Grammar Basics: Spelling Rules

We often encounter words that are difficult to spell and remember. In this article, you will learn the simplified rules to help you avoid any spelling mistakes and learn new words with greater efficiency.
Let’s learn the rules of spelling based on the final consonant.
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Final Consonant
  1. One-syllable words ending in a single vowel + single consonant double the consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel.
    E.g. beg + ed = begged, sad + est = saddest (single consonant)
    wish + ed = wished (two consonants), fear + ing = fearing (two vowels)
  2. Words of two/three syllables ending in a single vowel + single consonant double the final consonant if the last syllable is stressed.
    E.g. begin + ing = beginning, control + er = controller (Here, last syllable is stressed.)
    benefit + ed = benefited, suffer + ing = suffering (Here, last syllable is not stressed.)
    Exceptions to this rule are words like: handicap (handicapped), worship (worshipped), kidnap (kidnapper), etc. In these words, the final consonant is doubled even though the last syllable is not stressed.
  3. The consonant ‘L’ is doubled even if the last syllable is not stressed.
    E.g. travel + er = traveller, signal + ing = signalling (British English)
    Exception: parallel + ed = paralleled
  4. If the word to which the suffix ‘ful’ is added ends in ‘LL’, the second ‘L’ is dropped.
    E.g. skill + ful = skilful, will + ful = willful
  1. Words ending in silent ‘e’ drop the ‘e’ before a suffix beginning with a vowel.
    E.g. live + ing = living, drive + er = driver, move + ed = moved (suffix beginning with vowel)
    hope + ful = hopeful, engage + ment = engagement (suffix beginning with consonant)
    Exceptions: awe + ful = aweful, argue + ment = argument, due + ly = duly, nine + th = ninth, true + ly = truly, whole + ly = wholly
  2. Words ending in ‘ce’ and ‘ge’ keep the ‘e’ when adding ‘able’ and ‘ous’.
    E.g. notice + able = noticeable, change + able = changeable, courage + ous = courageous
  3. Words ending in ‘ee’ do not drop an ‘e’ before a suffix.
    E.g. see + ing = seeing, agree + ment = agreement
  4. Words ending in ‘ie’ change the ‘ie’ to ‘y’ when ‘ing’ is added.
    E.g. die => dying, lie => lying
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  6. A final ‘y’ following a consonant changes to ‘i’ before a suffix except ‘ing’.
    E.g. happy + ly = happily, carry + ed = carried, beauty + ful = beautiful, marry + age = marriage
    Exceptions: carry + ing = carrying, marry + ing = marrying
  7. When ‘ie’ or ‘ei’ is pronounced like ‘ee’, ‘i’ comes before ‘e’ except after ‘c’.
    E.g. believe, receive, relieve, deceit, field, conceit, achieve, etc.
    Exceptions: seize, protein, counterfeit, surfeit.
The above given rules are fundamental to the English language.
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