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Rules of Spelling

Rules of Spelling

Spelling is a crucial aspect of effective written communication. Consistent adherence to spelling rules ensures clarity and precision in conveying ideas. Here are some of the most important spelling rules, along with examples for each:

1. Silent "E" Rule:

• Rule: Words ending in a silent "e" usually drop the "e" before adding vowel suffixes.

• Example: "hope" becomes "hoping," "write" becomes "writing."

2. "IE" and "EI" Rule:

• Rule: In most cases, "i" comes before "e" except after "c."

• Example: "believe," "receive," but "ceiling" and "conceive."

3. Doubling Consonants Rule:

• Rule: One-syllable words ending in a single vowel and a single consonant double the final consonant when adding a vowel suffix.

• Example: "run" becomes "running," "hop" becomes "hopping."

4. Changing "Y" Rule:

• Rule: When a word ends in "y" with a consonant preceding it, the "y" changes to "i" before suffixes other than those beginning with "i."

• Example: "happy" becomes "happily," "study" becomes "studious."

5. Adjective to Adverb Rule:

• Rule: If the adjective ends in "I," the adverb formed by adding "ly" will contain two "I’s" immediately before the "y."

• Example: "real" becomes "really," "final" becomes "finally."

6. Compounded Words Rule:

• Rule: Words ending in "ii" usually drop one "I" when compounded.

• Example: "all" + "most" = "almost," "well" + "come" = "welcome."

7. "I" Before "E" Except After "C" Rule:

• Rule: In words with "ie" or "ei," use "I" before "e" except after "c."

• Example: "receive," "deceive," but exceptions like "ceiling" and "leisure."

8. -NESS Suffix Rule:

• Rule: Words ending in "no" do not drop the "n" before adding the suffix "-ness."

• Example: "clean" becomes "cleanness," "green" becomes "greenness."

Mastering these spelling rules will contribute to improved writing skills and enhance overall communication effectiveness. Regular practice and exposure to varied vocabulary will reinforce these rules in practical usage.



20 Golden Rules of Spelling


RULE I: Words Ending in Silent "e" and Vowel Suffixes

Words that end in a silent "e" typically drop the silent "e" before adding a vowel suffix (e.g., -ing, -able, -ary, -ous).

Exceptions:

1. The "e" is retained when a suffix beginning with a consonant letter (e.g., -ment, -ful) is added.

2. After 'c' or 'g', if the suffix begins with 'a' or 'o', the 'e' is retained to indicate the soft sound of 'c' or 'g' (e.g., -ous, -able).

Examples:

• Drop -e:

• admire + able = admirable

• admire + ation = admiration

• allure + ing = alluring

• arrange + ing = arranging

• arrive + ing = arriving

• become + ing = becoming

• care + ing = caring

• come + ing = coming

• compare + able = comparable

• deplore + able = deplorable

• desire + ous = desirous

• dine + ing = dining

• divide + ing = dividing

• explore + ation = exploration

• fame + ous = famous

• give + ing = giving

• hope + ing = hoping

• imagine + ary = imaginary

• live + ing = living

• lose + ing = losing

• love + able = lovable

• move + able = movable

• name + ing = naming

• note + ed = noted

• Retain -e:

• arrange + ment = arrangement

• care + ful = careful

• extreme + ly = extremely

• force + ful = forceful

• hate + ful = hateful

• like + ness = likeness

• lone + ly = lonely

• move + ment = movement

• Retain -e (after 'c' or 'g' with 'a' or 'o'):

• advantage + ous = advantageous

• change + able = changeable

• courage + ous = courageous

• manage + able = manageable

• notice + able = noticeable

• outrage + ous = outrageous

• peace + able = peaceable

• service + able = serviceable

• trace + able = traceable

RULE 2: Words Ending in "ee" or "oo" and Suffixes

Words ending in "ee" or "oo" add suffixes without any change.

Examples:

• agree + able = agreeable

• coo + ing = cooing

• flee + ing = fleeing

• glee + ful = gleeful

• see + ing = seeing

• woo + ing = wooing

Additional Examples:

• entire + ly = entirely

• false + ly = falsely

• fine + ly = finely

• late + ly = lately

• nice + ly = nicely

• polite + ly = politely

• safe + ly = safely

• sure + ly = surely

• whole + ly = wholly

• noble + ly = nobly

• true + ly = truly

• gentle + ly = gently

• idle + ly = idly

RULE 3: Words Ending in a Consonant After Two Vowels and Suffixes

Words ending in a consonant preceded by two vowels do not double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel.

Examples:

• comfortable + ly = comfortably

• fashionable + ly = fashionably

• forcible + ly = forcibly

• honourable + ly = honourably

• pleasurable + ly = pleasurably

• sensible + ly = sensibly

Additional Examples:

• boor + ish = boorish

• cook + ing = cooking

• cool + ing = cooling

• look + ing = looking

• meet + ing = meeting

• repeat + able = repeatable

• shout + ed = shouted

• teem + ing = teeming

• associate + tion = association

• celebrate + tion = celebration

RULE 4: Retention of Silent "e" with Consonant Suffixes

When a suffix beginning with a consonant is added to a word ending in a silent "e," the "e" is, with few exceptions, retained. Here are the details:

1. When the suffix -ly is added to an adjective ending in a silent "e," the "e" is usually retained.

2. Exceptions to the retention of "e" when -ly is added:

• If the adjective ends in -le, the -le is dropped when the suffix -ly is added.

• The -le is also dropped from adjectives ending in -able and -ible when the suffix -ly is added.

3. When the suffix -tion is used to form a noun from a verb ending in a silent "e" after 't,' the letters 'te' are dropped.

4. When the suffix -y is added to a noun ending in silent "e" to make an adjective, the "e" is dropped.

5. When the suffixes -ful, -hood, -less, and -ment are added, the "e" is retained.

Examples:

• communicate + ion = communication

• complete + ion = completion

• create + tion = creation

• dictate + tion = dictation

• frustrate + tion = frustration

• pollute + tion = pollution

• bone + y = bony

• smoke + y = smoky

• ease + y = easy

• snake + y = snaky

• ice + y = icy

• stone + y = stony

• noise + y = noisy

• taste + y = tasty

RULE 5: Unchanged Words Ending in Two or More Consonants with Suffixes

Words ending in two or more consonants usually remain unchanged when a suffix is added.

Examples:

• call + ed = called

• pull + ed = pulled

• roll + ing = rolling

• shell + ed = shelled

• thrill + ing = thrilling

• till + ed = tilled

• toll + ing = tolling

• will + ed = willed

RULE 6: Doubling Consonants in One-Syllable Words with Vowel Suffixes

When a one-syllable word ends in a single vowel and a single consonant, the consonant is usually doubled when a suffix with a vowel is added. Here are specific cases:

1. The suffix -er, denotes 'person or thing that does something.'

2. The suffix -ing indicates the present participle and gerund.

3. The suffix -ed is used for the past tense and past participle.

4. The suffix -y changes a noun to an adjective.

Examples:

• advertise + ment = advertisement

• amaze + ment = amusement

• announce + ment = announcement

• care + less = careless

• excite + ment = excitement

• false + hood = falsehood

• home + less = homeless

• hope + ful = hopeful

• hope + less = hopeless

• tire + less = tireless

• use + ful = useful

• use + less = useless

• wire + less = wireless

Note: When -ment is added to judge, acknowledge, and abridge, two spellings are generally accepted:

• judge + ment = judgment or judgement

• acknowledge + ment = acknowledgment or acknowledgement

• abridge + ment = abridgment or abridgement

RULE 7: No Doubling of Final Consonant in One-Syllable Words with Consonant Suffixes

In a one-syllable word, the final consonant is not doubled before a suffix beginning with a consonant.

Examples:

• big, bigger, biggest

• sad, sadder, saddest

• hot, hotter, hottest

• thin, thinner, thinnest

Examples with Consonant Suffixes:

• cut + er = cutter

• hit + er = hitter

• rub + er = rubber

• run + er = runner

• sin + er = sinner

• swim + er = swimmer

Additional Examples:

• bid, bidding

• brag, bragging

• get, getting

• cram, cramming

• plan, planning

• cut, cutting

• run, running

• dig, digging

• sin, sinning

• din, dinning

• sit, sitting

Examples with Past Tense Suffix -ed:

• beg, begged

• drag, dragged

• drop, dropped

• rub, rubbed

• fit, fitted

• sin, sinned

• hop, hopped

• strap, strapped

Examples with Adjective Suffix -y:

• fog, foggy

• mud, muddy

• fun, funny

• sun, sunny

• fat, fatness

• man, manhood

• fit, fitful

• sad, sadness

• glad, gladness

• sin, sinful

RULE 8: Doubling Final Consonant in Multisyllabic Words with Vowel Suffixes

1. Words of more than one syllable, ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, if accented on the last syllable, usually double the final consonant before adding a vowel suffix.

2. When adding a suffix in words of more than one syllable, and the accent is shifted to a preceding syllable, the foregoing rule does not apply.

3. In words of more than one syllable, the final consonant is not doubled before a suffix beginning with a consonant.

4. The final consonant is not doubled if the stress is on the first syllable, and if the verb ends in -en or -er.

5. The final consonant is doubled if the stress is on the first syllable of the verb and if it ends in -al, -el, or -il.

6. If the stress is on the first syllable, and if the verb ends in -ap or -ip, the final consonant is doubled.

Examples:

• admit → admitted

• control → controlled

• regret → regretting

• forbid → forbidding

• forget → forgetting

• prefer → preferring

• combat → combative

• equip → equipment

• profit → profitless

• regret → regretful

• unfit → unfitness

• happen → happened, happening

• open → opened, opener

• offer → offered, offering

• cancel → cancelled, cancellation

• equal → equalled, equalling

• level → levelled, leveller

• pedal → pedalled, pedalling

• travel → travelled, traveller

Exceptions:

• parallel → paralleled

• kidnap → kidnapped, kidnapper

• worship → worshipped, worshipper

RULE 9: No Doubling of Final Consonant in Multisyllabic Words with Vowel Suffixes

Words of more than one syllable, ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, if not accented on the last syllable, usually do not double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel.

Examples:

• Bigot → bigoted

• Despot → despotic

• Redden → reddened

• Rivet → riveted

Exceptions: There are words having two syllables almost equally accented. In such a situation, this rule is not applied, as in:

• Handicap → handicapped

• Outfit → outfitted

RULE 10: Change of "y" to "i" in Verb Endings

When a verb ends in "y" with a consonant preceding it, the "y" becomes "i" before the suffixes -es and -ed. The "y" remains unchanged before the suffix -ing.

Examples:

• Study → studies

• Carry → carries

• Try → tries

• Cry → cries

• Apply → applies

Exceptions:

• Play → plays

• Enjoy → enjoys

Unchanged "y" with -ing:

• Study → studying

• Carry → carrying

• Try → trying

• Cry → crying

• Apply → applying

RULE 11: Unchanged "y" in Verb Endings with Vowel Preceding

If a verb ends with "y" with a vowel preceding it, the "y" generally remains unchanged before the endings -s, -ed, and -ing.

Examples:

• beauty → beautiful

• happy → happiness

• deny → denial

• justify → justifies

• fly → flier

• study → studious

Examples with Endings:

• annoy → annoys, annoyed, annoying

• destroy → destroys, destroyed, destroying

• enjoy → enjoys, enjoyed, enjoying

• obey → obeys, obeyed, obeying

• play → plays, played, playing

• pray → prays, prayed, praying

• stay → stays, stayed, staying

Exceptions:

• lay → lays, laid, laying

• pay → pays, paid, paying

• say → says, said, saying

RULE 12: Changing "ie" to "y" and Omitting "e" with -ing Suffix

If the suffix -ing is added to verbs ending with "ie," the "i" becomes "y," and the "e" is omitted.

Examples:

• die → dying

• lie → lying

• tie → tying

RULE 13: Changing "y" to "i" in Nouns and Adjectives with Consonant Preceding

When a noun or adjective ends in "y" with a consonant preceding it, the "y" usually becomes "i" when a suffix is added.

Examples:

• dry → drier, dries, drily

• happy → happier, happiest, happily, happiness

• pity → pitiful, pitiless

• plenty → plentiful

• tidy → tidier, tidiest, tidily, tidiness

• twenty → twentieth

RULE 14: Replacing "y" with "i" before Certain Suffixes

Words ending with "y" preceded by a consonant use "i" instead of "y" before additions other than those beginning with "i."

Examples:

• beauty → beautiful, beautifully

• happy → happiness, happily

• deny → denial, denies

• justify → justifies, justified

• fly → flier, flies

• study → studious, studies

Examples with Endings:

• annoy → annoys, annoyed, annoying

• destroy → destroys, destroyed, destroying

• enjoy → enjoys, enjoyed, enjoying

• obey → obeys, obeyed, obeying

• play → plays, played, playing

• pray → prays, prayed, praying

• stay → stays, stayed, staying

Exceptions:

• lay → lays, laid, laying

• pay → pays, paid, paying

• say → says, said, saying

RULE 15: Retaining "n" before -ness in Words Ending in "no"

Words ending in "no" do not drop the "n" before adding the suffix -ness.

Examples:

• clean → cleanness

• green → greenness

RULE 16: Adverb Formation with Double "I" Before "Y"

If the adjective ends in "I," the adverb formed by adding "ly" will contain two "I’s" immediately before the "y."

Examples:

• cool → coolly

• final → finally

• formal → formally

• hopeful → hopefully

• real → really

• useful → usefully

RULE 17: Adverb Formation with Single "I" Before "Y"

If the adjective does not end in "I," the adverb formed by adding "ly" will contain only one "I" immediately before the "y."

Examples:

• evident → evidently

• grim → grimly

• fluent → fluently

• quick → quickly

RULE 18: Dropping One "I" in Compounded Words Ending in "ii"

Words ending in "ii" usually drop one "I" when compounded.

Examples:

• all + most = almost

• all + ready = already

• all + though = although

• all + together = altogether

• all + ways = always

• dis + till = distil

• doubt + full = doubtful

• use + full = useful

• un + till = until

• well + come = welcome

RULE 19: "I" Before "E" Except After "C"

In words with "ie" or "ei" when the sound is long "ee," use "I" before "e" except after "c."

Exceptions:

• Ceiling

• Conceive

• Conceit

• Deceit

• Deceive

• Perceive

• Receipt

• Receive

Other Exceptions:

• Either

• Financier

• Leisure

• Neither

• Seize

• Species


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