a word) when adding a suffix. You will need doubling the ending consonant when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel if the last syllable of the word is accented and that syllable ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant. Thus, you will need doubling N in beginning/beginner because the last accented syllable in BEGIN has an I followed by N.

However, when the first syllable is accented as in OPEN, the ending consonant is not doubled and so you have words like opening/opener. This rule also applies to spellings in which the final consonant is preceded by either another consonant or two vowels as in accepted/accepting or dealer/dealing.

Verbs ending with consonants like V, W, X & Y are an exception to this spelling rule. Actually, these consonants cannot be doubled.

I preceding E except after C

It is not just the first graders, even grown ups are known to slip-up with words that are spelt with both E and I (with either of them following the other). By rule, the letter E should follow the letter I when occurring after any alphabet except after C. Thus, you have E before I in receive, ceiling, etc. while it is the other way round in spellings like thief, relief, etc.

Again, E precedes I when the letter-combo EI creates a protracted A sound as in feign, vein, weigh, etc.

(Note: Spellings such as either, foreign, height, weird, etc. cannot be categorized and hence you will need to learn the individual spellings by heart).

Spelling Rules For Plurals
Some words are spelt the same way in both their singular and plural forms but in most cases you will only need adding an S at the end to arrive at the plural form of nouns (e.g. cats, friends, houses, etc.). Nouns ending with S, SS, SH, CH, or X have to be suffixed with ES to be converted into plural forms (e.g. glasses, matches, etc.). The very spellings of some nouns change in the plural form e.g. men, feet, etc.

In case a noun ends with either F or FE, rules require you to replace them with V followed by an ES. Thus wolf becomes wolves, knife becomes knives and so on and so forth. Nouns ending in Y preceded by a consonant have their Y substituted by I followed by ES in their plural form, e.g. countries, pantries. If, however, the Y is preceded by a vowel, adding an S at the end will suffice e.g. keys.

Abiding by the above spelling rules will give you a good command over English spellings. For better results, you can give yourself reading and writing practice.