English Spelling

For elementary and pre-intermediate students by Viv Quarry (www.vivquarry.com)

The first step to dominating English spelling is to learn the English alphabet.

There are only seven sounds in the English alphabet:

A
E

I

O
U
F
R
H
B
Y

 

 

Q
L

 

 

J
C

 

 

 

 

W
M

 

 

K
D

 

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

 

 

G

 

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

T

 

 

 

 

 

 

Z(UK)

 

 

 

 

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

/ZED/

 

 

 

 

Z(USA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/ZEE/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singing the alphabet or learning this poem will help you to learn the difficult letters.

A is for Say

E is for Easy

I is for Iodine

G is for Genius

H is in Nature

J is for Jane

K is for OKAY

R is what the doctor tells you to say!

X is for Extra

Y is a question?

Z sounds like red, head & bed

Spelling rules (In English there are exceptions to every rule!)

  1. Plural nouns
  2. Most nouns add 's'

book books, student students

If the noun ends in 'S', 'SH', 'CH' or 'X' add 'ES'

bus buses, church churches, watch watches, box boxes

If it ends in CONSONANT + Y, the 'Y' changes to 'IES'

country countries, party parties

If it ends in VOWEL + Y, add 'S'

boy boys, day days

If it ends 'F' or 'FE', the 'F' changes to 'VES'

wife wives, knife knives

SOME NOUNS ARE IRREGULAR!

child children, woman women, person people, man men, tooth teeth, mouse mice, sheep sheep

  1. The third person (verbs with 'he', 'she' and 'it')
  2. Most verbs add 'S'

wear wears

speak speaks

live lives

GO and DO are different! With them, add 'ES'

go goes, do does

If the verb ends in 'S', 'SH', 'CH' or 'X' add 'ES'

kiss kisses, wash washes, watch watches, fix fixes

If the verb ends in CONSONANT + Y, the 'Y' changes to 'IES'

fly flies, study studies

If the verb ends in VOWEL + Y, add 'S'

play plays

'HAVE' IS IRREGULAR!

have has

  1. Spelling of verb + ing.
  2. Most verbs add 'ING'

wear wearing, go going, cook cooking, hold holding

If the verb ends in 'E', DROP the 'E'

write writing, smile smiling, take taking

ONE SYLLABLE VERBS with ONE VOWEL and END IN A CONSONANT, DOUBLE the CONSONANT

sit sitting, get getting, run running

If the verb ends in 'Y', DON'T DROP the 'Y'!

study studying

  1. There are some differences between British and American spelling.

Words which end in 'ER' in American English, end in 'RE' in British spelling

center (USA) centre (UK)

theater (USA) theatre (UK)

centimeter (USA) centimetre (UK)

Final 'L' is usually doubled in British English

traveling (USA) travelling (UK)

Some nouns are spelt differently in British and American English

traveler's checks (USA) traveller's cheques (UK)

Practice exercises

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