SPELLING RULES

 



1.  For a single syllable word, ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel – double the consonant:

swim; swimmer; swimming  

rob, robber, robbed, robbing

2.  For a single syllable word, ending in a single consonant preceded by two vowels – do NOT double the consonant:

meet, meeting

pair, paired, pairing

3.  For a multiple syllable word, ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, if stress is on last syllable, double the consonant: 

prefer, preferred, preferring

4.  For most words, add -s to the singular form to make it plural: 

cat, cats; bell, bells; rose, roses

5.  If a word ends in vowel + o, usually add -s to form the plural:

 monkey, monkeys (BUT money, moneys, OR monies). If a word ends in a consonant + o, sometimes add -s:

piano, pianos

OR sometimes add -es:

potato, potatoes

OR sometimes add either:

zero, zeros, zeroes

6.  If a word ends in f or fe, sometimes add -s to make it plural:

roof, roofs

OR sometimes change f or fe to -ves:

 half, halves; wife, wives

 

OR sometimes add either:

scarf, scarfs, scarves

7.  Add -es to the singular form when it ends in s, ss, ch, sh, x, z, or zz: 

bus, buses

kiss, kisses

church, churches

bush, bushes

ax, axes

waltz, waltzes

fizz, fizzes

8.  Drop the final -e if a suffix* begins with a vowel:

desire, desiring, desirable

9.  Keep the final -e if a suffix begins with a consonant:

care + full = careful

complete + ly = completely

excite + ment = excitement

10.  For a word that ends in a consonant + y, change the -y to -i for most suffixes:

pony, ponies

deny, denies

denied

11.  If a word ends in -ay, -ey, -oy,  form the plural by simply adding -s:

ray, rays

valley, valleys

toy, toys

12.  Sometimes you change -ie to -y before -ing:

die, died, dying

lie, lied, lying

13.  The sound of “shun” has several different spellings: 

solution, occasion, mission, musician, Dalmatian, crucifixion

14.  The following prefixes** give negative meaning to the original word:

unhappy

invisible

illegal

impolite

irregular

*A suffix is a word ending. It changes the part of speech of the word, but does not change the meaning of the original (“root”) word entirely: see, seeing;

act, actor

beauty, beautiful

equip, equipment

** A prefix is a word beginning. It changes the meaning of the original (“root”) word:

review

preview

foresee

coworker

Singular, Plural of some words

 

alumna, alumnae

alumnus, alumni

analysis, analyses

auditorium, auditoriums

bacterium, bacteria

box, boxes

child, children

crisis, crises

crisis, crises

deer, deer/deers

fish, fish/fishes

foot, feet

fungo, fungoes

goose, geese

house, houses

man, men   

milk, –

mother-in-law, mothers-in-law

mouse, mice     

ox, oxen

–, pants

–, people

physics, –   

–, scissors                   

sheep, –

sock, socks/sox

tooth, teeth

woman, women



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