Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Topic: Spelling, the Dreadful Ordeal (5)

10-second review: Words frequently misspelled.

Title: “In the Age of Computers, Is Spelling Still a Worthwhile Subject in the English Curriculum?” Raymond Stopper. Teaching English, How To…. Xlibris. 2004.

Multi-syllable Words.

accessory, accidentally, accommodate, accompany, accrue, address, apparent, attendance, attorney, banana, battalion, beginning cinnamon, committee, disappear, disappoint, dispel, dissatisfied, embarrass, equipped, erroneous, especially, exaggerate, harass, hemorrhage, irresistible, missionary, molasses, necessary, occasion, occur, occurred, offense, omitted, parallel, politically, possess, preferred, recess, recommend, remittance, repellent, scissors, squirrel, succeed, success, tariff, tenement, threshold, tobacco, vaccinate, villain, warrant, withhold.


i before e, except after c, or when rhyming with a as in neighbor and weigh.

ie: believe, chief, mischief, niece, siege, sieve

cei: ceiling, conceive, receipt, receive

a as in neighbor or weigh: reign, foreign, freight, heir

But: counterfeit, financier, leisure, seize, weird.

Plurals of nouns ending in o

mosquito/mosquitoes; tomato/tomatoes; potato/potatoes

But: Music—altos, pianos, sopranos, etc.

Doubling the final consonant preceded by a vowel with words of two or more syllables:

accented second syllable: prefer’/preferred; occur’/occurred; omit’/omitted; remit’/remitted; repel’/repellent; begin’/beginning; equip’/equipped; refer’/referred.

Accented first syllable: pref’erence; difference.

Doubling the final consonant with words of one syllable ending in a consonant and preceded by a vowel:

chop/chopped; drop/dropped; set/setting.


accidentally; especially; desperately; politically; separately; sincerely; usually.

But: true/truly; whole/wholly.

silent e

desire/ desirable; write/writing; hope/hoping; practice/practicing.

But: noticeable; changeable (to preserve the sounds of “notice” and “change”).

Other Spelling Problems

c/s confusion

consensus; expense; ;nuisance; offense; hypocrisy; defense; glacier; license; licorice.

Pronunciation. words often mispronounced or not pronounced the way they are spelled:

amateur, Antarctic, athletic, auxiliary, bargain, biscuit, buoyant, caterpillar, chamois, circuit, cocoa, comptroller, diphtheria, environment, familiar, February, formerly, gauge, government, handkerchief, height, hygiene, infinitesimal, larynx, league, library, literature, maneuver, minuscule, parliament, plaid, probably, raspberry, rendezvous, restaurant, villain, Wednesday, yolk.

-sede, -ceed, -cede words.

Only one word ends in –sede, supersede.

Only three words end in –ceed, proceed, succeed, exceed.

All other words ending in the sound are spelled –cede: recede, accede, intercede, etc.

Words Frequently Confused:

cereal/serial; colonel/kernel; compliment [praise]/ complement [complete]; stationary [stay in one place]/ stationery [paper]; principle [rule]/ principal [main or school principal].

Silent Letters

benign, consignment, debt, design, diaphragm, eighth, foreign, gingham, guarantee, guess, guest, hemorrhage, indict, khaki, malign, mortgage, pneumonia, pseudonym, psychology, ptomaine, receipt, rendezvous, rhythm, yolk.


mothers-in-law; passers-by; adjutants-general; attorneys-general; cupfuls; spoonfuls; glassfuls.

story/stories: If a word ends in y, preceded by a consonant, change the y to I and add –es.

valley/valleys, monkey/monkeys: If the word ends in –ey, just add s.


beautiful, careful, dutiful, spoonfuls, glassfuls, etc.

Final blog: Personal spelling demons, proofreading and summary.

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