MORE SPELLING RULES
SPELLING PLURAL NOUNS
- Most words add s to the
root forms without any change (barn - barns).
- Words ending in sh, ch, ss, x,
and z, usually add es to form the PLURAL (bush -
- Words ending in a consonant and y
change the y to i and add es (party - parties).
- Some words ending in f change the
f to v and add es (calf - calves).
- Some singular words have
different words for their plural form (man - men;
mouse - mice; goose-geese).
- A letter or a syllable placed
after a word to form a new word is called a suffix.
Some suffixes are s, es, ed,
ing, er, est, ly, ful, able, ible, ment, ive, ance,
ence, ion, tion, ition, ation, sion, ous, ious,
less, and al.
Sometimes a word will have two suffixes. For
example, respectfully has the two suffixes ful and
to the root word respect.
- Many words are formed by adding
ed and ing without any change (furnish - furnished -
- Words ending in a silent e drop
the e before adding ed and ing (move - moved -
- Words ending in a consonant and y
change the y to i before adding ed, but do not make
any change before
adding ing (deny - denied - denying).
- Words ending in a vowel and y add
ed and ing without making any other change (delay -
delayed - delaying).
- A syllable placed before a word
to change its meaning is called a prefix. Some
prefixes are im, un, in, co, dis, inter.
DOUBLING THE FINAL
- Words of one syllable ending in a
single consonant preceded by a single vowel double
the final consonant
before adding suffixes which begin with a vowel (ed,
(trim - trimmed - trimming).
- Words of two or more syllables
double the final consonant before adding ed, ing or
other suffixes beginning with
a vowel when these conditions are met: the last
syllable ends in a single consonant preceded by a
and the accent is on the last syllable
(refer - referred - referring).
- Singular nouns form the
possessive by adding an apostrophe and s (pilot -
- Plural nouns that end in s add
only an apostrophe to form the possessive (aviators
- Plural nouns that do not end in s
add the apostrophe and s to form the possessive (men
- A word or phrase that has been
shortened by leaving out some of the letters is
called a contraction.
- An apostrophe is used to show
that the letters have been omitted (won't - will
not), (o'clock - of the clock).
- The beginning of a sentence is
always capitalized (The day was bright and sunny.).
- The names of holidays are
capitalized (Christmas, Valentine's Day).
- The names of the months of the
year and the days of the week are capitalized
- The names of countries are
capitalized (United States, Great Britain).
- When you write the name of a
particular avenue or street, capitalize the words
street (Fifth Avenue, Oak Street).
- The abbreviations Mr., Mrs. and
Ms. are always capitalized and followed by a period
(Mr. Callahan, Mrs. Perry, Ms. Smith).
- The names of deities are
capitalized (God, Allah, Buddha, Saviour).
- The word republican is
capitalized when it refers to the Republican party
(The Republicans won the election.).
- When words like senator and
general are used as titles with a person's name,
they are capitalized
(General Herkes distinguished herself in battle.).
- We capitalize the words capitol,
senate, building, supreme and court when referring
to the Capitol Building,
the Senate, the Supreme Court of Canada.
LETTERS AND SYLLABLES
- The vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and
sometimes y and w. The other letters are consonants.
- Two vowels written together often
have the sound of a single vowel. (In brain the ai
has the sound of a.
In eagle the ea has the sound of a long e, but in bread it has the sound
of short e.
This rule will help you with the ei and ie words: i
comes before e except after c or when sounded
like a, as in neighbor and weigh.
- A syllable is a word or part of a
word which has one vowel sound and is spoken as a
(boy is a one-syllable word; chil dren is a
two-syllable word; or na ment is a three syllable
In every word of two or more syllables one syllable
is given more emphasis than the other.
This extra emphasis is called accent, and is shown
in the dictionary by an accent mark (
ing the first syllable is accented.) Most words
have only one accented syllable, but some
have more than one (in' for ma'
tion). The accent that is the heavier is called the
The other accent is called the secondary accent.
- In your dictionary each word is
re-spelled according to its pronunciation. The
vowels are marked
according to their sounds, and the accented
syllables are shown. The marks for the vowel sounds
are called diacritical marks. These marks vary from
dictionary to dictionary. Please consult the
beginning of your own dictionary for the explanation
of diacritical marks used in that particular
- The two words at the top of each
dictionary page are called guide words.
The guide words are the first and last words on that
- Compound Words
are made by writing two small words together to make
one larger word. (newspaper, somebody)
- A root word is the root,
or beginning word, from which another word is made.
Play is the root word of plays, played and playing.
- Derived words
are words that come from other words. Suitable is
derived from suit; advertisement from advertise.
Sometimes the spelling of the root word is
slightly changed in the derived word.
- A synonym is a word having
almost the same meaning as another word. (replied -
answered; accurate - exact)
- An antonym is a word that
is opposite in meaning to another word. (private
-public; good - bad)
are words that are pronounced alike but which are
spelled in different ways and have different
(knew - new; steel - steal; deer - dear)
free printable worksheets and advice from an
experienced English teacher.
.net - Free Online Spell Checker
Free Spelling Course
Catch the Spelling (Online Game for
English Spelling Rules
Writing (and therefore spelling) is a representation of the
spoken word. The spoken word is not a representation of writing.
Because accents and pronunciation can change easily and quite
quickly, whereas what is written in books and dictionaries
remains "fixed" for years, as well as for various historical
reasons, there is often little correspondence between spoken
(pronunciation) and written English (spelling). English spelling
therefore often appears to be totally illogical. The following
can help you to decode the mysteries of English spelling. But
remember, even the best rules have their exceptions.
quick, quicker, quickest, happy, happier, happiest, hot,
work, working, worked, stop, stopping, stopped...
loud, loudly, happy, happily, terrible, terribly...
dog, dogs, church, churches, wife, wives...
-ible or -able
accessible, visible, dependable, networkable...
-ie- or -ei-
friend, fiend, feint, freight...
English and American English
colour, color, practise, practice, tyre, tire...
Remember this poem to decide if a word should be spelled ie or
i before e
Examples for line 1:
Except after c
Examples for line 2:
Or when it sounds like a
Examples for line 3:
As in neighbor or weigh
British version (which accommodates more exceptions) is:
- when the sound is ee
- it's i before e
- except after c
Use i before e except after c
or when sounded like a as in neighbor or weigh;
and except seize and seizure
and also leisure, weird, height,
and either, forfeit, and neither.
Exceptions to the
rule 'I before E except after C'
albeit ancient atheism beige being caffeine
casein cleidoic codeine conscience counterfeit deficient
(deficiencies) deify deity deign deil disseize dreidel
efficient eider eight either feign feint feisty financier
foreign forfeit freight geisha glacier gleization gneiss
greige greisen heifer heigh-ho height heinous heir heist
inveigle kaleidoscope keister leisure leitmotiv monteith
neigh neighbor neither obeisance omniscient onomatopoeia
peignoir phenolphthalein phthalein prescient proficient
protein reign reimburse rein reinforce reinstate reveille
Rotweiller science seeing seiche seidel seine seismic seize
seizin sheik sheila society sovereign specie species
sufficient surfeit surveillance teiid their veil vein weight
Spelling Rule, Examples.
Exceptions. A final silent e is
usually dropped before adding a
suffix beginning with a vowel, -able
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