Sunday, January 26, 2014

Spelling rules

Spelling rules
Here's quick cheatsheet with some spelling rules and letter combinations. These are rules and examples from "The Spelling Skills Handbook", By John Barwick and Jenny Barwick*.


Most of these rules noted below apply to plural nouns and to changes in verb forms.
  • If a word ends in -ch, add –es (e.g., lunches)
    • Exception: If the -ch makes /k/ sound, just add -s.
  • If a word ends in -sh, add –es (e.g., blushes)
    • Don’t be caught by fish. Remember, one fish... two fish
  • If a word ends in –ss or –s, add –es (e.g., buses)
  • If a word ends in –o, add either –s or –es (e.g., mosquitoes)
    • Note: dingoes can also be dingos
  • If a word ends in –x or -z, add –es (e.g., sixes, waltzes)
    • Important: If z comes after a vowel, double the z before adding the -es (e.g. quizzes)
  • If a word ends in a consonant and –y, change –y to –I and add –es (e.g., the word party changes to parties)
  • If a word ends in –y, change the –y to –I to add suffices other than –ing
    • To avoid having double i, always keep the final –y when adding –ing (e.g. trying).
    • Important: watch out for skiing, which does contain double i
    • Other examples include the following:
Base word
Add -es
Add -ed
Add -ly
Add -able
Add -ness
Add –ment
carry
carries
carried




cry
cries
cried




vary
varies
varied

variable


merry


merrily


merriment
happy


happily

happiness

  • If a word ends in –ay, -ey or –oy, do not change the base word to add suffixes (e.g. highways, keys, boys)
Base word
Add -s
Add -ed
Add -ing
play
plays
played
playing
employ
employs
employed
employing
enjoy
enjoys
enjoyed
enjoying
delay
delays
delayed
delaying
pay
pays
(paid)**
paying
buy
buys
(bought)**
buying
**Some verbs in the past tense change their form rather than adding –ed.
  • This rule also applies to adjectives. Adjectives are words that describe, or give more information about, a noun or pronoun.
Base word
Add -ful
Add -less
Add -ous
joy
joyful
joyless
joyous
play
playful


  • Put “i before e except after c”, when it rhymes with bee
o    ie words (i before the e…) that rhyme with bee: (e.g. achieve, believe)
o    cei words (…except after c) that rhyme with bee: (e.g. ceiling, conceit, conceive)
o    Exceptions: seize, weir, weird, protein, caffeine, codeine, Neil, Sheila, Keith, Reid





  • If a word ends in a silent –e, drop the –e to add a suffix beginning with a vowel (including –y)
  • Base word
    Add -ed
    Add-ing
    Add -y
    Add -ous
    Add -al
    Add -ion
    use
    used
    using




    admire
    admired
    admiring




    scare
    scared
    scaring
    scary



    nerve


    nervy
    nervous


    culture
    cultured



    cultural

    fuse
    fused
    fusing



    fusion


    o    Important: Keep the final –e when adding a suffix beginning with a consonant
    Base word
    Add -ly
    Add -ful
    Add -less
    Add -ness
    Add -ty
    Add -some
    sore
    sorely


    soreness


    loose
    loosely


    looseness


    safe
    safely



    safety

    lone
    lonely




    lonesome
    care

    careful
    careless



    hope

    hopeful
    hopeless



    use

    useful
    useless



    noise


    noiseless




    o    Important: Do not drop the final –e when adding –able to words ending in –ce and –ge which have a soft sound (e.g. noticeable, manageable)


  • If a word ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, double the consonant to add a suffix beginning with a vowel.
  • Base word
    Add -ed
    Add -ing
    Add -er
    bat
    batted
    batting
    batter
    travel
    travelled
    travelling
    traveller
    marvel
    marvelled
    marvelling

    commit
    committed
    committing

    control
    controlled
    controlling
    controller

    Base word
    Add -ous
    Add -al
    Add -able
    marvel
    marvellous


    commit

    committal

    control


    controllable


  • In most cases you can form plurals of nouns ending in –f or –fe, by changing the –f, or –fe, to –v and adding –es (e.g., calf to calves)
  • o    Exceptions: chiefs, roofs, handkerchiefs, cliffs, reefs

  •  Some plurals are made by changing some of the letters of the base word, or by adding an unusual suffix (e.g., goose to geese, from medium to media, from fungus to fungi)

  •  Some nouns only exist only as plurals (e.g. one fish = a school of fish, one deer = a herd of deer, one salmon = four salmon, one sheep = a mob of sheep)

  • Related links
    References:
    *Barwick, J (1999). The Spelling Skills Handbook. Sydney: Horwitz Education, pp42-54.

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