There are exceptions to every rule, but hopefully these rules will help you spell most words.
- Every word has at least one vowel.
- Every syllable has one vowel.
- C can say /k/ or /s/. C says /s/ before an e, i, or y (cent, city, cycle). It says /k/ before everything else (cat, cup, cot).
- G can say /g/ or /j/. G may say /j/ before an e, i, or y (gem, giant, gym). It says /g/ before everything else (garden, guts, got).
- The /j/ sound can be spelled three ways: j, ge and dge.
- The j is usually used if it is followed by an a, o or u. (jar, jog, jump).
- If /j/ follows a short vowel sound, it is usually spelled with dge (edge).
- Q is always followed by a u (queen).
- Double the consonants f, l, and s at the end of a one-syllable word that has just one vowel (stiff, spell, pass).
- The sound of /k/ can be spelled c, cc, k or ck. The most common is c. To protect the sound of a short vowel, the cc is used (occupy, raccoon, hiccup).
- The letter k is used to make the /k/ sound if it is followed by an e, i or y (poker, kin, risky).
- The letters ck are used to make the /k/ sound if the following letter is an e, i or y (frolicked, rocking, lucky).
- To spell the sound of /k/ at the end of a short word, we use ck or k. Use ck after a short vowel (sick). After everything else, use a k (milk).
- Capitalize names.
- A, e, o and u usually say their name at the end of a syllable.
- Words do not end in v or j. We add a silent e to the end of the word (have).
- The letters j, v, k, w and x are rarely doubled.
- Contractions replace letter(s) with an apostrophe to shorten a phrase (I've replaces I have).
- I and o may say /î/ and /ô/ before two consonants (kind, sold).
- Capitalize the names of places (Indiana).
- The sound /ch/ has two spellings: usually tch after a short vowel, ch anywhere else (witch, churn).
- The sound /sh/ is spelled with ti, si or ci if it comes before a vowel suffix (partial, expulsion, special).
- Words rarely end in v. Normally, an e is placed after the v.
- Words that end in y normally must have the y changed to an i before adding any suffixes (body - bodily, puppy - puppies, marry - marriage, beauty - beautiful).
- In words that end with a silent e, you usually must drop it before adding a suffix (age - aging, nose - nosy, convince - convincing).
- Words that end in an accented short or modified vowel sound must have the final consonant doubled to protect that sound when you add a vowel suffix (refer - referred, occur - occurred). The doubling does not occur if the accent is not on the last syllable or ends in schwa (open - opening, focus - focused).
- Normally you drop a silent e before adding a vowel suffix. However, if the word ends in -ce or -ge and the incoming vowel is an a, o, or u, this rule may not apply (manage - manageable, notice - noticeable).
- The suffix -ist is usually used when referring to a person (dentist, artist). The suffix -est is usually used on superlative adjective (fastest, sweetest).
- The suffix -cian always means a person (musician). The suffixes -tion or -sion are rarely used for people (lotion, tension).
- Use -tion if the root word ends in /t/ (complete - completion). If the root word ends in /s/ or /d/, use -sion (extend - extension), or if the last syllable is /zhun/ instead of /shun/ used -sion (vision, confusion).
- The letter s usually makes the /z/ sound if it is between vowels (rose, reserve).
- To make a plural nouns, add an -es rather than just an -s to the end of a word unless you can hear a new syllable on the plural word (loss - losses, judge - judges, box, boxes).
- I before e except after c. This rule has so many exceptions! If the "ie" makes the long "a" sound, the rule doesn't apply (weigh or neighbor). When the c sounds more like a sh, the rule doesn't apply (ancient, omniscient). Here is a sentence that includes a bunch of exceptions to the i before e rule: I seized some leisure time in which to study weird science with my neighbor, and I discovered an ancient cup of caffeine.
- There are only 3 words in the English language that end in "ceed": succeed, proceed and exceed.
- Embarrassment – Five of the letters (a, e, m, r, s) appear twice.
Funny grammatical rules (thanks to darkwing.uoregon.edu for these)
1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Don't use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations.Tell me what you know."
28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
34. Proofread carefullp:// see if you any words out, or made any spilling