English Spelling Rules

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The most basic spelling rule you need to know is the distinction between consonants and vowels. Vowels include a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y and w. Consonants are all the remaining letters that are not vowels. If you hear a one-syllable word with a soft vowel, the vowel is usually in the middle. On the other hand, if a word is comprised of the vowel-consonant-e structure, the final e is usually mute; in other words, the -e will not be pronounced even though it exists in spelling.

Some of the most simple English spelling rules involve a basic understanding of tenses. First, you should add the suffix -ed to all verbs in past tense. For example, “walk” becomes “walked” when you are describing the act which occurred in the past. For verbs used in present-continuous tense, add -ing. Here is an example: I am reading right now. Notice that “read” becomes “reading” under this circumstance.

Other English spelling rules have to do the plural form of nouns. For most nouns, you can simply add -s after the word. For example, you spell “cats” if there are more than one of them. However, nouns that end with -ch, -s, -es, -x, and -z require more attention. For these words, you will need to add -es to signify a plural form. Here are some examples: “watch” becomes “watches”; “tax” becomes “taxes”; “pass” becomes “passes.” This rule in fact applies not only to plural noun forms, but also to singular verbs used under present tense. Another special case is words that end with -y. For these words, you should replace the -y with -ies if you want to make them into a plural form. For example, there are more than one “babies,” not more than one “babys.”

There are other simple spelling rules that will allow you to spell correctly without knowing much about tenses and usage. First, if you want to add a suffix to words that end with -e, you will need to drop the -e. Here are some examples: the noun form of “guide” is spelled “guidance,” while the present-continuous tense of “hope” is “hoping.”

Another easy spelling rule is changing the final -y in a word into -i before you add a suffix to the word. For example, the noun form of “defy” is “defiance.” However, remember that there are certain exceptions to this rule, such as “journeying” and “memorize.”