English Spelling Rules Adding -er/est
We make the comparative or superlative forms of short adjectives by adding -er or -est.
Spelling Rule Just add -er or -est to the end of the adjective, for example:
quick > quicker > quickest great > greater > greatest
and add: -er -est
full > fuller > fullest
For example: happy > happier > happiest late > later > latest hot > hotter > hottest
If the adjective ends in: consonant + -y consonant + -e consonant + vowel + consonant do this: change the -y to an -i remove the -e ldouble the last letter Note: adjectives ending in -l are regular, except: cruel > crueller > cruellest
Often we need to add -ing or -ed to a verb to make other forms of the verb, for example: I was talking when John arrived. Spelling Rule Just add -ing or -ed to the end of the base verb: Work > working > worked Play > playing > played Exceptions If the base verb ends in: consonant + vowel + consonant and a stressed syllable But, for example: open > opening > opened (because no stress on last syllable of open) do this: double the final consonant and add: -ing -ed For example: stop > stopping > stopped begin > beginning tap > tapping > tapped Open > opening > opened
except: day > daily gay > gaily
. for example: quick > quickly.consonant + -e
remove the -e
phone > phoning > phoned dance > dancing > danced make > making rake > raking > raked dye > dying > dyed lie > lying die > dying lie > lied die > died
change the -ie to -y nothing
We often make an adverb by adding -ly to an adjective.
Just add -ly to the end of the adjective: coy > coyly loud > loudly beautiful > beautifully senseless > senselessly intelligent > intelligently
If the adjective ends in: do this: and add: For example:
-ll nothing -y full > fully consonant + -le remove the final -e -y terrible > terribly -y (except 1remove the -y -ily happy > happily syllable adjectives) Note: 1-syllable adjectives ending in -y are regular.
proofs. roofs spy > spies baby > babies play > plays demand > demands
remove the -f or -fe
consonant + -y
remove the -y
Note: words that end in -o normally just add s. except: buffalo > buffaloes.Adding -s
We add -s to words for two reasons: to make plural nouns (boy > boys) to form the 3rd person singular of the present simple tense (I work > you work > he works) Spelling Rule Just add -s to the end of the word. griefs. volcano > volcanoes
. chiefs. mosquito > mosquitoes. echo > echoes. tornado > tornadoes veto > vetoes . hero > heroes. halo > haloes. cargoes (or cargos). dwarfs. gulfs. for example: dog > dogs Exceptions If the word ends in: -ch -s -sh -x -z -f -fe do this: nothing and add: -es For example: church > churches mass > masses brush > brushes fax > faxes box > boxes chintz > chintzes wife > wives calf > calves except: beliefs. go > goes. potato > potatoes. domino > dominoes
grotto > grottoes mango > mangoes
motto > mottoes (or mottos) tomato > tomatoes. torpedo > torpedoes.
you are left with a complete word. renewable. for example: networkable. The -ible ending is for words of Latin origin. No new words are being created with -ible endings. Here are the most common examples:accessible Admissible audible collapsible defensible flexible Combustible compatible Destructible digestible Gullible horrible comprehensible divisible illegible indelible
Contemptible credible Edible Implausible Inedible Irresistible Responsible Terrible fallible inaccessible insensible irreversible reversible visible
incontrovertible intelligible ostensible sensible
Invincible Permissible Susceptible
invisible plausible suggestible
The -able ending is for: some Latin words. Here is the rule: If you remove -able from a word. If you remove -ible from a word. Remember. it is probably best to use a dictionary. for example: dependable non-Latin words. if you are not sure about a word. Sometimes it is difficult to remember which spelling to use. for example: affordable. windsurfable
Rule of thumb This rule can help you decide the correct spelling. you are not left with a complete word (note that accessible. There are about 180 words ending in -ible. It works most (but not all!) of the time. contemptible.-ible or -able
Many words end in -ible and -able.
. washable new (modern) words. flexible and suggestible above are among the exceptions to this rule). digestible.
conceit. grief. friend. receive beige. protein. patience. forfeit. seize. deceit. inveigle. vein. sleigh. believe. codeine. foreign. caffeine. weight
Here are some common exceptions to the above rule: either. There is a very simple rule about this: I before E except after C or when sounding like AY as in neighbour and weigh
I before E except after C or when sounding like AY
. receipt. conceive. weird. chief. pierce. perceive. deceive. freight. counterfeit. hygiene. thief ceiling.or -eiSometimes it is difficult to remember whether a word is spelled with -ie. feint. brief. neighbour. height.-ie. neither.or -ei-. weigh. their. priest. leisure.
rebel > rebelled travel > travelled
rebel > rebelled travel > traveled
centre theatre analogue catalogue colour labour realise.English and American English Spelling
Here are the principal differences in spelling between English and American English.
English American English
Final -l is always doubled after one vowel in stressed and unstressed syllables in English but usually only in stressed syllables in American English. realize harmonise. judgment kerb labour license. for example: Some words end in -tre in English and -ter in American English. for example: Some words end in -our in English and -or in American English. alright (disputed) analyze center check color counselor criticize fulfill gray honor humor jewellery. licence (verb) licence (noun) neighbour offence practise (verb) practice (noun) speciality American English defense donut favor fiber flavor fiber flavor judgment curb labor license (verb) license (noun) neighbor offense practice (verb) practice (noun) specialty
. for example: Some verbs end in -ize or -ise in English but only in -ize in American English. for example: Some words end in -ogue in English and -og in American English. concert etc) American English all right. jewelry liter meter mold pretense program English defence doughnut favour fibre flavour fibre flavour judgement. harmonize
center theater analog catalog color labor realize harmonize
English all right analyse centre cheque colour counsellor criticise. criticize fulfil grey honour humour jewellery litre metre mould pretence programme (plan.
Advice means opinion. and consequently. Vowels and consonants are determined by human anatomy.e..pyjamas realise. traveled travelling. That difference affects the way we pronounce words. Advise is a verb. living creatures. because pronunciation is similar or because of confusion regarding the meaning of the words. the way we spell words.
spelling and meaning
The words examined below can cause problems because of similar spelling. The vowels can be pronounced without restriction of the airflow through the larynx (voice box). Advise means to offer advice. Except is a preposition or. i. The vowel letters are (a. accept / except Accept is a verb.
. All other letters in the English alphabet are consonants. Inanimate objects do not possess ability. specifically human beings. Airplanes do not have ability. a conjunction. I need your advice regarding my course choices for next semester. e. Accept means to receive. traveling tire
vowels and consonants
Vowels are certain letters in the English alphabet. i. sometimes. I accept the nomination. possess ability. I shall advise her of your decision. Computers do not have ability. The letter (y) may occasionally function as a vowel. My advice was not accepted.
Animate objects. and u). o. We restrict air flow through the larynx when we pronounce consonants. realize savour valour
pajamas realize savor valor
travelled travelling tyre
travelled. She demonstrated her ability to work mathematical problems. Everyone was invited except me! advice / advise Advice is a noun. You have the ability to play a musical instrument. Programs do not have ability. She advised enrolling in a genetics course. I have the ability to repair machinery. Except means exclusion.
ascent / assent Ascent is a noun. Alter means modify. allusion / illusion Allusion is a noun. Smoking adversely affects the health of many Americans. Altar means elevated structure used for religious purposes. Bear can be a verb or a noun. Alley means small street. This policy will go into effect on Monday.affect / effect Affect is a verb. His shop is located in a dark alley. altar / alter Altar is a noun. Catherine's Monastery requires substantial physical stamina. Assent can be a verb or a noun. Illusion is a noun. Effect is a noun. bear. bare / bear Bare can be an adjective or a verb. The same word. Ally can be a verb or a noun. Assent means agreement.
. Effect means execute or result. It was a cold day. His ascent in this organization has been remarkable. Affect means influence. The ascent to St. His most recent statement does not affect my intention to vote for the other candidate. I will alter my class schedule. Alley is a noun. allay / alley / ally Allay is a verb. He will be a good ally in our pursuit of justice. or upward slope. Alter is a verb. Most authorities state that sightings of flying saucers are illusions. Allusion means indirect reference. he was bare headed. Ascent means upward advancement. Illusion means erroneous perception or belief. Leaders allay fear among their followers. Allay means lessen. is also a noun and means a species of animal. There is an allusion to Buddha in the poem. Ally means unite. Bare means exposed to view or without enhancement. The effect of narcotics on the nervous system is outlined in his report. Bear means to support. The priest approached the altar. He reluctantly gave his assent to our proposal.
The political committee will canvass the town seeking votes for Smith. Capitol means building where the legislature convenes. Canvass means discuss. Capital also means material wealth. Site is a noun. Site means location. Order a cubic yard of coarse sand. Our course took us over the Arctic Circle. Coarse means rough. DC. one where each state legislature convenes and one in Washington. He has enough capital to finance the project. Gettysburg. Canvas means coarse fabric. where the United States Congress convenes. The Parthenon is an awesome sight. A policeman will cite him for speeding if he doesn't slow down. He has a coarse demeanor. Canvass the committee to determine if there is a consensus on this issue. It was a beautiful sight.The authorities had to strip the apartment to the bare walls to remove the amphetamine residues. Capital means location of government. PA. That is a load-bearing surface. She bought canvas to make new sails.
. The bear growled and bared his fangs. DC. Course is a noun. or lacking refinement. or mention. Course means direction. coarse / course Coarse is an adjective. My hobby is oil painting on canvas. The United States Capitol Building is located in Washington. The soldier was cited for bravery. American school children were once required to memorize the name of the capital city of each state. The United States has 51 capitol buildings. We followed a course established by bison. canvas / canvass Canvas is a noun. Canvass is a verb. Sight is a noun. Sight means seeing or ability to see. I will bear this burden all of my life. or solicit. capital / capitol Capital is a noun. Capitol is a noun. Cite means quote. is the site of a famous US Civil War battle. cite / sight / site Cite is a verb. This is the site where the new school will be built.
He is an aggravating dissenter. Counsel is a noun. Farther means physical distance. Compliment means praise. Dissent can be a verb or a noun. Dissent means disagree. Council means group of people who deliberate issues. She received a nice compliment for her presentation. Would I travel farther if I circumnavigated the earth at the equator or if I circumnavigated the earth at the polar axis? His thesis needs further explanation. duck / duct Duck can be a noun or a verb. Make sure that the display window has a full complement of Halloween costumes. He covered the load of cantalopes with duck cloth. I repaired it with duct tape. Compliment is a noun. Duck means bird or heavy cloth or amphibious military truck or to avoid. Descent is a noun. Descent means downward movement. Further means greater degree. Heating and cooling air is moved through air ducts. Council is a noun. Decent means conforms to standards of propriety. farther / further Farther can be an adverb or an adjective. or remote point. The airplane made a rapid descent. decent / descent / dissent Decent is an adjective. formally / formerly
. Duct means enclosed channel. Who is the US Consul in Paris? The city council will discuss that issue during the next council meeting. Consul means diplomat who represents commercial interests. Complement means complete. consul / council / counsel Consul is a noun. I shall dissent.complement / compliment Complement is a noun. Shakespeare took me further into the soul of human nature than I imagined possible. or downward slope. Ducks often fly in a vee. The duck was a WW II military vehicle. Duct can be a noun or a verb. They always exhibit decent behavior. I am going to seek counsel from my attorney. Further can be an adjective or an adverb. Counsel means advice. That basketball player had to duck to get through the doorway.
Latter is an adjective. Wholly is an adverb. we did market that product. Formerly means at an earlier time. Forth means onward from this time or place or order. inaugural address. Latter means second of two things or near the end. later / latter Later is an adjective. hear / here Hear is a verb." (The opening words of a long and eloquent sentence from former US President John F. Isle means small island. She formally announced her intention to be a candidate. I can hear the waves breaking on the beach. The aisle was blocked by shopping carts. Holy means divine or sacred. The governor will be here tomorrow. The delegation arrives at noon. The Bible contains Christian holy literature. choose the latter.Formally is an adverb. . Formerly is an adverb. Harrington will arrive later. Formerly. Kennedy's January 20. 1961. Here means at this place. "Let the word go forth from this time and place . Wholly means entirely. Aisle means passageway. Fourth is a noun. Formal means accepted convention. .) The Fourth of July is the date America celebrates her independence from foreign domination. Hear means perceive sound. We beached on a remote isle in a coral sea. If your alternative is Professor Rutan or Professor Iben.
. and the Koran contains Muslim holy literature. Fourth means position in a series represented by the number four. Here is an adverb. isle / aisle Isle is a noun. Later means at a delayed time. holy / wholly Holy is an adjective. forth / fourth Forth is an adverb. . Aisle is a noun. Citizens are wholly responsible for the actions of a democratic government. the Torah contains Jewish holy literature.
Lessen means reduce. Smell means perceive scent. Lesson is a noun. Personnel is a noun. lessen / lesson Lessen is a verb. Lead is also a noun. Flowers can't smell. Lose is a verb. Odor means olfactory nerve stimulant. Passed means move beyond. The dog is loose. or transfer. The noun. Lose means misplace. Led is the past tense of the verb. Lesson means period of instruction or act of instruction. Smell is a verb. Flowers produce fragrant odors. Past means earlier time. Did you lose your driver's license? odor / smell Odor is a noun. study people who practice leadership. All company personnel must attend a safety briefing. Personnel means group of people associated with an organization Mr. America's Vietnam incursion was a bitter lesson in political misperception. I think her religious belief is a personal matter. People smell the fragrant odors emitted by flowers. lead. Led is a verb. Flowers do not smell. they have no olfactory nerves. or involuntarily relinquish. If you want to learn how to lead. People who work with lead. or private. has the same pronunciation as the past tense of lead and means metalic element. Raymond is the CEO's personal assistant. a heavy metal. The past behavior of this student reveals a trend. This medication will lessen the pain.
. Loose is an adjective. must take extensive safey measures to protect their health. or preposition. Lead means guide responsibly. lead. He passed the ball to Simmons. noun. Loose means not restrained. personal / personnel Personal can be an adjective or a noun. Past can be an adjective. Personal means particular person. passed / past Passed is a verb. adverb. Jody Williams led the successful movement to ban the use of antipersonnel mines. The Personnel Department will change its name to Human Resources Department. loose / lose. Admiral Mulberry is a loose cannon on deck.lead / led Lead is a verb.
" (From My Fair Lady) Airplane wings are designed as a plane surface on the bottom but require curvature on the top to facilitate lift.peace / piece Peace is noun. . rain / reign / rein Rain can be a noun or verb. unadorned. The noun means treeless expanse of land. will retire in June. Piece means a part of something. it will set a legal precedent. The adjective means simple. Our athletic department adheres to the principle that performance drugs will not be tolerated. precedent / president Precedent is a noun. Principle is a noun. Rain means condensed water vapor that falls to earth. Peace means absence of conflict. apparent. . Plane can be a noun. Clothing styles are relatively plain this spring. "Just a walkin' in the rain. "In Spain the rain falls mainly in the plain. Plane means flat surface. and elected officials. Peace eluded humanity during the Twentieth Century. . Oster." (From the musical and stage play and movie of the same name) Reign by hereditary monarchs has been replaced by constitutions. Use the reins to control the horse. President is a noun. Principle means fundamental standard. If our opponent wins the case. Mr. Reign can be a noun or a verb. laws.
. Reign means rule by a sovereign power. plain / plane Plain can be an adjective or a noun. President means presiding officer of an organization. I'll have a piece of the chocolate cake. Vernard Cantwell was the principal in that investment consortium. or presiding person. Rein means strap usually made of leather. Mr. adjective. principal / principle Principal can be a noun or an adjective. Piece is a noun. Principal means senior position. Precedent means example. Noriega is our high school principal. or verb. Rein can be a noun or a verb. President of Widget Products Company. Use a carpenter's plane to smooth the surface of a board.
Rite is a noun. Their means possessed by persons or things. Statute is a noun. I use plain white stationery for most of my correspondence. Stationery means writing paper. statue / statute Statue is a noun. a possessive pronoun. Statute means law enacted by a legislature Have you seen the statue of Marines raising the US flag on Iwo Jima? The attorney cited the statute that prohibits keeping endangered animals as pets. I will be there at 5 pm. Many societies have developed marriage rites. I will attend their graduation ceremonies. They're is a contraction of a pronoun and a verb: they are. but I find that it is easier to write email messages. carved or cast form. Statue means sculpted. Stationary means fixed in place. Rite means ceremony. Turn right at the next street intersection. Right means correct. or verb. traditionally. There means designated location. as an adjective.right / rite / write Right can be a noun. it is the right suit for you. In democratic societies citizens have a right to trial by a jury of their peers.
. There is an adverb or an expletive. I cannot be there. or legal or natural entitlement. Some authorities list the word. or direction clockwise from current orientation.
their / there / they're Their is. adjective. stationary / stationery Stationary can be a noun or an adjective. Stationery is a noun. Write is a verb. I exercise on a stationary bicycle. That suit becomes you. There is a coffee shop at 454 Southern Boulevard. I use cursive characters when I write. their. (expletive) They're scheduled to arrive at 2 pm. Their hotel confirmations have arrived. I occasionally write letters to my friends. Write means express thoughts utilizing graphic symbols.