The English language has one of the most difficult spelling systems of all world languages.  For example, it’s the only European language that has more than 1,000 unpredictable spellings. The average English-speaking child takes three times the time of children with a different native tongue to learn reading and writing, according to research conducted in 2003. It is for these reasons that spelling help is important for English language learners to improve their spelling. Some basic rules can make English spelling a little easier.

Doubling letters following vowels

Whether or not the letter after the vowel is doubled depends on the length of the vowel. A short vowel will be followed by a doubled consonant in most cases, while a long vowel will be followed by a single consonant. In the word ‘latter’ for example, the short vowel ‘A’ is followed by a double ‘T’, as opposed to the word ‘later’ where the ‘A’ vowel is long, and followed by a single ‘T’. Other examples include holly vs. holy and dinner vs. dine.

The removal of the letter ‘E’

Whether or not the ‘E’ should be omitted in word variations depends on the letter that will follow the ‘E’ in the word variation. If the ‘E’ will be followed by a consonant, it is kept, but if a vowel is to follow the ‘E’ in the new word, the ‘E’ is canceled. An example of this is the word ‘grace’; the ‘E’ is kept when it is turned into ‘graceful’ because the ‘E’ is followed by a consonant.  On the other hand, in the word ‘lovable’ the ‘E’ in ‘love’ is lost because it would have been followed by the vowel ‘A’. Other examples for the ‘E’ letter omission are:

  • Love – Loving
  • Save – Saving
  • Take – Taking
  • Fame – Famous

Examples where the letter ‘E’ is kept are:

  • Time – Timely
  • Hope – Hopeful
  • Live – Lively

Plurals of the words ending in ‘Y’

Turning a word that ends with the letter ‘Y’ into a plural can be confusing. The rule here is that if the letter ‘Y’ is preceded by a vowel, a letter ‘S’ is added after the ‘Y’. Examples here include:

  • Boy – Boys
  • Toy – Toys

If the ‘Y’ is preceded with a consonant; however, the ‘Y’ is turned into ‘ies’, like in the word ‘baby’. Here, the letter before the ‘Y’ is a consonant letter ‘B’, so when turned into the plural ‘babies’, the ‘Y’ is replaced with ‘ies’. Other examples include:

  • Ability – Abilities
  • Fairy – Fairies

The rules above (and many others) are considered important in developing English spelling, but some unpredictably spelled words can only be learned through practice. One way to improve spelling is the use of spelling help through the specialized software Ultimate Spelling, or another high-quality spelling-focused system.

About Ultimate Spelling™ 

Ultimate Spelling provides a modern and easy to use spelling software that has been designed with one goal in mind – making children WANT to learn. 

It is a fast and easy way to master even the most complicated spelling, without the need to write long lists or complete boring tests. 

In fact, Ultimate Spelling provides more than just spelling help. It is a complete educational resource that boosts all level of a child’s literacy. 

Containing a personal computer tutor, Ultimate Spelling is the most realistic step-by-step guide to flawless spelling ability. 

To find out more and get on the road to better spelling, please visit:

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