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Improving Spelling

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Spelling words incorrectly creates a very bad impression. Sometimes it may convey a wrong meaning also. The best way to improve your spellings is proper pronunciation and constant practice. Try to pronounce them properly and study them carefully to know how they look like. Given below are some important hints and rules; try to understand them and learn them by heart. They will definitely improve your spellings:

1. Carefully study the words that you often spell incorrectly. Underline the trouble spots or write the parts either in capitals, in italics or in bold letters. Some such words are:

Forty – Ninety– Beggar– separate Twelfth– Kilometre– Awkward– Benefit

2.Sometimes finding other words within a word can be helpful.

Often- this is one word that is often spelt incorrectly. Remember ten, and you will remember the correct spellings of often.

Height is another troublesome word. Remember eight and you will spell height correctly.

Some other examples are:

friend–end pleasant–ant
accord–cord calendar–-lend
observe–serve Mathematics–-ma+the+ma+tics

Now let us learn a few important rules for spelling words correctly:

•If a suffix beginning with a vowel is added to a One-syllable word ending in single vowel + single consonant, the consonant is doubled:

beg +ing = begging– swim +ing =swimming
rob + ed = robbed– sad + est = saddest


wish + ed = wished
fear + ed = feared

•Words of two or three syllables ending in single vowel + single consonant double the last consonant if the last syllable is stressed:

Begin + er = beginner– control + ed = controlled
Occur + ed = occurred– permit + ed = permitted

•But if the last syllable is not stressed then the consonant is not doubled:

Cover + ing = covering benefit + ed = benefited

There are some exceptions to the above rule:

handicap + ed = handicapped kidnap + ing = kidnapping

•The final consonant is not doubled when the suffix begins with a consonan:
glad + ly = gladly– open + ly = openly

•The final consonant is not doubled if the stress does not fall on the last syllable:
happen + ed = happened (accent falls on hap)
differ + ence = difference (accent falls on dif))
offer + ing =offering (accent falls on of)


However,in British English the consonant is doubled even if the stress
does not fall on the last syllable

Travel+er = traveller– signal+ing = signaling

•While applying prefixes neither a letter is dropped nor added :

im + moral =immoral– dis + satistfy = dissatisfy
un + able = unable– mis + spell = misspell

•When the combination ‘ei' or ‘ie' is pronounced as ‘ee', ‘i' is put before ‘e' except in the case of ‘c':

deceive– receive deceit– ceiling (‘c' before ‘ei')
believe– relieve– niece– thief
priest– shield– field– grief

Exception: protein– seize– weird

•‘q' is always followed by ‘u':

quick– queen– quiet– quilt

Adding suffixes:

•If there is a vowel before the letter ‘y', the suffix is added without any change:
boy + ish= boyish– joy+ous=joyous
buy + ing = buying– enjoy+able=enjoyable

Exceptions: gay– gaily, Day– daily, pay–paid

•If there is a consonant before ‘y', it is changed to ‘i' except for the suffix ‘ing':

fry + ed = fried– merry+ly=merrily
lazy + ness=laziness– marry+age=marriage
cry + ed = cried– city + es = cities
dry + ed = dried– Try + al = trial

But: cry + ing = crying– try + ing = trying

•If a word ends in ‘ie', the same is changed to ‘y' when adding- ing:

die+ing=dying– lie+ing=lying– tie+ing=tying
•The final consonant is not doubled if there are two vowels before the final consonant:

sweet +er =sweeter– beat +en= beaten
cheap + est = cheapest– weak + er =weaker

•The final consonant is not doubled if there are two consonants in the end:

hoist + ed = hoisted– plant +ing = planting


wool +en = woolen

•When a word ends in silent ‘e':

There are quite a few words like give, move, write, hope etc. that end in silent ‘e', The following rules are applied while adding suffixes to such words:

•If there is a consonant before the final ‘e',and a suffix, beginning with a vowel is added to it, the final ‘e' is dropped:

lose +ing =losing– hope +ed = hoped
give +ing = giving– write + ing =writing

•If there are two vowels ‘e' being the final one, the ‘e'is usually dropped:

continue + ed = continued– argue +ment = argument


Agree +ing = agreeing– dye + ing = dyeing
See + ing = seeing– hoe + ing = hoeing etc.

•If a suffix, beginning with a consonant , is added to such words, the final ‘e' is not removed:

use + less = useless– nine + ty = ninety
hope + ful = hopeful– sincere + ly = sincerely


true + ly = truly– whole + ly = wholly
gentle + ly = gently– awe + ful = Awful

•If there is a ‘c' or ‘g' before the final ‘e' and a suffix, beginning with ‘a' or ‘o' is added to it, the final ‘e' is not dropped:

notice +able = noticeable– courage +ous = courageous

•When a suffix is added to Words ending in ‘el' the ‘l' is generally doubled :

jewel + ery = jewellery– quarrel + some = quarrellsome
travel + er = Traveller– travel +ed = traveled

•When ‘full' is added to another word, one ‘l' is dropped, but if ‘fully' is added, no ‘l' is dropped.

faith +full = faithful– purpose + ful = purposeful
beauty + full = beautiful– cheer + full = cheerful
faith + fully = faithfully– thought +fully = thoughtfully

Compound Words:

• The following words are written as one word:

afterwards– almost– already– anyhow– anyone
anything– around– cannot– everybody– into
instead of– upside– however– within– football
everywhere– headmaster–policeman– nothing– thereby
meanwhile– moreover– nonsense–nobody– wherever
nowadays– newspaper– postman– outside– somehow
otherwise– tomorrow– whenever–downward– today


'Nowadays' is also written as 'Now-a-days'

•The following words are written separately:

all right– all round– at least– at once
every one– look out– young man– of course
do not– in spite of– no one– per cent

Sample Usage

As given above against each.

Next Resource: Words Often Confused (H, I &J-Series)
Previous Resource: The Homophones—Part— II

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