15 Common Spelling Rules [With Exceptions and Myth Busters] (2023)

Teaching English spelling is a daunting challenge, especially for the kids. A lot has to do with the mismatched correlation between the spellings and the pronunciations.

For example, consider the word "knee". It may sound like "nee", but the spelling suggests something like "kuh nee!"

We adults are already familiar with unusual spellings – we know that there is a mute K inMesserAndKnee. But children only get to know these rules and laws.

So today we would try to talk about some of the established spelling rules.

How many spelling rules are there in the English language?

One thing you should understand: There are no hard and fast rules for English spelling. Language experts have identified and categorized only a few spelling patterns.

That's why you see different numbers online!

Some preach 5 spelling rules, others say 31 spelling rules, and so on. Even the English language has its fair share of exceptions when it comes to spelling grammar.

How come?

There is a general spelling rule that says English words don't end in I. If that's true, then what about the words ?Alumni, Broccoli,orGraffiti? Some may argue that these words come from other languages.

TRUE! But it is also true that the English language chose these words.

Since we are talking about exceptions, let's talk about the problem of consonant doubling. Some suggest when adding suffixes like-edor-ingAfter a verb, you should double the final consonant.

Therefore,referbecomesreferred, orenterbecomesdevelopaccording to this rule.

Pretty! Oh wait, there's a problem!

How aboutinput?


It will notregistered or enter!Rather it willenteredorenter.

Many experts therefore refrain from making every spelling pattern the rule. And that's why we don't have fixed spelling rules in the English language.

So when studying English spelling rules, always remember that rules are made to be broken!

But mastering the common spelling rules will help language users in many ways. You can stop yourself from making common and stupid mistakes.

7 basic spelling rules for kids

1. Every syllable (and every word) must have a vowel

Example:It, cat, oldall have a vowel.

2. I, E or Y Changes the sound of C to /s/

The letter C has two sounds /s/ or /k/. When C is followed by I, E, or Y, it sounds like /s/. in all other cases it sounds like /k/.

Example:City,cement, AndCyber(C followed by I, E or Y) have the /s/ sound thoughcalled,catch, orCoolhas the /k/ sound.

3. I, E or Y Changes the tone of G to /j/

Similar to the previous rule, the letter G has two sounds /g/ or /j/. So when G is followed by I, E, or Y, it sounds like /j/. Otherwise it has the sound /g/.

Example:Kern,jewel, Andspinning top(G followed by I, E or Y) have the sound /j/ butSpiel,receive, orGuthas the sound /g/.

4. Q and U are used in pairs! (Has exceptions)

The letter Q is almost always paired with the letter U in the English language. So every time you spell something with a Q, blindly put in a U.

Example:Königin, Quit, Quill, Quillall these words have Q and U paired together.

Exceptions: faqir, cinq, qi these words do not follow the QU pairing rule. However, allthese wordshave different etymological roots.

5. -CK is only used after a short vowel

There are two ways to produce the sound /k/ at the end of words with -CK or -K. Which one should you use?

Remember that -CK is only used after a short vowel!

(Video) Do Larger Breasts Equal Bigger Tips? | MythBusters

So after short vowels that sound like -ah, -eh, -ih, -oh and -uh, use -CK. But we use -K after long vowels.

Example:Sack, Deck, Pick, Rock, BuckThese words end in -CK because they are short vowels. But words likeGentleness, Milk, Book, HookThese words have -K at the end.

6. F, L, and S are doubled at the end of monosyllabic words

Monosyllabic or monosyllabic words are the words with a vowel. Now, if such a monosyllabic word ends with the letters F, L or S, they become double!

Example:reef, magic, fussare monosyllabic words ending in F, L and S.


7. Capitalize proper names

Proper nouns, i.e. names of persons, titles, places or things, must be capitalized.

Example:Jerry, Tom, President, London, BitcoinThese proper nouns start with capital letters.

Search aEvaluation of the basics of spelling? Here is a guide that discusses everything related to the topic with a convenient way of doing it.

5 spelling rule for adults

1. I before E, except after C [*Not a rule, just a spelling tip!]

This is perhaps one of the most well-known spelling rules in the English language. And there is a strong reason for that. Despite the age, a large proportion of English users are often mistaken for the IE or EI problem.

Let's face it, even you got confused spelling words like believe or receive without an autocorrect tool.

So the expanded version of this spelling rule is: I before E except after C, or sounds like A.

That makes everything easy, do you write?

Despite a three-layered guideline, there are a number of words that don't follow this spelling pattern. For example,strange,foreign, orLeisure timedon't follow the spelling pattern.

Example:field, believe, lie, pieceI in front of EGet, Blanket, Frauduses EI since there is a C.Neighbor, beige, weighsounds like A, so EI is used.

(Video) BUSTING 1,000 MYTHS IN 24 HOURS!

Exceptions: As we said before, this is one of the spelling tips, not a concrete rule. There is a long list of exceptions to this spelling tip. This list should help you with that (try to remember it if you can)

Exceptions of the I before E, except after the C rule





Leisure time








2. Spelling rules for adding suffixes after the words ending in Y

Words ending in Y change in different ways when you add suffixes to them. So we would be breaking that one rule on multiple levels

2(A). e-based suffixes (-er, -est, -ed, -es) Change the Y to I

Example:crying > cried (-ed), dry > dried (-ed), baby > babies (-es), story > stories (-es), ugly > uglier (-er) > ugliest (-est).

2 B). -ing suffix does not change the Y

Example:Crying > crying, drying > drying, frying > frying.

2(C). -ly Suffix Replaces the Y in I

Example:Cheerful > happy, cheerful > cheerful, sloppy > sloppy, scary > scary.

Exceptions:Dry > dry, shy > shy.

2(D). -ment suffix does not change the Y

Example:Employ > employ, enjoy > enjoy, repay > repay, employ > use.

Exception:Cheerful > cheerfulness.

3. Spelling rules for plural nouns (-s or -es?)

This is another confusing spelling problem for the adults. Should we use -s or -es for nouns?

Follow this one rule, add -es for words ending in -s, -sh, -x, -z, or -ch.

Everything else uses -s.

Example:Boss > bosses, dish > dishes, box > boxes, batch > batcheshas -s, -sh, -x, -ch at the end.Monkey > monkeys, young > young.

Exceptions for the spelling of plural nouns (ending in -es or -s)




Mango/mangoes (both are correct!)




midgets/midgets (both are correct)










volcanoes/volcanoes (both are correct)


echoes/echoes (both are correct)

4. Use only double consonants when adding suffixes for monosyllabic words

There are many arguments about whether or not to use double consonants when adding the suffixes -ed or -ing.

To be on the safe side, you should only double the final consonant in monosyllabic words.


Example:Good > pitted, grate > grated, rob > rob, wipe > wipe.

Exceptions:Burn > Burn.

5. Drop the silent E at the end while adding a vowel suffix

Many English words have a silent E at the end. Adding a suffix deletes that silent E.

Example:Bite > bite, nurture > nurture, run > race, come > come.

Expectations:Striking, really.

Common misunderstandings and incorrect spelling rules

Many sources strongly enforce different spelling rules that are unfounded and easily debunked. Here are some of those misspelling rules

1. No English word has a double I!

Proof that it's wrong:Radii, skiing, shiitake.

2. English words don't end in I, U, V, or J.

Proof that it's wrong:Hallo(ends with I),Emu(ends with U),Rev(ends in V),Hajj(ends with J)

3. Consonant suffixes do not match spelling.

Proof that it's wrong:Argue > argue, judge > verdict/judgement(both are correct).

4. The silent E at the end is always omitted when a suffix is ​​added.

Proof that it's wrong:Mile > Mileage, Canoe > Canoeing.

(Video) Busting 1,000 Movie Myths In 24 Hours!

5. In a compound word (ZimmerAndmateformroommate,HausAndGuardianformhousekeeper), the spellings of the individual words always remain unchanged.

Proof that it's wrong:past + time > pastime, where + always > wherever.


What is an exception to a common spelling rule? ›

Common exception words are a group of words that appear commonly in both texts and spoken language, but which can't be decoded using normal phonics rules. This could be because they don't follow normal spelling rules or contain unusual letter combinations. Some examples are 'the', 'said' and 'here'.

What are the 31 rules of spelling? ›

NGST Spelling Rules
Rule numberRuleExample word
30The /n/ sound spelt kn and gnknock
31The /r/ sound spelt wr at the beginning of wordswrite
32/33/34/35The /l/ sound spelt -le, -el, -al and -il at the end of wordstable
36The /aɪ/ sound spelt -y at the end of wordscry
71 more rows

What are the most common spelling rules? ›

Spelling Rules
  • Every word has at least one vowel.
  • Every syllable has at least one vowel.
  • C can say /k/ or /s/. ...
  • G can say /g/ or /j/. ...
  • Q is always followed by a u (queen).
  • Double the consonants f, l, and s at the end of a one-syllable word that has just one vowel (stiff, spell, pass).

What are examples of common exception words? ›

Common exception words are words where the usual spelling rule doesn't apply. As children come across unfamiliar spelling and sound patterns in tricky words, their phonics knowledge won't always help them to sound out and read the word; such as the common exception words "sugar", "improve", "climb" and "because".

What are examples of rule exceptions? ›

An exception to a rule does not follow that rule. This word is used for all sorts of things that are not usual or usually allowed. The saying ”i before e except after c,” is about an exception to a spelling rule. If you run every day but take Saturdays off, you're making an exception.

What is spelling rule 15? ›

Spelling Rule 15 - Words with the /k/ sound spelt ch (Greek in origin) (e.g. echo, chemist... etc.) Spelling Rule 15 - Words with the /k/ sound spelt ch (Greek in origin) (e.g. echo, chemist... etc.)

What is spelling rule 14? ›

14. The phonogram ti, si, and ci are the spelling most frequently used to say sh at the beginning of a second or subsequent syllable in a base word. 15. The phonogram si is used to say sh when the syllable before it ends in an s or when the base word has an s where the base word changes.

What are 10 spelling rules? ›

10 Basic English spelling rules
  • Add apostrophes where letters are removed. ...
  • End single syllabus words with double F's and L's. ...
  • Every syllable includes a vowel. ...
  • I before E except after C (most of the time) ...
  • If a word ends in Y, keep all letters when adding a suffix. ...
  • Omit a silent E before adding a suffix. ...
  • S never follows X.
Apr 12, 2022

What are the 5 basic spelling rules? ›

5 Spelling Rules to Know
  • 5 spelling rules to know. 1 I Before E, Except After C. ...
  • 2 Adding suffixes to words that end in y. When you add a suffix that starts with e (such as -ed, -er, or -est) to a word that ends in y, the y usually changes to an i. ...
  • 3 The silent e. ...
  • 4 Double consonants. ...
  • 5 Plural suffixes.
Sep 23, 2022

What is the 7 letter spelling rule? ›

The 7-letter spelling ruleEdit

There is a spelling rule called the '7-letter spelling rule', so called because it comes into effect after seven letters: к, г, х, ш, щ, ж, and ч. When you remove the default ending from a word, you are left with the stem.

What are the 3 great spelling rules? ›

English spelling is challenging. Here are three of the most common spelling rules and a few of their exceptions.
A few of them are:
  • Don't double a consonant that follows another consonant. ...
  • Don't double X or W. ...
  • Don't double consonants after two vowels.

What are the 10 most commonly misspelled words? ›

10 commonly misspelled words
  • 1 Apparent.
  • 2 Believe.
  • 3 Entrepreneur.
  • 4 License.
  • 5 Privilege.
  • 6 Pronunciation.
  • 7 Separate.
  • 8 Tendency.
Jun 2, 2022

What is the 8 letter spelling rule? ›

The 8 Letter Spelling Rule – The Vowels ю and я

The soft vowels ю and я can never follow the velar letters г к х, the silabents ж ч ш щ and ц. Instead, you'll need to use у and а.

What is an exception list its types with example? ›

List of common checked exceptions in Java
Exception classDescription
ClassNotFoundExceptionThis exception is raised when a class cannot be found.
InstantiationExceptionThis exception is raised when an object cannot be instantiated.
NoSuchMethodExceptionThis exception is raised when a method cannot be found.
2 more rows

What are English word exceptions? ›

Exception words are words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way. They are not words for which phonics 'doesn't work', but they may be exceptions to spelling rules, or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way.

How do you write an exception in a sentence? ›

Example Sentences

There will be no exceptions to this rule. I take strong exception to your assessment of his singing ability.

What are the 3 types of exceptions? ›

There are three types of exception—the checked exception, the error and the runtime exception.

What are exceptions two exception types? ›

There are mainly two types of exceptions: checked and unchecked. An error is considered as the unchecked exception.

Should 15 be spelled out? ›

Writing Small and Large Numbers

A simple rule for using numbers in writing is that small numbers ranging from one to ten (or one to nine, depending on the style guide) should generally be spelled out. Larger numbers (i.e., above ten) are written as numerals.

What is simple spelling rules? ›

The main basic spelling rules of English relate to: prefixes and suffixes; spelling and plurals; doubling letters; dropping and adding letters; verb forms. This section focuses on British English but also covers some basic differences in spelling between British and American English.

What are common spelling patterns? ›

Spelling patterns include groups of letters, for example, ought and igh, as well as digraphs, that is two or more letters that represent one speech sound, for example oi (vowel digraph) and ch (consonant digraph).

What is spelling rule 2? ›

Spelling rule #2: doubling consonants. Some words which end in consonants double the last letter when suffixes (extra letters) are added to the end of the word. For example: hot --> hotter.

Should 12 be spelled out? ›

Numerals should be used for numbers 10 and above, but numbers nine and below should be spelled out. 2.

What is the spelling of 15 and 14? ›

11 – Eleven, 12 – Twelve, 13 – Thirteen, 14 – Fourteen, 15 – Fifteen, 16 – Sixteen, 17 – Seventeen, 18 – Eighteen, 19 – Nineteen, 20 -Twenty.

What is 13 spelling? ›

13 in words is written as “Thirteen”. 13 is 3 more than 10. In the number system, 13 is a number that represents a value or a count equivalent to it.

What is the spelling 43? ›

Thus, 43 in words is written as Forty-Three. Thus, the word form of the number 43 is Forty-Three.

How do 7th graders prepare for spelling bee? ›

Individual Spelling Bee Practice Ideas

Write down the most interesting words, and the ones with the trickiest spellings in a spelling notebook. Review it from time to time. 2) Learn your weekly spelling words. Keep a list of the words you miss on quizzes and tests in your spelling notebook.

What are the 4 spelling strategies? ›

Good spellers use a variety of strategies for spelling. These strategies fall into four main categories—phonetic, rule-based, visual, and morphemic.

How do you spell 12 in English? ›

In English, the spelling of 12 is Twelve. It is used to represent a value such as 12 rupees in words, written as Twelve rupees or Rupees Twelve. Learn how to write the number 12 in words in this article.

What is 9 spelling? ›

Generally numbers in words are written using English alphabets. Therefore, in English, the number 9 is written as Nine.

What are the 9 grammar rules? ›

9 English Grammar Rules to Remember
  • Adjectives and adverbs. ...
  • Pay attention to homophones. ...
  • Use the correct conjugation of the verb. ...
  • Connect your ideas with conjunctions. ...
  • Sentence construction. ...
  • Remember the word order for questions. ...
  • Use the right past form of verbs. ...
  • Get familiar with the main English verb tenses.
Dec 29, 2019

What is 231 rule in English? ›

Shortcut Rules:

We should use the personal pronouns in the order of 231 for good results ( I mean, Second Person, Third Person, First Person). The order 123 (First Person, Second Person and Third Person) is also possible when we admit guilt.

What are the 8 types of grammar? ›

The parts of speech are classified differently in different grammars, but most traditional grammars list eight parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. Some modern grammars add others, such as determiners and articles.

What 7-letter word contains 10 words without rearranging the letters? ›

FACT: There is a seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, "therein" -- the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.

When to use Ы and И? ›

Ы and И are allophones, that is they specify the same phoneme. The only difference between them is in that И softens the preceding consonant while Ы does not. Thus any detectable difference in pronunciation is due the influence of the preceding consonant which is either soft or hard.

Which 7-letter word contains thousands of letters *? ›

What's a 7-letter word that contains thousands of letters? 1. Postbox.

What are the most common spelling mistakes? ›

These are the 32 most commonly misspelled words, say grammar experts. How many can you get right?
  1. accommodate. Common misspellings: acommodate, accomodate. ...
  2. acknowledgment. Common misspelling: acknowledgement. ...
  3. acquire. Common misspelling: aquire. ...
  4. apparent. ...
  5. calendar. ...
  6. colleague. ...
  7. conscientious. ...
  8. consensus.
May 7, 2021

What are some Grade 3 spelling words? ›

Some of the 3rd Grade Spelling Words For Kids are almost, about, cry, laugh, cure, point, bedtime, half, brass, enjoy, employ, bear, bring, brought, penny, scratch, flower, happen, dinner, breakfast, high tea, and cracker.

What are 20 hard words to spell? ›

What are the Top 20 Hardest Words to Spell?
  • Nauseous. “Nauseous” is a hard word to spell because of the number of vowels in the word and the pronunciation. ...
  • Dilate. “Dilate” might be easy to spell for some, but its pronunciation makes it more challenging. ...
  • Indict. ...
  • Liquefy. ...
  • Wednesday. ...
  • Sherbet​ ...
  • Bologna. ...
  • Ingenious.

What is the #1 misspelled word? ›

The majority of English-speaking countries, the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia, each have "coolly" and "minuscule" listed as their most-misspelled words, according to WordTips.

What is the #1 hardest word to spell? ›

  • #3: Conscientious. “Conscious” and “conscience” are tricky enough to spell. ...
  • #2: Paraphernalia. Instead of adding a letter like in the case of “orangutan,” people pronouncing this already-tricky word tend to skip over the second “r” altogether. ...
  • #1: Onomatopoeia.
Feb 10, 2023

What is the 8 spelling 8? ›

The spelling of 8 is “Eight.”

Is there a 8 letter word? ›

How many eight letter words are there? According to the Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary, Volume 6, there are more than 80,000 eight letter words.

How many possible 8 letter words are there? ›

How many eight-letter words are there? The official TWL lists more than 80,000 eight letter words that are playable in Scrabble. You may recognize some of the most familiar answers, but more obscure words can be a challenge.

What are the 3 common types of spelling errors? ›

In the samples below, the spelling errors from a student's writing are assembled into three broad categories: phonological (phonetically inaccurate), orthographic (phonetically plausible but inaccurate), and morphologic/syntactic.

What are the three exceptions? ›

There are three types of exception—the checked exception, the error and the runtime exception.

Are there exceptions with some grammar rules? ›

The same vowel rules apply to G with E,I and Y, but there are exceptions: Girl, get, go – and all of its forms; gift, geese, gears, and geyser are all words that give G a G sound instead of J.

What are the exceptions to the doubling rule in spelling? ›

Doubling Rule Exceptions:

Misfit + ing = misfitting. Outfit + ed = outfitted. Refit + ing = refitting. Unfit + ing = unfitting.

Which word is misspelled the most? ›

The majority of English-speaking countries, the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia, each have "coolly" and "minuscule" listed as their most-misspelled words, according to WordTips.

What are the 4 types of spelling errors? ›

Each misspelling has been categorised, and five broad types of error identified. These are sound-based errors, rules-based errors, errors of commission, omission and transposition, writing errors and multiple errors.

What are types of exception? ›

List of common checked exceptions in Java
Exception classDescription
ClassNotFoundExceptionThis exception is raised when a class cannot be found.
InstantiationExceptionThis exception is raised when an object cannot be instantiated.
NoSuchMethodExceptionThis exception is raised when a method cannot be found.
2 more rows

What are the two types of exceptions? ›

There are mainly two types of exceptions: checked and unchecked. An error is considered as the unchecked exception.

How many types of standard exceptions are in? ›

Explanation: There are nine standard exceptions in c++. They are bad_alloc, bad_cast, bad_exception, bad_function_call, bad_typeid, bad_weak_ptr, ios_base::failure, logic_error and runtime_error.

How many exceptions are there in English grammar? ›

5 exceptions to the grammar rules.

What are the 10 grammar rules? ›

The 10 most common ACT English grammar rules
  • Run-ons & Fragments. A complete sentence contains a subject, a predicate verb, and a complete thought. ...
  • Verbs: Subject-Verb Agreement & Verb Tenses. ...
  • Punctuation. ...
  • Idioms. ...
  • Wordiness. ...
  • Parallel Structure. ...
  • Pronouns. ...
  • Modifiers: Adjectives/Adverbs & Modifying Phrases.
Dec 17, 2021

What are 111 words? ›

How do you write 111 in words? We can write the numeral 111 in words as One hundred eleven.

What is 111 rule sentences? ›

The 1-1-1 Rule

Here's what it says: Words of one syllable (1) ending in a single consonant (1) immediately preceded by a single vowel (1) double the consonant before a suffixal vowel (-ing, -ed) but not before a suffixal consonant (-tion).


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