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Exceptions to Spelling Rules

Posted on March 10, 2011 | Comments Off on Exceptions to Spelling Rules

Since we were children and were taught spelling in school we were taught that there some rules used to spell words that if we remembered these rules, it would be easier to remember how to spell. These rules are known as mnemonics. These mnemonics are used to remember how many days are in the months; like the familiar saying “30 days hath September…” and the first letters of the five great lakes in the U.S. spell the word HOMES. The best recommendation is the use of a web spell checker not only due to the endless amount of rules governing how words are spelled; because of the countless amount of exceptions to these rules. If you do not know how to check spelling via a web spell checker; now is the time to familiarize yourself with these free and readily available tools.

The usual first spelling rule we are taught is “I before E, except after C” but it has been found that there are more exceptions to this rule than that words that governed it in the first place. This rule covers “IE” words like; siege, thief, belief and then the “EI” words like; receive, deceive, and conceit.

There a several exceptions to the “I before E” rule and here are a few in American English:

“EI” not preceded by “C;” beige, deign, dreidel, eight, feign, feint, freight, geisha, greige, neigh, neighbo(u)r, and peignoir.

But the “I” before “E” rule is not the only one that will guide us on how to check spelling. Another rule that assists us to avoid misspelling words is:

When words ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel and the word is one syllable or accented on the last syllable, then we should double the final consonant when adding a vowel suffix. Examples of this rule are:

beg ~ begged ~ begging
occur ~ occurred ~ occurring

Some exceptions to this rule:

flow ~ flowed ~ flowing
fix ~ fixed ~ fixing

When adding a vowel suffix to a word ending in -e the -e is dropped:

care ~ cared~ caring
desire ~ desired ~ desiring


canoe ~ canoeing
mile ~ mileage
dye ~ dyeing

Adding a consonant suffix does not change the spelling of a word:

pain ~ painful
complete ~ completely


argue ~ argument
judge ~ judgment
nine ~ ninth
true ~ truly

When two words are joined to form a compound word, omit no letters:

room + mate = roommate
book + keeper = bookkeeper
house + coat = housecoat


past + time = pastime
where + ever = wherever

The above rules are just a small sample of the numerous rules and exceptions to those rules, so use the web spell checker to avoid misspellings at all costs!

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