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SPELLING RULES

SPELLING PLURAL NOUNS

  1. Most words add s to the root forms without any change (barn - barns).

  2. Words ending in sh, ch, ss, x, and z, usually add es to form the PLURAL (bush - bushes).

  3. Words ending in a consonant and y change the y to i and add es (party - parties).

  4. Some words ending in f change the f to v and add es (calf - calves).

  5. Some singular words have different words for their plural form (man - men; mouse - mice; goose-geese).

SUFFIXES

  1. A letter or a syllable placed after a word to form a new word is called a suffix. Some suffixes are s, es, ed, ing, er, est, ly, ful, able, ible, ment, ive, ance, ence, ion, tion, ition, ation, sion, ous, ious, less, and al. Sometimes a word will have two suffixes. For example, respectfully has the two suffixes ful and ly added to the root word respect.

  2. Many words are formed by adding ed and ing without any change (furnish - furnished - furnishing).

  3. Words ending in a silent e drop the e before adding ed and ing (move - moved - moving).

  4. Words ending in a consonant and y change the y to i before adding ed, but do not make any change before adding ing (deny - denied - denying).

  5. Words ending in a vowel and y add ed and ing without making any other change (delay - delayed - delaying).

PREFIXES

  1. A syllable placed before a word to change its meaning is called a prefix. Some prefixes are im, un, in, co, dis, inter.

DOUBLING THE FINAL CONSONANT

  1. Words of one syllable ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel double the final consonant before adding ed and ing (trim - trimmed - trimming).

  2. Words of two or more syllables double the final consonant before adding ed and ing when these conditions are met: the last syllable ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, and the accent is on the last syllable (refer - referred - referring).

POSSESSIVE FORMS

  1. Singular nouns form the possessive by adding an apostrophe and s (pilot - pilot's).

  2. Plural nouns that end in s add only an apostrophe to form the possessive (aviators - aviators').

  3. Plural nouns that do not end in s add the apostrophe and s to form the possessive (men - men's).

CONTRACTIONS

  1. A word or phrase that has been shortened by leaving out some of the letters is called a contraction.

  2. An apostrophe is used to show that the letters have been omitted (won't - will not), (o'clock - of the clock).

CAPITALS

  1. The beginning of a sentence is always capitalized (The day was bright and sunny.).

  2. The names of holidays are capitalized (Christmas, Valentine's Day).

  3. The names of the months of the year and the days of the week are capitalized (January, Monday).

  4. The names of countries are capitalized (United States, Great Britain).

  5. When you write the name of a particular avenue or street, capitalize the words avenue and street (Fifth Avenue, Oak Street).

  6. The abbreviations Mr., Mrs. and Ms. are always capitalized and followed by a period (Mr. Callahan, Mrs. Perry, Ms. Smith).

  7. The names of deities are capitalized (God, Allah, Buddha, Saviour).

  8. The word republican is capitalized when it refers to the Republican party (The Republicans won the election.).

  9. When words like senator and general are used as titles with a person's name, they are capitalized (General Herkes distinguished herself in battle.).

  10. We capitalize the words capitol, senate, building, supreme and court when referring to the Capitol Building, the Senate, the Supreme Court of Canada.

LETTERS AND SYLLABLES

  1. The vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y and w. The other letters are consonants.

  2. Two vowels written together often have the sound of a single vowel. (In brain the ai has the sound of a. In eagle the ea has the sound of a long e, but in bread it has the sound of short e. This rule will help you with the ei and ie words: i comes before e except after c or when sounded like a, as in neighbor and weigh.

  3. A syllable is a word or part of a word which has one vowel sound and is spoken as a unit. (boy is a one-syllable word; chil dren is a two-syllable word; or na ment is a three syllable word. In every word of two or more syllables one syllable is given more emphasis than the other. This extra emphasis is called accent, and is shown in the dictionary by an accent mark ( ' )

  4. (In meet' ing the first syllable is accented.) Most words have only one accented syllable, but some have more than one (in' for ma' tion). The accent that is the heavier is called the primary accent. The other accent is called the secondary accent.

  5. In your dictionary each word is re-spelled according to its pronunciation. The vowels are marked according to their sounds, and the accented syllables are shown. The marks for the vowel sounds are called diacritical marks. These marks vary from dictionary to dictionary. Please consult the beginning of your own dictionary for the explanation of diacritical marks used in that particular publication.

  6. The two words at the top of each dictionary page are called guide words. The guide words are the first and last words on that particular page.

SPECIAL WORDS

  1. Compound Words are made by writing two small words together to make one larger word. (newspaper, somebody)

  2. A root word is the root, or beginning word, from which another word is made. Play is the root word of plays, played and playing.

  3. Derived words are words that come from other words. Suitable is derived from suit; advertisement from advertise. Sometimes the spelling of the root word is slightly changed in the derived word.

  4. A synonym is a word having almost the same meaning as another word. (replied - answered; accurate - exact)

  5. An antonym is a word that is opposite in meaning to another word. (private -public; good - bad)

  6. Homonyms are words that are pronounced alike but which are spelled in different ways and have different meanings (knew - new; steel - steal; deer - dear)