Why is Correct Spelling Important?
Writing the correct spelling is very important for a student. A wrong spelling doesn’t put good impression on the examiner and is understood as carelessness or inefficiency of the student. It is therefore very important for you to know and write correct spellings in your exams, essays etc. There are certain rules, which could improve your spelling power and boost up your confidence.
How to Avoid Spelling Mistakes?
Before we go onto the set of rules; I would like to mention few habits that you must develop to improve your word power and minimize the mistakes. They are as following-
1) Read Carefully
Generally while reading a newspaper or a book, many of us just try to go through the complete sentence, not stressing much on the words. Just for instance, may I ask you to read the below sentence written within quotation marks-
“I celebrated by birth day with colleaegues”.
There is a good chance that you would probably read it right. Did you notice any mistake!?
The “colleagues” is spelled wrongly as “colleaegues”.
The point is that you must read the sentence carefully, quickly going through the spellings of complicated words and also memorizing them.
2) Keep a Dictionary
Always keep a dictionary with you. A dictionary is your best 24 hours ‘Spelling Teacher’. You will feel confident and it will also improve your vocabulary.
3) Make a Note
It is a good habit to make a note of the complicated or difficult spellings that you come across. You can refer to your personal note time-to-time and also memorize the spellings whenever you want.
4) Pronounce Correctly
Many spelling mistakes occur due to wrong pronunciation. If you pronounce a word incorrectly, the chances are fair that you will also spell it incorrectly. Words like - brewery, penguin, jewellery, spaghetti, squirrel, drawer, choir, Antarctic could be a bit tricky to pronounce.
What are Spelling Rules
There are certain rules for different types of spellings, which we will discuss in details below. You are expected to thoroughly go through the rules and practice the words. But, before that we quickly go through some basic information, we already know-
- i) Vowels: a, e, i, o, u
- ii) Consonants: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z
iii) Suffix: suffix is a group of letters which is added at the end of a word. For example consider the words-
|WORD||SUFFIX||WORD + SUFFIX|
(A) Doubling of “l”
Many words end with double ‘l’ -“ll”. But when Compound words are made of them, then one ‘l’ is omitted. Go through the words in the table below and their compound forms.
|WORD 1||WORD 2||COMPOUND WORD (1 + 2)|
One ‘l’ is omitted from the words while making compound words.
Though, there are some exceptions to this rule like- farewell, spellbound, unroll etc.
If a word ends with ‘l’ and if the ‘l’ is immediately following a vowel, like in the words – beautiful, equal, expel, jewel, travel, level, cancel and model. Before compounding such words with other words or suffix, beginning with a vowel – one more “l” is added. We will better understand the concept with examples-
|WORD||SUFFIX (Beginning with a Vowel)||COMPOUND WORDS WITH “ll”|
The words in the examples end with “ l ” and the “ l ” is placed after a vowel. Therefore, when the word is compounded with a suffix beginning with a vowel - one more “l” is added.
There are a few exceptions to this rule too – parallel, paralleled, peril, perilous.
(B) Doubling Consonants
Some words end with a consonant and the consonant follows a vowel. While adding such words with suffixes beginning with a vowel; the consonant is doubled. Go through the examples give in the table below-
|WORDS (ending with – vowel + consonant)||SUFFIX (beginning with vowel)||COMPOUND WORDS|
Few exceptions include- picnic – picnicking; suffer – suffered; offer – offered; differ – differed.
(C) Spelling: the final y and i
If a word end with “y”, and if the “y” is following a consonant; then before adding a suffix to such words (except – ing), the “y” is replaced by “i”. go through the examples in the below table-
|WORD (ending with – consonant + y)||SUFFIX||COMPOUND (WORD + SUFFIX)|
|cry||ing||crying (no change)|
|cry||ed||cried ( y replaced by ‘i’)|
|try||ing||trying (no change)|
It is seen that while suffixing with – ing, the word remains same, while on suffixing with others, the “y” is replaced by “i”.
If the “y” is following a vowel, then it is not changed to “i” while adding a suffix. Go through the examples in the tables below-
|WORDS (‘y’ is following a vowel)||SUFFIX||COMPOUND WORDS|
In the above examples the “y” in the words is preceded by a vowel; therefore, the “y” remains the same and the suffix is added without change.
Though, there are few exceptions to this rule – say – said; pay – paid; lay – laid etc.
Rule number six relates to making plurals or third person singular in simple present tense.
(i) For third person singular in simple present tense.
If “y” is following by a consonant then it is replaced by – ‘ies’ as shown in the table below-
|WORD (‘y’ following a consonant)||SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE (THIRD PERSON)|
Some more examples – carry – carries; hurry – hurries; reply – replies; worry – worries
(ii) For making plural
For making plurals - if “y” is following by a vowel, then only “s” is added but if the “y” is following a consonant – it is replaced by ‘ies’ as shown in table below-
|SINGULAR WORD||PLURAL WORD|
Some more Examples – victory – victories, baby – babies, key – keys, donkey – donkeys etc.
(D) Spelling: Words Ending With “e”
If a suffix beginning with a vowel is added to a word ending with “e”, then the “e” is omitted. Go through the examples in the table below-
|WORD (Ending With “e”)||SUFFIX (Beginning With Vowel)||COMPOUND – WORD + SUFFIX|
|live||ing||Living (“e” is omitted)|
Note that in the above words, “e” is omitted while joining with a suffix beginning with a vowel.
If a word ends with –ge or –ce then the suffix is added to the word as it is. Go through the examples below-
|WORD (Ending With –ge or –ce)||SUFFIX||COMPOUND WORD|
However the above rule changes (“e” is omitted) for the suffixes beginning with –“e” or “i” as shown in the examples below-
|WORD (Ending With –ge or –ce)||SUFFIX (Starting With “e” or “i”)||COMPOUND WORD|
If a word ending with ‘-ee’, ‘-le’ or ‘-ye’, is added to any suffix (except –ed), then the final “e” remains the same. Got through the below examples-
There are also some exceptions to this rule like - smile – smiling, compile – compiling, profile – profiling etc.
If the words ending with ‘e’ are suffixed with a word beginning with a consonant; then the last ‘e’ of the word is omitted. Go through the below examples.
|WORD (Ending With ‘e’)||SUFFIX (beginning with a consonant)||COMPOUND WORD|
There are few exceptions to rule 10, like – achieve – achievement (‘e’ is not omitted), hope – hopeful, excite – excitement.
For words ending with ‘ie’ when suffixed with –ing; ‘ie’ is replaced by ‘y’.
|WORDS (ending with ‘ie’)||SUFFIX (-ing)||COMPOUND WORDS|
The ‘ie’ of the words is replaced by the ‘y’ before adding to the suffix.
Some words end with –‘our’ like – favour, labour etc. In British English ‘u’ is accepted while it is omitted in American English. Go through the table below-
|BRITISH ENGLISH||AMERICAN ENGLISH|
(E) Spelling: Words Ending With ‘-ise’ and ‘-ize’
Some words in British English ending with –ise, can very well end with –ize also. Refer to the table below-
|WORDS (ending with –ise)||WORDS (ending with –ize)|
(F) Spelling: Suffixing ‘full’
If ‘full’ is suffixed to any word then one ‘l’ in ‘full’ is omitted, as shown below-
(G) Tricky Words
Go through the following tricky words which are pronounced as same but are spelled differently-
|loose (not firmly fixed)||Lose (unable to retain or lost something)|
|new( recent)||knew (past of know)|
|no (negative response)||know (aware of)|
|piece (portion)||peace (calm)|
|refuse (reject)||refuge (shelter)|
|sole (undersurface of foot)||soul (the spirit)|
|steal (to snatch)||steel ( a metal)|
(H) Differences between British and American English
(i) Final ‘l’ is not doubled in American English, on the other hand British English accepts‘ll’.
American English: traveler, leveling etc.
British English: traveller, levelling etc.
(ii) Words ending with –tre and –ter
American English: theater, center
British English: theatre, centre
(iii) Some more words with different spellings in American and British English
|AMERICAN ENGLISH||BRITISH ENGLISH|
Exercises/Worksheet/Activities with Answers
Choose The Correct Word Exercises/Worksheet/Activities On Spelling With Answers:
In the below questions a word is given along with a suffix. You have to choose the correct compound word thus formed - from the choices given. You can refer to the answer provided in the end of the exercise-
1) Which word is formed by joining the following - hit + ing
- a) hiting
- b) hitting
2) Which word is formed by joining the following – merry + er
- a) merier
- b) merrier
3) Which word is formed by joining the following – call + ing
- a) calling
- b) caling
4) Which word is formed by joining the following – all + most
- a) almost
- b) allmost
5) Which word is formed by joining the following – remorse + full
- a) remorseful
- b) remorsefull
6) Which word is formed by joining the following – hail + ed
- a) hailled
- b) hailed
7) Which word is formed by joining the following – fuel + ed
- a) fuelled
- b) fueled
8) Which word is formed by joining the following – quarrel + ed
- a) quarreled
- b) quarrelled
9) Which word is formed by joining the following – plan + ing
- a) planning
- b) planing
10) Which word is formed by joining – decline + ing
- a) declineing
- b) declining
11) Join the words – beg + ing
- a) begging
- b) beging
12) Join the words – prefer + ed
- a) prefered
- b) preferred
13) What word is formed by combining the two – lazy + ness
- a) laziness
- b) lazyness
14) What word is formed by combining the two – play + ed
- a) plaid
- b) played
15) What is the plural of ‘man’-
- a) men
- b) mans
16) What is the plural form of ‘story’-
- a) storys
- b) stories
17) What is the plural of ‘cat’-
- a) cats
- b) cates
18) Combine the two – fume + ing
- a) fumeing
- b) fuming
19) Combine the two – role + ing
- a) rolling
- b) roleing
20) Join the two – see + ing
- a) seing
- b) seeing
21) Join the words – beauty + full
- a) beautiful
- b) beautifull
Answers- 1)b, 2)b, 3)a, 4)a, 5)a, 6)b, 7)a 8)b, 9)a, 10)b, 11)a, 12)b, 13)a, 14)b, 15)a, 16)b, 17)a, 18)b, 19)a, 20)b, 21)a