Spelling Rules


“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

  • 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)


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

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