About Spelling Rules

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Basic spelling rules include putting "I" before "E" except after "C," doubling the final consonant in words where the last syllable is stressed and proceeded by a single vowel, and dropping the final "E" when adding a suffix to a word. Improve spelling skills by learning spelling rules, but remember that many rules have exceptions, with information from a writing instructor and former classroom teacher in this free video on spelling.

Part of the Video Series: Reading, Writing & Education
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Laura, from youngwritersworkshops.com, and I'm going to talk about spelling rules. Depending on how you break things down, there are about six basic spelling rules that help you, spelling words in the English language. Interestingly, a lot of these rules have a lot of exceptions, and that just confirms what we know about English, which is that it's a very irregular language, and can be difficult for people to learn, if it's their second language, so the first spelling rule, is to put an "I before E, except after C." Now, that rule does have exceptions, as you know.For example, receive, and it also has an exception if the ei sounds like a, as in neighbor or weigh, so there are a series of exceptions to that rule. The second rule is about doubling consonants. If the word has one syllable, and it's stressed on the last syllable, and then it's proceeded by a single vowel, then the suffix begins with the vowel, so when you're adding a suffix, then you'll double that final consonant. For example, controllable. You'll double the L, because the suffix, able, begins with a vowel, but at the same time, there are again, exceptions to that rule. Now, about how to handle a final E, when adding a suffix. You may generally drop it, when the suffix begins with a vowel. For example, you drop the E on amusing, so that is a rule that's generally followed. There's another rule about how to add a suffix or a verb, and ending with a Y, so if you are adding a suffix to the word happy, generally you change it to, in happy, you change the Y to an I , and add ness, to make happiness. If the word has a vowel before the Y however, then you'll keep it, you'll keep the Y, and not change it to an I. Making words plural has some rules, then again, there are some exceptions, but generally, words that end in double S, Sh, X, add an es to make them plural, whereas if it has a consonant before the final Y, you change the Y to an I, and you add es, and then most nouns that end in F or fe, you'll change the F to a ve, and add an S. There are some exceptions to this rule, and the final rule, is about the spelling changes when you add a suffix, or a prefix. Generally, you don't change the spelling of the word, even if it's a double letter. For example, adding mis, the prefix mis, to step, you keep the spelling of step, and add mis before it, to make misstep, so those are some basic spelling rules.

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