Many students complain that the English language boasts of the most unpredictable spelling in the world. However, numerous linguistic studies prove that it is actually not true: only about 400 words in English have the spelling that does not follow any rule.
That is the good news! The bad news is that these 400 are the most widely used and the rest of the rules must be learned by heart in order to write correctly.
Here are the most commonly used spelling rules, which can make your life a lot easier:
- Usually write -i before -e (like in friend, believe, etc.); however, write -ei after -c (receive) and when it sounds like a (weight, heir, etc.).
- If a word ends in a silent -e, drop it before adding a suffix starting with a vowel (bite – biting) and use it when the suffix starts with a consonant (use – useful).
- When a word ends in -y preceded by a consonant, change -y into -i before adding a suffix (beauty – beautiful, try – tried).
- When a word ends in one vowel and one consonant, double the final consonant when adding a suffix (swim – swimmer).
Another important consideration in trying to achieve an ideal spelling is to avoid typos – mistakes that we make when typing. The most common way to deal with the problem is to use a spell check function on your computer.
However, this is not enough, as there are certain mistakes that the spell checker will not identify. This mainly happens when the word is spelled correctly, but is used instead of its homophone (e.g. Learn the rule and right correctly).
These mistakes can only be spotted if you read your essay carefully after you have finished it. For the best result, you can ask somebody to read your essay, or at least read it the next day after you have finished it.
Another tip for improving your spelling is to keep record of the words that you usually misspell and practice writing them from time to time. Then check your essay for these words specifically.
Learn the rules and follow these simple strategies and you will find it easy to achieve a positive result.