Basic Rules

  • English spellings can be regular or irregular but there’s a system to learn. Regular spellings follow patterns, while irregular ones don’t.

  • Homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings) can be particularly challenging.

  • When spelling words, remember to use the correct form. Verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs all have different forms, and sometimes, different spellings.

Tips to Enhance Spelling

  • Practice is key. Regularly write out words that you find difficult to spell.

  • Make use of spelling tools or apps to self-test.

  • Breakdown challenging words into syllables or smaller parts to make it easier to remember the spelling.

  • Try to learn the root word. Many words in English come from a base word and it improves understanding and encourages correct spelling.

Problematic Areas

  • Words with silent letters (e.g. knee, psalm) can be tricky, so require more attention.

  • Words borrowed from other languages can have unfamiliar spellings, e.g ‘croissant’. Learning to spot these can make them easier to remember.

  • Care should be taken with contractions (e.g. it’s, I’m). Ensure the right form is in use to avoid spelling errors.

  • Beware of aliases, where the same word can have more than one correct spelling (such as colour/color). Stick with the British English version.

Common Spelling Rules

  • I before E except after C: believed, receipt.

  • When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking, it says its name: coat, team.

  • Add -es for names and things in plural form that end in -s, -sh, -ch, -x, and -z: buses, wishes, lunches, boxes, quizzes.

  • When a word ends in a consonant and ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ before adding an ending (unless the ending is -ing): carried, carrying.

  • Words ending with a single vowel and a single consonant, the final consonant is often doubled before adding an ending that begins with a vowel: hopped, hopping.

Proofreading and Error Correction

  • Regular proofreading is crucial to catch and correct spelling mistakes.

  • Reading aloud can be an effective way to spot spelling errors.

  • Use a dictionary to double-check spellings of difficult words.

  • Cross-checking with textbooks, reference materials, or reliable online resources is a good practice.

Remember, even proficient writers make spelling mistakes; the key is to learn from them, so stay positive and persistent!