English can be difficult because few words are spelled phonetically, and every rule has exceptions. But you can become a champ in no time by memorizing a few basic rules.
Step 1: Remember "I" before "E" Remember that the letter "I" comes before "E" except after "C" or when sounding like "A" as in neighbor or weigh.
TIP: Exceptions include either, neither, weird, and seize.
Step 2: Learn when to double Double the final consonant before adding an ending if the root word is:
One syllable long and ends in a consonant preceded by a vowel; Or stressed on the last syllable
Step 3: Know when not to double Don't double the final consonant if the root word is: One syllable long and ends in either two vowels followed by a consonant, or two consonants. Stress is on the first syllable.
Step 4: Know when to drop the "e" Drop the "e" at the end of a word if you're adding an ending that begins with a vowel. If the ending starts with a consonant, keep the "e."
TIP: If a root word ends in "-ce" or "-ge" keep the "e" when you add "-able" or "-ous."
Step 5: Know "y" If you're adding an ending to a word that ends in "y", only change the "y" to "i" if a consonant comes before the "y."
Step 6: Obey pluralization rules To make words plural, add "-es" to words ending in "ss" "sh" "ch" and "x." Otherwise, just add an "s."
If the word ends in a consonant and then a "y", change the "y" to "I" before adding an "es."
TIP: Most nouns ending in "f" or "fe" add "ves." But as with all English rules, there are many exceptions.
Step 7: Know when to pick "-ick" Spell a word that ends with the sound "-ick" with an i-c-k if it's one syllable, and with i-c if it's two syllables. The exception is compound words – a word made by joining two words. They always end in i-c-k.
FACT: Researchers have found no link between being a bad speller and a lack of intelligence.