Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut Spelling Koolaid Marc Garneau, Canadian astronaut

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Try our homemade rules and regulations with a mixture of homonyms and hints on the side.
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Many people find spelling to be very difficult. With so many words in the English language, it is difficult to remember the spelling of each. Here you'll find a how to study section, some important spelling rules that are often forgotten, as well as a list of common homonyms. Good luck!

Recommended Study Procedures :

  • S tudy the rules on this page.
  • P ronunciate any word you have difficulty with.
  • E yes! Close your eyes and try to spell the word in your mind.
  • L ist! Write down the words you have trouble spelling. Writing and seeing a word helps you remember it better.
  • L ove spelling! Spelling is your friend, not enemy. Some memorization is necessary, but don't worry... pace yourself.

"Most Often Forgotten Rules"

Warning: Since we are assuming that you have received some background in spelling, we have chosen to show the spelling rules that are most often forgotten. With so many words in the English language, there are some words that have to be memorized because they follow no set rules.

The "ie" and "ei" rules:

  • Remember this common rhyme: I before E, Except after C, Or when sounded like AY, As in neighbor or weigh

The "ceed" "sede" and "cede" rules: Guess what! This is an easy one.

  • There are only three verbs in the entire English language that end in "ceed". Those words are succeed, exceed, and proceed.
  • There is only one verb ending in "sede"... that is supersede. Otherwise, all other verbs end in "cede".

The "ful" rule:

Whenever full is attached to the end of a word you only use one "l". Example: careful. Exception: the word full itself.

Prefixes:

When adding a prefix to a word... DO NOT omit any letters. Remember to keep all the letters of the word and all the letters of the prefix. Example: mis + spell = misspell

Suffixes:

When adding a suffix to a word... DO NOT omit any letters. Remember to keep all the letters of the word and all the letters of the suffix. Example: ski + ing = skiing Exception: When the word ends in "silent e" or "y"

Exception 1: When ending in y :

  • If the letter before "y" is a consonant... change the "y" to "i" Example: hurry + ed = hurried Exceptions: Except before "A" and except in: shyly, shyness, dryly, dryness, babyish, and ladylike.
  • If the letter before "y" is a vowel... do not change the "y" Example: play + ing = playing Exceptions: paid, laid, said, (any of their compunds, of course) and daily

Exception 2: When ending in silent "e": If the suffix begins with a vowel... Drop the silent "E" Example: love + able = lovable Exceptions: When ending in "ce" or "ge"... keep the "e" if the suffix begins with "a" or "o" manage + able = manageable. Also, remember these.... acreage, mileage, singeing, canoeing, hoeing, and shoeing

  • If the suffix begins with a consonant... Keep the silent "E" Example: care + ful = careful Exceptions: argument, awful, duly, truly, ninth, wholly

    When ending in "ie": If the word ends in "ie", drop the "e" and change the "i" to "y" before adding "ing". Example: lie + ing = lying

    Homonyms are words that are pronounced alike but are different in meaning and spelling. Be very careful with homonyms! Here are some common ones:

    • already: previously ... all ready: everyone prepared
    • brake: device for stopping ... break: shatter
    • coarse: rough ... course: path
    • desert: dry region ... dessert: sweet, usually last course of a meal
    • dual: double ... duel: fight between two people
    • hear: listen ... here: now
    • miner: a person who mines ... minor: person not of legal age
    • principal: head of a school ... principle: general rule of conduct
    • shone: gave off light ... shown: revealed to
    • who's: who is ... whose: belonging to whom


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