< Spelling Rules

SUPPORT
The Tongue Untied

For ten years, The Tongue Untied has brought you lessons in English grammar, complete with quizzes and homework. ALL FOR FREE. Help support our efforts. Make a contribution today!

*************

Spelling Rules

1. TIPS

    "Sound out" a word by breaking it into phonetic patterns and syllables (Pronunciation)

    Study Homonyms (words that have similar pronunciations but different meanings & spellings)

    eg., through and threw; cite,sight, site


2. SUFFIXES

  • able is more common than ible
  • able used mostly with complete root words (e.g., workable, dependable
  • only able follows g, i and the hard c ("k" sound)
    (e.g., navigable, amiable, irrevocable)
  • ible used after double consonants (e-g-, ll), s, st, some d sounds and soft c ("s" sound)
    (e.g, infallible, plausible, edible, forcible
  • ance and ence create nouns from verbs
    (e.g., resistance and persistence)
  • ant and ent form adjectives
    (e.g., resistant and persistent)

3. WORDS WITH CLEARLY DEFINED PARTS

    1) Combining words into a single word:

    • Keep the root word as is
      (e.g., News + Stand=Newsstand; Book + Keeper = Bookkeeper)

    2) Adding a Suffix (e.g., ness) To Make A Noun Out Of An Adjective:

    • Keep the root word As Is
      (e.g., Cleverness, Suddenness, Drunkenness

    3) Adding a Suffix (e.g., ly) To Make An Adverb Out Of An Adjective:

    • Keep the root word as is even if it ends in an L or an E
      (e.g., Privately, Royally, Beautifully, Sincerely)

    4) Adding Prefixes (e.g., dis and mis):

    • Keep the root word as is
      (e.g., dislike, disagree; disappear; misapply, misunderstand, misspelling)

    5) Adding Suffix (ment) To Turn Verbs into Nouns:

    • Keep the root word as is (e.g., establishment, government, advertisement)

4. IE and EI: from "Correct Spelling Made Easy" (p. 32-56)

    1) IE spelling is more common than EI:

    • The i usually precedes e unless it follows a c that carries an "s" sound (e.g., niece ... receive)
      Remember: "Use i before e except after c unless sounding like 'a' as in neighbor and weigh. "

    2) Use i before e after c if it carries an "sh" sound (e.g., deficient).

    3) Use ie not ei on long "e" syllables not preceded by a c (e.g., field, relieve, achieve)

    4) Use e before i after c followed by a long "e" sound (e.g., ceiling, receipt).

    5) Use e before i with words with long "ain" sound (e.g., feign, reign)

    6) Five exceptions: caffeine, leisure, protein, seize, weird

5. DOUBLING A FINAL CONSONANT WHEN ADDING A SUFFIX: from "Correct Spelling Made Easy" (p. 69)

    1) The word must end in just one consonant.

    • Compel (l + ed or ing) = Compelled; Compelling

      But Not : Resist (+ ed or ing) = Resisted; Resisting

    2) There must be only one vowel before the final single consonant.

    • Refer (r + ed or ing) = Referred; Referring

      But Not: Appear = Appeared; Appearing

    3) The last syllable of the verb must receive the accent.

    • Commit (accent on mit) = Committed; Committing

      But Not: Profit = Profited; Profiting

    4) The suffix to be added must start with a vowel--in order to double the final consonant.

    • Defer (r + ed) = Deferred

      But Not: Defer + ment) Deferment