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Top Spelling Rules:

Here are the first spelling rules that students should know.

  1. Every word has at least one vowel.
  2. Every syllable has one vowel.
  3. C can say /k/ or /s/. C says /s/ before an e, i, or y (centcitycycle). It says /k/ before everything else (catclip).
  4. G can say /g/ or /j/. G may say /j/ before an e, I, or y (gemgiantgym). It says /g/ before everything else (gardenglad).
  5. Q is always followed by a u (queen).
  6. Double the consonants f, l, and s at the end of a one-syllable word that has just one vowel (stiffspellpass).
  7. To spell the sound of /k/ at the end of a word, we use CK or k. Use CK after a short vowel (sick). After everything else, use a k (milk).
  8. Capitalize names.

After your student has mastered the above spelling rules and applies them consistently, go on to this next set of rules.

  1. A, e, o, and u usually say their name at the end of a syllable (a-pronmegou-nit).
  2. Words do not end in v or j. We add a silent e at the end of the word (have).
  3. Contractions replace letter(s) with an apostrophe to shorten a phrase (I’ve represents I have).
  4. I and o may say /ī/ and /ō/ before two consonants (kindsold). /j/ is spelled dge after a short vowel (edge).
  5. Capitalize the names of places (Florida).

Did you know that All About Spelling teaches these spelling rules? For even more detailed information on spelling rules, check out our blog posts below.

1. If the word has a vowel before “y” just add ‘s’

Keykeys
Delaydelays
trolleytrolleys

If the noun has a consonant before  ‘y’: cut the ‘y’ and add ‘ies’

BabyBabies
Companycopmanies
difficultydifficulties
ladyladies
opportunityopportunities

The last “y” is dropped and “ies” is added when the verb used in third person singular ( he, she, it)

Copycopies
applyapplies
crycries
accompanyaccompanies
drydries
flyflies
fryfries
hurryhurries
identifyidentifies
implyimplies
justifyJustifies
marrymarries
carrycarries
studystudies
Worryworries
fliesflies
friesfry
hurrieshurry
identifiesidentify
impliesimply
Justifies  justify

when “Y” is presided by vowel, just “ s” is added  as usual.

playPlays
prayPrays
EnjoyEnjoys
Employemploys
obeyobeys

2. The words ending with -s, -ss, -z -ch -sh –x, ….. we add only “es” after them.

Dishdishes
Busbuses
Watchwatches
boxboxes

The Verbs used for third person singulars (he, she, it)

Kisskisses
Missmisses
Washwashes
CatchCathes
matchMatches
xeroxxeroxes
guessguesses
establishestablishes
harassharasses
pushpushes
relaxrelaxes

3. When a word has one syllable + 1 vowel next to 1 consonant ( except “y” and  “w”)  the final consonant is doubled with a vowel suffix:

Verbs while using “ing” forms

PutPutting
CutCutting
FitFitting
begnBeginning
betBetting
digDigging
hithitting
runrunning
setsetting
shedshedding
shutshutting
sitsitting
spitspitting
winwinnning
swimswimming
taptapping
spinspinning
referreffering
shopshopping
occuroccurring



4)  If there is a single vowel before the last consonant, the consonant is doubled in comparative and superlatives degrees.

bigbiggerbiggest
toptoppertoppest
fatfatterfattest
hothotterhottest

5. We usually drop the final silent “e” when we add vowel suffix endings, for example:

decidedeciding  
closeclosing  
Sence+ iblesensible  
Opposite+ionopposition  
Imagine+ationimagination  

6. If a word ends in a consonant + Y, the Y changes to i (unless adding endings with “i” -ing -ish, which already begins with an ”I”)

BeautyBeauti+ful= beatiful,     beautify,     beatification  
HappyHappiness,    happily,    happier,   happiest  
AngryAngrier ,   angriest,   angrily  
PrettyPrettier,   prettiest  but prettyish  
AreadyReadiness, readily  
ApplyApplies, Applied but applying  
DefyDefies,  defied , but defying  

7. Most words ending in “-f” or “-fe” change their plurals to “-ves”

Calf –    Calves  
LifeLives  
HalfHalves  
Leafleaves  
Wifewives  
Selfselves  
ThiefThieves  
Shelfshelves  
Selfselves  

A few words can have both endings -ves or -s:

Handkerchiefhandkerchiefs/handkerchieves  
Wharfwharfs/wharves  
Dwarfdwarfs/dwarves  
Scarfscarfs/scarves  

Words ending in –ff, just add -s to make the plural.

Cliffcliffs    
Tofftoffs  
Scuffscuffs  


The word having two vowels jointly before last “f”, just “s” is added in plural.

Chiefchiefs    
Spoofspoofs  
Roofroofs  
Oafoafs  


EXCEPTIONS: thief – thieves, leaf – leaves

8. The suffix –FUL is always used with one L, for example:

Grate+fulgrateful    
Faith+fulfaithful  
Hope+fulhopeful  
Use+fuluseful  
Care+fulcareful  
Beauty+ fulBeautiful   (“I” is used in place of “y”)  

9.   We add -ly to words ending in -ful then we have double letters.

Hopeful+lyhopefully  
Colourful+lycolurfully  
Peaceful+ly  peacefully
Faithful+ly  faithfully
Truthful+ly  truthfully
Cheerful+ly  cheerfully
Youthful+ly  youthfully
Forceful+ly  forcefully.
Joyful+ly  joyfully.
Fanciful+ly                                      fancifully.
Hopeful+lyhopefully  

10. When we add “all” to the beginning of words we drop the “l” while adding to another word.

All+ readyalready  
All+ soalso  
All+ mostalmost  
All+ thoughalthough  
All+ mightyalmighty  
All+ rightalright  

11. Commonly Misspelled Words:

Here are some English words that are often misspelt.

WordComment
  Tomorrow    one “m” and two “r’s  
Accommodate  two “c’s and two “m” s  
Truly  true has the letter “e”, but truly does not have.
Separate  often misspelt as separate: remember: the “r” separates
Definitely       Misspell  two “a” s there is no “a” in definitely; remember: the root is “finite”   two “s”s and two “l”s; mis + spell misspell
Necessary  one “c” and two s’s
Pronunciationthe middle syllable in pronunciation is “nun”, not noun
Maintenance  main + ten + ance  
Occasiontwo “c”s and one “s”  
Mementothe first is “mem”part

Here are few more English words commonly misspelt. Coorect the spellings given below.

  1. Acheive ———————–
  2. Committitment ——————-
  3. Commisioner ——————–
  4. Dependence ———————
  5. Embarrass  ———————
  6. Grammer ———————–
  7. Milenium ————————-
  8. Wendnesday   ——————–
  9. Hypocracy  ———————–

12. If  a word ends  with a consonant + y, we normally change –“y “into “ I” :

reply + ed                 replied
busy +nessbusiness
day + ly                      daily
easy + ly                   easily
fury + ous                furious
happy + ly             happily
hurry + s                 hurries
purify +cation  purification
spy + s                         spies
amplify + er             amplifier

13) Spelling: ie or ei?

When  the the word sounds as /i:/, we spell it ie; but after the letter c, we spell it ei:  If it sounds as “ay”, the word spells  “ei”.

I  before  Eei after c when sounding like “ay”
achieveceilingneighbour
believeconceitvein
dieseldeceiveweight
niecereceiptbeige
relieveperceivesleight
patientreceivesurveillance
glacierheircounterfeit
financierFeinttheir
pierSeizureleisure
mischievoussheikProtein

Note: Here are a few exceptions which are memorized their spelling.

Seize,  being,    weird,   science,   either,    society 

14) Forming antonyms by adding “un” to the existing word.

WordAntonym by adding  “ un”
Acceptableunacceptable
Approachableunapproachable
Awareunaware
Comfortableuncomfortable
Commonuncommon
Doundo
Easyuneasy
Employedunemployed
Enviableunenviable
Evenuneven
Fortunateunfortunate
Happyunhappy
Loadunload
Luckyunlucky
Manageableunmanageable
Naturalunnatural
Necessaryunnecessary
Popularunpopular
Principledunprincipled
Professionalunprofessional
Questionableunquestionable
Realunreal
Recognisedunrecognised
Settledunsettled
Skilledunskilled
Tidyuntidy
Touchableuntouchable
Trueuntrue
Usualunusual
Veilunveil
Viocedunvioced
Warrantedunwarranted
Welcomeunwelcome
Willingunwilling
Windunwind
Worldlyunworldly
Worthyunworthy
Writtenunwritten
AttendedUnattended
AuthorizedUnauthorized
AvailableUnavailable
AvoidableUnavoidable
ConsciousUnconscious
ForeseenUnforeseen
ForgivableUnforgivable
NecessaryUnnecessary

Forming antonyms by adding “dis”, “Ir” “im”, “in”  to the existing word..

WordAntonym by adding  “ dis”
Abledisable
Advantagedisadvantage
Agrredisagrre
Appeardisappear
Appointdisappoint
Approvedisapprove
Banddisband
Beliefdisbelief
Closedisclose
Comfortdiscomfort
Countdiscount
Figuredisfigure
Gracedisgrace
Honourdishonour
Inheritdisinherit
Likedislike
Missaldismissal
Obeydisobey
Obligedisoblige
Orderdisorder
Placementdisplacement
Pleasedisplease
Qualitydisquality
Regarddisregard
Respectdisrespect
Satisfydissatisfy
Similardissimilar
Tastefuldistasteful
Usedisuse
AdvantageDisadvantage
ContinueDiscontinue
OrderDisorder
QualifiedDisqualified
SatisfiedDissatisfied
LegalIllegal
LegibleIllegible
BalanceImbalance
MatureImmature
MeasurableImmeasurable
MobileImmobile
MoralImmoral
MovableImmovable
PatientImpatient
PoliteImpolite
ProbableImprobable
AccurateInaccurate
CompleteIncomplete
ConvenientInconvenient
CredibleIncredible
EffectiveIneffective
EfficientInefficient
FormalInformal
VisibleInvisible
RationalIrrational
RecoverableIrrecoverable
RegularIrregular
RelevantIrrelevant
ReparableIrreparable
ReplaceableIrreplaceable

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