Excerpt for 66 Rules of Spelling English Words by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

66 Rules of Spelling English Words.

Joseph Jacob

Copyright 2018 Joseph Jacob

Smashwords Edition

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Table of Contents

Does It Matter How I Spell?

Chapter 1: Secrets of Good Spelling.

Chapter 2: Basic Spelling Rules

Chapter 3: Ie or ei.

Chapter 4: F, Gh or Ph.

Chapter 5: Word Endings.

Chapter 6: Affixes.

Chapter 7: Plural of Nouns

Chapter 8: British versus American Spelling.




Many people will answer “No” to the above question. Many poor spellers have continued to score high marks in examinations and make good grades.

Nevertheless, the way you spell really matter. Most people will have their first contact with you through your write up; be it application for job, resume, etc.

Therefore, our being good spellers is very important, even if we’re not penalized for our wrong spellings at school. Our ability to spell well will surely contribute to our success in life. Have you ever wondered why some are good spellers while others are not? Will you want to become a good speller? If your answer is yes, this book is all you need.

This book is written in an informal interactive format to keep you involved mentally as you read on.

Do all the exercise if you can. Don’t be discouraged if you have to read and reread some of the rules that seem difficult to master. NOT ALL EXCEPTIONS TO SOME RULES ARE COVERED in this book.

Get your pen and jotter handy. I assure you; by the time you get to the last full stop in this book, you must have been transformed into a better speller.

Enjoy it

Joseph Jacob.

* * *



Good spellers are not just intelligent, they’ve succeeded in developing an effective method of learning to spell. You can do that as well. Let’s look at steps that will help you spell words you come across correctly.


Let’a use the word GUARANTEE to discuss seven steps that will help you master how to spell words you see.

STEP ONE: Understand the meaning, pronunciation and use of the word. Any good dictionary can be helpful.

STEP TWO: Note the spelling of the word. Take a closer look at the word GUARANTEE. It has nine letters; letters A and E appeared twice.

STEP THREE: Close your eyes and try seeing the letters with your mind’s eyes. Don’t get tired of looking at the words several times until you can see all the letters when you close your eyes.

STEP FOUR: Write down the word in your jotter. Don’t copy. Write whatever you can remember as you pronounce the word.

STEP FIVE: Re-check the spelling of the word. Compare your spelling with mine; GUARANTEE.

Did you get the spelling? If so you did great. But, if you don’t, be rest assured that you’ve made a progress, as any mistake you might have made is the basis for the next step.

STEP SIX: Study the difficult part of the word. The part of the word you spelt wrongly is the difficult part. The difficult part of a word differs from one person to another. For instance, you might have omitted the second letter U (G’U’ARANTEE). The last two letters could as well be challenging as one could use I or Y instead of EE. So take note of such difficult part. You’ll soon realize that you can easily remember the letters in the difficult parts and thus spell the entire word correctly.

STEP SEVEN: Use the word. Have you ever spelt your name wrongly? That’s impossible because you’ve spelt it so many times that it’s now part of you. Similarly, if you use new words as often as possible, they’ll become part of you and you’ll be spelling them with ease.

Exercise 1A.

Using the seven steps discussed above master how to spell the following words;

1. Acquaintance.

2. Aggravate.

3. Boundary.

4. Chauffeur.

5. Counterfeit.

6. Endeavor.

7. Fascinate.

8. Discipline.

How did you fare? I hope you can now spell those words correctly. Don’t hesitate to revisit any of the steps you’ve forgotten.

Now, that you can remember and correctly spell words you see, rest for a while and join me in considering the more challenging, yet more exciting aspect: spelling words you hear.


If you’re a student, you must have noticed that the higher you go, the more you have to listen and make notes for yourself. Let’s consider six steps that are very helpful when spelling spoken words.

STEP ONE: Listen to the pronunciation of the word. What you’ll write down is what you hear. So, listen attentively to get the pronunciation clearly.

STEP TWO: Pronounce the word in your mind to identify the sounds and their corresponding letters of the alphabet

STEP THREE: Divide the words into syllables. The word GUARANTEE can be divided thus GUA-RAN-TEE. It is better to do this mentally so as to easily take the fourth step.

STEP FOUR: Write down the word. This is the main thing. Write down the word carefully ensuring that you represent all sounds. However, there’re three challenges that might undermine your effort.

1. If the speaker pronounces wrongly. He could say;

Shalk instead of Chalk.

Ead instead of Head.

Pine instead of Fine.

Dis instead of This.

2. Words that sound differently from their spelling.

They include words like Lieutenant, Individual, February, Quarter, Politician, Guess, etc.

3. Unstressed vowel could be difficult to identify its sound. Take note of the i in bold face in the word Origin. The i in bold face has the schwa sound. Therefore, any of several vowels can be used to represent the sound. What do we do? Simply remember related word. A related word to origin is original; you can now see that I is the correct letter between r and g.

STEP FIVE: Use the dictionary whenever possible to compare your spelling. Pay s special attention to those difficult parts you often spell wrongly.

STEP SIX: Use the word. Once you’ve known the correct spelling, find opportunities to use the word as often as possible. This will give you mastery over the word.

Exercise 1B

Listen to a news bulletin on radio or TV, write down new words you hear, use the dictionary to confirm or correct your spellings and make frequent use of such words.

Now that we can spell new words we see or hear, let’s go into specific spelling rules.

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* * *



There are simple basic spelling rules that everyone should know. Like the foundation of a building, they will give us a solid basis on which to build other rules we’ll discuss in this book.


‘The letter Q is always followed by a U”.






















Did you notice that the Q is always followed by a U? Can you remember other examples? Write them down in your jotter.

Don’t confuse this rule with some Arabic words. The rule applies only to English words.


“No English word ends in j”.

Consider these examples;











Did you notice that all the above words end with the /j/ sound but none of them ends in the letter j? Can you remember similar words? Write them down in your jotter.

Remember that whenever a word ends with the /j/ sound it must be spelt dge or ge.


“Only one English word ends in v”.

Besides SPIV no other English word ends with V. Other English words that end with the /v/ sound are spelt ve Can you remember such words? Write them down in your jotter and compare yours with mine below:












“No English word ends in I”.

Taxi is the short form of Taxicab. So in Standard English no word ends in I. What about words like Macaroni, Spaghetti, and Vermicelli? They’re Italian words, though; they’re often used in English language these days. Hence, other words that end in /i/ sound end with Y.












Can you remember similar words? Write them down in your jotter.


“Use one l whenever all is to serve as a prefix”.


All + though = Although.

All + so = Also.

All + ways. = Always.

All + together. = Altogether.

All + right. = Alright.(Informal)

All + ready = Already.

All + most = Almost.

All + mighty = Almighty.

Did you notice that one of the ls is dropped to form the new word? Can you remember similar words? Write them down in your jotter.

Can you remember the five rules we’ve discussed? Use this exercise to test your understanding of the five rules.


A. A letter is missing in the following words, kindly fill it in.

1. Q_ality.

2. Q_antity.

3. Q_estion.

4. Q_een.

5. Q_otes.

6. Q_ench.

7. Q_iet.

8. Q_est.

9. Cheq_e.

10. Uniq_e.

11. Conq_er. 1

2. Q_ick.

B. Identify the correctly spelt word in each of the following pair of words:

1. Cage-Caj.

2. Dodge-Doj.

3. Juj-Judge.

4. Laj-Large.

5. Baj-Badge.

6. Chanj Change.

7. Lounj-Lounge.

8. Brij-Bridge.

9. Garage-garaj.

10. Edge-Ej.

C. Complete the following words with v or ve.

1. Gi_

2. Sha_

3. Positi_

4. Mo_

5. Sol_

6. Spi_

7 . Octa_

8. Do_

9. Negati_

10. Fi_

D. Chose the correctly spelt words in the following pair of words

1. Quantiti-Quantity.

2. Taxi-Taxy.

3. Tini-Tiny

4. Angry-Angri.

5. Chariti-Charity.

E. What is the resulting compound word from the following pairings

1. All + together =

2. All + ways =

3. All + so =

4. All + mighty =

5. All + though =

Did you get all? Don’t feel discouraged to go back and study any of the rules that you’ve not mastered.

Now that we have laid the foundation. let’s go into specific spelling challenges.

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* * *



There are so many English words that have the letters E and I written together as ei or ie. Many people find it very difficult to know when to place e before i or i before e. this chapter will address that problem.

Let’s start by testing how much we already know about words that has ei or ie.


In the following pair of words, choose the ones that are spelt correctly and write them down in your jotter.

1. Pier-Peir.

2. Conciet-Conceit.

3. Skien-Skein.

4. Unviel-Unveil.

5. Grief-Greif.

6. Anceint-Ancient.

Did you find the exercise difficult? Never mind, at the end of this chapter, you’ll find out that the exercise is very easy.

There’re four rules that will help us tackle the ei or ie problem. Before we consider these rules, let’s look at some EXCEPTIONS to the rules.

The following words should be mastered as discussed in chapter one.

1. Friend.

2. Seize.

3. Caffeine.

4. Height.

5. Leisure.

6. Sheik.

7. Neither.

8. Weird.

9. Either.

10. Lieutenant.

Now, let’s look at the four rules.


“Place e before i whenever c is the preceding letter”.

With this rule in mind, look back at the exercise we tackled at the beginning of this chapter, specifically number 2. Conceit is the correct spelling.

Here’re other examples;

1. Receipt.

2. Ceiling.

3. Deceit.

4. Deceive.

5. Conceive.

6. Perceive.

7. Receive.


“Whenever c is pronounced /sh/ i is placed before e”.

Go back to number 6 of exercise 3A with this rule in mind. You’ll notice that the correct answer is Ancient because the c is pronounced /sh/.

Here are other . examples:

1. Conscience.

2. Deficient.

3. Efficient.

4. Proficient.

5. Species.


“Place e before I whenever both letters sound like /e/ as in neighbor”.

Can you remember other examples? Please list those you can remember in your jotter.

How many did you remember? Compare them with the following;

1. Heiress.

2. Feint.

3. Weigh.

4. Unveil.

5. Heifer.

6. Sleigh.

7. Weight.

8. Eight.

9. Skein.

10. Reign.

11. Vein.

12. Albeit.

13. Alzheimer.

14. Forfeit.

15. Foreign.

16. Feign.

17. Beige.

Now, let’s go back to exercise 3A number 3 and 4. Have you seen why skein and unveil are the correct spellings?


“Where e and i combine to produce an /i/ sound as in yield, write i before e, as long as c is not the preceding letter.”

Can you remember words that confirm to this rule? Some are listed below;

1. Believe.

2. Reprieve.

3. Field.

4. Brief.

5. Priest.

6. Belief.

7. Besiege.

8. Sieve.

9. Relief.

10. Yield.

11. Piece.

12. Siege.

13. Chief.

14. Thief.

15. Pierce.

16. Believe.

17. Grievous.

18. Shriek.

19. Cashier.

20. Fierce.


The following words have two letters omitted. Fill the space with either ei or ie.

1. Effic__nt.

2. Y__ld

3. Br__f

4. F__nt.

5. Conc__nce.

6. C__ling.

7. Dec__ve.

8. Suffic__nt.

9. H__fer.

10. V__n.

11. Th__f.

12. S__ge.

13. Bel__f.

14. Anc__nt.

15. Pr__st.

16. Bel__ve.

17. P__ce.

18. W__ght.

19. Sl__gh.

20. R__gn.

21. Perc__ve.

Did you get all? If you did, thumbs up. If you didn’t, remain positive. Go back to the rules, study them again, then, come back and tackle the exercise.

Now that ie and ei don’t confuse us, let’s confront another challenge in the next chapter.

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* * *


F or gh or ph

The words cough, food and trophy have one sound in common: The fricative sound /f/. But, you’ll notice that the letters that produced the sound are gh, f and ph respectively.

How can you know when to use any of gh, f or ph to represent the fricative sound?

Consider these three rules


“Use ph in long words”

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