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Tips for spelling words you don't know

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English spelling cause a lot of difficulties not only for native speakers, but also for language learners. It is difficult to find a relation between pronunciation of the English words and its spelling for many historical reasons. Due to the The Great Vowel Shift in 1359 – 1600 years, long vowels in English words changed their pronunciation. English spelling became standardized only in the 15th and 16th centuries. As a result, spelling of some words sometimes seems to be completely illogical. However, that is not a reason to make mistakes in writing.

Knowing rules of spelling, and the exceptions, is a great opportunity to show your writing skills and intelligence.  In this article, we'll consider the most common spelling rules everyone should learn.

A lot of students think that is they learn all rules by rote, they’ll be able to write without mistakes. Unfortunately, the most difficult task if to learn these ruleЫ by heart and keep in mind which words work with the rule and which words are exceptions to the rule. Some students enjoy studying and learning grammar rules, they know all spelling rules and why spelling is so important. It’s always good to know spelling rules, because it may help you to spell the word properly if you do not know how to write it down. Let's review the most common rules that will help you to understand the mysteries of English spelling. But do not forget that even the strictest rules have their exceptions.

Suffixes -er / -est

Suffixes -er or -est serve for the creation of the Degrees of comparison. Comparative and superlative adjectives are formed adding –er or –est to the end of the word:

old – older – the oldest

kind – kinder – the kindest

clean - cleaner - the cleanest

full - fuller - the fullest

If an adjective ends in a consonant vowel + -y, -y is replaced by -i:

funny - funnier - the funniest

easy – easier – the easiest

happy – happier – the happiest

busy – busier – the busiest

If an adjective ends in a consonant vowel + -e, -e should be dropped:

large - larger - the largest

fine – finer – the finest

nice – nicer – the nicest

rare – rarer – the rarest

If an adjective ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant, final consonant is doubled:

thin - thinner - the thinnest

hot – hotter – the hottest

big - bigger - the biggest

Endings -ing / -ed

Endings -ing and -ed are used to create different verb forms:

work - working - worked

open - opening - opened

stay - staying - stayed

If the verb ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant and the last syllable is stressed, the last consonant is doubled:

begin - beginning

Stop – stopping - stopped

drop - dropping - dropped

But: open - opening - opened (because the last syllable is not stressed)

If the verb ends in a consonant + -e, the -e is dropped:

take - taking

dance - dancing - danced

move - moving - moved

When the verb ends in -ie, -ie it is replaced by -y when we add –ing ending:

die - dying

lie - lying

But, -ie is not replaced by -y when we add -ed ending:

die - died

lie - lied

The suffix –ly

-ly suffix is used to form adverbs from adjectives:

beautiful - beautifully

quiet - quietly

close - closely

sharp – sharply

calm - calmly

intelligent - intelligently

senseless - senselessly

If the adjective ends in double -ll, only -y added the word:

chill - chilly

full – fully

dull – dully

If the adjective ends in a consonant + -le, the final -e is dropped and -y is added:

adorable – adorably

evocable - evocably

possible - possibly

If the adjective ends in -y (exception is one-syllable adjectives), -y is replaced by -i + -ly:

chubby – chubbily

foxy – foxily

funny - funnily

happy - happily

There are only two one-syllable words-exceptions:

gay - gaily

day – daily

Ending -s

Ending -s is used in two cases:

  • to form the plural nouns (book – books, cat – cats, flower – flowers, door – doors, etc.);
  • to form the third person singular of the verb in the Present Simple (I work - he works, I want – she wants, I cook – mother cooks).

When a word ends in -ch, -s, -sh, -x, then we add the ending -es:

beach – beaches

church - churches

glass - glasses

bush - bushes

fox – foxes

If a word ends in -f / -fe, then -f is replaced by -v and add -es:

leaf – leaves

wife - wives

life - lives

shelf - shelves

This is not a strict rule. There are a few examples of exceptions: cliffs, beliefs, gulfs, proofs chiefs, roofs.

If a word ends in a consonant + -y, -y is replaced by -i and + the ending -es:

baby - babies

academy – academies

accessory - accessories

sky - skies

Most words ending in –o usually have –es ending:

tomato - tomatoes

hero - heroes

volcano - volcanoes

potato - potatoes

However, in modern English words we put the ending -s:

video - videos

studio - studios

photo - photos

tango - tangos

piano - pianos

Suffixes -ible / -able

Many English adjectives have an ending -able or -ible. The suffix -ible is used to create words of Latin origin. The total amount of words is about 180 and new words with this suffix are not formed. Here are the most common examples:

Accessible, audible, credible, defensible, digestible, divisible, fallible, flexible, horrible, inaccessible, incredible, indelible, insensible, invisible, permissible, plausible, sensible, terrible, suggestible, visible, susceptible, tangible  ,defeasible, defensible, insensible, legible, reproducible, resistible, responsible, visible, etc.

Suffix -able is ​​used for:

- Some Latin words, such as: dependable

- Non-Latin words, such as: washable, affordable, renewable

- Modern words such as: windsurfable, networkable.

There is a rule that will help you to determine the correct spelling of the adjectives and suffixes. It works almost in all cases. Remember, if you are not sure, it is better to use a dictionary.

As you can see, spelling really matters. If you want to impress your professor in a writing and make sure that the idea is clear for the readers, it’s important to know spelling rules and write without mistakes. GetEssayEditor.com team will help you to improve your written text by editing and proofreading services.