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SPELLING RULES by Gill C Cotterell

Spelling rules need to be taught to a class or child when the need arises. Many bad spellers have logical minds and can master rules. As these govern hundreds of words, the learning load is considerably reduced.

For those to whom they cause confusion, keep them very simple. After teaching a rule, refer to it frequently when an opportunity arises, and watch for its spontaneous application.


  • q is always qu, It never stands by itself.

  • No English word ends in v except spiv.

  • No English word ends in j.

  • We double l, f, s after a single vowel at the end of a short word. e.g. call, tell, toss, miss, stiff, stuff.
    Exceptions: us, bus, gas, if, of, this, yes, plus, nil, pal.

  • The i or ee sound at the end of a word is nearly always y. No English word ends in i.
    Exceptions: {macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli} (Italian), taxi (short for taxicab), coffee, committee.

  • Regular plurals are made by adding s. e.g. dogs, horses, monkeys, cliffs.

  • To form plurals of words with a hissing ending, add es. i.e. after s, x, z, sh, ch, ss
    e.g. buses, foxes, buzzes, wishes, churches, misses

  • All followed by another syllable only has one l.
    e.g. also, already, always, although.

  • Drop the final e from a root word before adding an ending beginning with a vowel, but keep it before a consonant
    e.g. {love, loving, lovely}, {drive, driving, driver}, {rattle, rattled, rattling}

  • Words ending in both a single vowel and a single consonant always double the last consonant before adding an ending beginning with a vowel.
    e.g. {stop, stopped, stopping}, {flat, flatter, flattest}, {swim, swimmer, swimming}

  • Nouns ending in a single f change f to v before adding es to form the plural.
    e.g. {leaf, leaves}, {wolf, wolves}.
    Exceptions: dwarfs, roofs, chiefs

  • If a word ends in a consonant plus y, change the y to i before adding any ending except ing.
    e.g. {party, parties}, {heavy, heaviness}, {marry, married}, {funny, funnily}
    but: {cry, crying}, {hurry, hurrying}





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