ATI TEAS ENGLISH AND LANGUAGE USAGE REVIEW – SPELLING
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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.
UNDERSTANDING VOWEL SOUNDS
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).
UNDERSTANDING ADDING SUFFIXES
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.
UNDERSTANDING CREATING PLURALS
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.
|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|
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