SPELLING – Full Page Slides

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SPELLING – Slide with Notes


Spelling is important in written communication, so you should be familiar with the conventions of standard English spelling. There are several common rules that you may already be familiar with, and there are some common mistakes that you can learn to avoid. First, let’s look at the most common rules of English spelling.


Rules about vowel sounds include the famous I before E except after C or when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh. Unfortunately, the rule has many exceptions!

I before E Rule: I before E: achieve, relief, grief, belief


  • Except after C: deceive, perceive, conceive
  • Sounding like A: neighbor, weight, their, reign
  • Other exceptions: weird, neither

Short Vowel Rule: Only one letter is needed to spell a short vowel sound: red, hot, bad, sit, shut

Oi or Oy Rule: Use oi in the middle of a word (boil, soil) and use oy at the end of a word (joy, toy)

Ou or Ow Rule: Use ou in the middle of a word (house, found) and use ow at the end of words other than those that end in n or d (borrow, chow, throw).



Double Consonant Rule: When b, d, g, m, n, or p appear after a short vowel in a word with two syllables, double the consonant: rabbit, ladder, haggle, tummy, banner, dipper

Ch Sound Rule: At the beginning of a word, use ch (chide, chair). At the end of a word, use tch (batch, ditch). When the ch sound is followed by ure or ion, use t (picture, caption).


A suffix is a word ending, such as -ing or -ed. There are several important rules about adding suffixes.

Drop Final E Rule: When you add a suffix to a word that ends in a silent e, drop the e if the suffix begins with a vowel: come = coming, drive = driving.

 Exceptions: Duly, Truly, Peaceable

Change Final Y to I Rule: When you add a suffix to a word that ends in a y preceded by a consonant, change the y to an i (unless the suffix begins with an i): deny = denial, party = partier, but deny = denying and party = partying. Words that end in a y preceded by a vowel can add the suffixes -ed and -ing without any changes: stray = straying, strayed.

Doubling the Final Consonant Rule: When you add a suffix that begins with a vowel to a word that ends in y preceded by a single consonant AND is a one-syllable word or a multi-syllable word with the final syllable accented, then double the final consonant before adding the suffix: cap = capping, occur = occurring.


Here are some basic rules for making a word plural:

For most regular plurals, just add -s: medicine = medicines, doctor = doctors.

For words ending in -s, -sh, -ch, -x, or –z, add -es: gas = gases, wash = washes, church = churches, tax = taxes, waltz = waltzes.

For some words that end in -f or –fe, use -ves: self = selves, life = lives, wife = wives, knife = knives.

Some words have the same singular and plural forms: series, species, aircraft, many animals such as deer, moose, sheep, and shrimp.



Homophones are words that sound similar but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Common homophones include the words it’s/its and their/there/they’re.

The table below shows homophones found often in English and their definitions.

Homophones Definitions
Anecdote/antidote An anecdote is a story; an antidote is a remedy for an illness or problem.
Blue/blew Blue is a color; blew is the past tense to the verb to blow.
Capital/capitol A capital letter is a letter written in upper case or the primary political city in a state; a capitol is a building or group of buildings used for state governance.
Confident/confidant Confident is an adjective meaning self-assured. A confidant is a trusted friend or advisor.
Creek/creak A creek is a small body of water. A creak is a sound: the wooden floor creaked when she stepped on it.
Edition/addition An edition is a version of text; addition is an operation in math.
Effect/affect The word effect is commonly used as a noun.

An effect is the result produced by some causal factor.

The word affect is commonly used as a verb.

To affect something means to have an impact on it.

For/four For is a preposition showing purpose; four is a number.
Here/hear The word here indicates location; the word hear means to perceive sound.
Insure/ensure Insure is generally used to refer to insurance; when you insure something, you protect it against harm. To ensure means to make certain.
Its/it’s The word its is a possessive pronoun. The word it’s is the contraction for it is.
Meet/meat The verb meet means to come together; the noun meat refers to animal protein.
Pair/pare/pear The noun pair means two of something: he bought a pair of socks. The verb pare means to cut away or reduce: he pared down his possessions to just the essentials. The noun pear is a fruit.
Pale/pail The word pale means light in color; the word pail means a bucket.
Peek/peak Peek means to take a look or to spy; peak means the top or highest point.
Principal/principle A principal is a person who is the head or leader. A principle is a rule or guidelines.
Site/cite The word site is a noun meaning location. The word cite is a verb meaning to give credit to a source.
Sole/soul Sole is an adjective meaning only. Soul is a noun that refers to a person’s spiritual nature.
Stationary/stationery Stationary means motionless or fixed in place. Stationery is fine paper used for writing.
Their/there/they’re The word their is a possessive pronoun: they gave us the address of their new home. The word there indicates location: we will see you there. They’re is a contraction for they are.
Then/than The word then indicates order in a sequence: first this happened, then that happened. The word than indicates comparison: she is taller than him.
Too/two/to Too means also. Two refers to the number 2. To is a preposition.
Week/weak The noun week is a time interval of seven days. The adjective weak means not strong.
Whale/wail A whale is a large sea mammal. To wail means to scream or cry.
Which/witch The word which is a relative pronoun: which side of the family are you related to? The word witch is a noun: she dressed as a witch for Halloween.
Whole/hole Whole is an adjective meaning entire. Hole is a noun meaning a gap or an opening.
Whose/who’s The word whose is a relative pronoun: whose side are you on, anyway? The word who’s is a contraction for who is: Sherrie is the one who’s calling.
Your/you’re Your is a possessive pronoun: is that your dog? You’re is a contraction for you are.


Homographs are words that are spelled in the same but have different meanings. Here are just a few common ones.

Bear (v) to carry or endure (n) the animal
Fair (adj.) just; pleasing (n) exhibition or event
Tear (v) to pull or rip apart (n) salty liquid from the eye
Hide (v) to keep out of sight (n) animal skin
Wind (v) to twist or wrap (n) moving air
Content (adj.) happy, peaceful (n) things held or included in something