The following is Chapter 15 from my book, Teaching English, How To…. (Xlibris, 2004).
Question: In the age of computers, is spelling still a worthwhile subject in the English curriculum?
Answer: A complete spelling program aims at building confidence in spelling and includes teaching students how to spell words predictably misspelled, how to solve specific spelling problems, how to visualize correct spelling and how to proofread for spelling.
Rules That Work Most of the Time
i before e, except after c, or when rhyming with a as in neighbor and weigh.
ie: believe, chief, mischief, niece, siege, sieve
cei: ceiling, conceive, receipt, receive
a as in neighbor or weigh: reign, foreign, freight, heir.
Plurals of nouns ending in o preceded by a consonant (potato):
Mosquito/mosquitoes; tomato/tomatoes; potato/potatoes
But: Music—altos, pianos, sopranos, etc.
Doubling the final consonant preceded by a vowel with words of two or more syllables: prefer’; dif’fer
Accented second syllable: prefer’/preferred; occur’/occurred; omit’/omitted; remit’/remitted; repel’/repellent; begin’/beginning; equip’/equipped; refer’/referred
Accented first syllable: pref’erence; dif’fered.
Doubling the final consonant with words of one syllable, ending in a consonant and preceded by a vowel: chop, drop, set.
Chop/chopped; drop/dropped; set/setting.
Accidental/accidentally; especial/especially; desperate/desperately; political/ politically; separate/separately; usual/usually.
But: true/truly; whole/wholly.
Desire/desirable; write/writing; hope/hoping; practice/practicing
But: Noticeable; changeable (to preserve the sounds of “notice” and “change”)
Dissatisfied, foreclosure, forehead, foreword (Don’t confuse with “forward,” the direction); irresistible; misspell; misstate; unnecessary
Next Blog: Other spelling problems.