Spelling Rule 1: C always softens to /s/ when followed by E, I, or Y. Otherwise C says /k/.

Spelling Rules Work Together With the Phonograms

These rules describe where phonograms will say different sounds in English words, which spellings may be used in different contexts, and other patterns in the spelling of English words.

Logic of English Spelling Rules

Rule 1: C always softens to /s/ when followed by E, I, or Y. Otherwise, C says /k/.

Rule 2: G may soften to /j/ only when followed by E, I, or Y. Otherwise, G says /g/.

Rule 3: English words do not end in I, U, V, or J.

Rule 4: A E O U usually say their long sounds at the end of the syllable.

Rule 5: I and Y may say /ĭ/ or /ī/ at the end of a syllable.

Rule 6: When a one-syllable word ends in a single-vowel Y, it always says /ī/.

Rule 7: Where I and Y may say long /ē/:

Rule 8: I and O may say /ī/ and /ō/ when followed by two consonants.

Rule 9: AY usually spells the sound /ā/ at the end of a base word.

Rule 10: When a word ends with the phonogram A, it says /ä/. A may also say /ä/ after a W or before an L.

Rule 11: Q always needs a U; therefore, U is not a vowel here.

Rule 12: Silent Final E Rules:

Rule 13: Drop the silent final E when adding a vowel suffix only if it is allowed by other spelling rules.

Rule 14: Double the last consonant when adding a vowel suffix to words ending in one vowel followed by one consonant only if the syllable before the suffix is stressed.*

*This is always true for one-syllable words.

Rule 15: Single-vowel Y changes to I when adding any ending, unless the ending begins with I.

Rule 16: Two I’s cannot be next to one another in English words.

Rule 17: TI, CI, and SI are used only at the beginning of any syllable after the first one.

Rule 18: SH spells /sh/ at the beginning of a base word and at the end of the syllable. SH never spells /sh/ at the beginning of any syllable after the first one, except for the ending -ship.

Rule 19 To make a verb past tense, add the ending -ED unless it is an irregular verb.

Rule 20: -ED, past tense ending, forms another syllable when the base word ends in /d/ or /t/. Otherwise, -ED says /d/ or /t/.

Rule 21: To make a noun plural, add the ending -S, unless the word hisses or changes; then add -ES. Some nouns have no change or an irregular spelling.

Rule 22: To make a verb 3rd person singular, add the ending -S, unless the word hisses or changes; then add -ES. Only four verbs are irregular. (has, does, goes, is)

Rule 23: AL- is a prefix written with one L when preceding another syllable.

Rule 24: -FUL is a suffix written with one L when added to another syllable.

Rule 25: DGE is used only after a single vowel which says its short (first) sound.

Rule 26: CK is used only after a single vowel which says its short (first) sound.

Rule 27: TCH is used only after a single vowel which says its short or broad sound.

Rule 28: AUGH, EIGH, IGH, OUGH. Phonograms ending in GH are used only at the end of a base word or before the letter T. The GH is either silent or pronounced /f/.

Rule 29: Z, never S, spells /z/ at the beginning of a base word.

Rule 30: We often double F, L, and S after a single, short or broad vowel at the end of a base word. Occasionally other letters also are doubled.

Rule 31: Schwa Rules

Some of the Spelling Rules Explain Tens of Thousands of Words!


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