One of the best spelling strategies around is to master the top spelling rules. Understanding these rules will give adults and students of all ages more success and confidence as they tackle bigger and harder words.
#1 If a one-syllable word has a short vowel sound and ends with one consonant, double the final consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel or y. Examples: swimmer, dipping, saggy
#2 If a one-syllable word ends with two consonants or two vowels and one consonant, do not double the final consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel. Examples: helper, reading, rushed
#3 If a one-syllable word has a short vowel sound, do not double the final consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a consonant. Examples: sadly, bagful, fitness
#4 Drop a silent e before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel. Examples: hoping, joked, believable
a word ends with a silent e,
adding a suffix that begins with a consonant. Examples:
careless, safety, arrangement.
#6 When the suffix –ly is added to a word, the spelling of the base word does not usually change. Examples: kindly, actively, slowly. Exceptions: terribly, truly, wholly, and others
#7 The suffix –ful never has two ls. When –ful is added to a word, the spelling of the base word usually does not change. Examples: thankful, spoonful, forgetful
See page with lists of suffixes for more information:
If a word ends with
a consonant and
a y, change the y
before adding any suffix (except one that begins with i).
Do not change the y if
it is preceded by a vowel. Examples: cries, sleepy, joyful
#9 When a word ends with a y, do not change the y when adding a suffix that begins with i. Examples: studying, crying, paying
i before e except after c or when sounded
like a as
in neighbor and
friend, believe, ceiling,
receive, eight, vein
Note: There are many exceptions to this rule, including: neither, science, their, weird, ancient, height, protein, sufficient and more. These words need to be memorized. See our huge list on this page.
You may be thinking, "There are a lot more spelling rules than this!"
You're right. There are a WHOLE lot more, including rules about plural nouns and prefixes. But when your students learn these ten spelling strategies, they'll improve their spelling scores in no time!
written some spelling
to practice the strategies above. See all of our spelling
lessons for more practice tips.
Another way to improve spelling is to master some of the most frequently misspelled words