Many people can write. Many people can write well. There are also some great writers, yet even though they are great writers, their spelling sometimes can be horrific. They rely heavily on their spellcheckers on their computers, but even the spellcheckers can’t identify every misspelled word or incorrectly used word, especially if the word is a homonym (words that sound the same but are spelled differently).
Misspelled words send negative messages about the writer and create doubt about the writer’s ability and credibility. If you are one of those good writers, or even a great writer, and have trouble spelling words correctly even after using your spellchecker, never fear. Here are some easy hints for helping yourself spell a word when your spellchecker falls short.
To begin with, create a personal spelling list of your own. This could be a list of words you have difficulty spelling. Then add other commonly misspelled words to your list and keep as a reference list when you begin your writing projects.
Use a dictionary when you are unsure of the spelling of a word or if your spellchecker doesn’t identify the word as a misspelled word. Spellcheckers cannot find every misspelled word or tell you if you have used a word incorrectly as with homonyms (ie. there, their, they’re).
There are five basic spelling hints that can help you spell correctly.
Words that end in -e:
Drop the final e when the suffix begins with a vowel.
(believe + -ing = believing)
Keep the final e when the suffix begins with a consonant.
(bereave + -ment = bereavement)
Words using ie or ei:
Use ie generally
Except after c, use ei
Use ei in words with the ay sound
Use ie in words with the shen sound
Words that end in -y:
If the letter before the final y is a consonant, change the y to i and add the suffix.
(funny + -er = funnier)
If the letter before the final y is a consonant, and the suffix begins with i, keep the final y, and add the suffix.
(fry + -ing = frying)
If the letter before the final y is a vowel, keep the final y and add the suffix.
(deploy + -ed = deployed)
Words that double the final consonant:
When adding suffixes to one-syllable words, if the last two letters are a vowel followed by a consonant, double the final consonant.
(fat + -er = fatter)
When adding suffixes to words of more than one syllable, follow these two rules:
If the accent is on the last syllable and the suffix begins with a vowel, double the final consonant.
(begin + -ing = beginning)
If the accent is not on the last syllable and the suffix begins with a vowel, do not double the final consonant.
(offer + -ed = offered)
If the accent is on the last syllable and the suffix begins with a consonant, do not double the final consonant
(forget + -ful = forgetful)
Adding -s or -es to form plurals:
Add -s to most words, including words that end in -ch (sounding like k), -f, -ff, -ffe, and -o (when preceded by a vowel). Exceptions: Words ending in -fe, change to -ves.
(grades, stomachs, beliefs, staffs, giraffes, radios, knives)
Add -es to words that end in -s, -ss, -sh, -x, -z, -ch, and -o (when preceded by a consonant).
(buses, glasses, dishes, boxes, quizzes, beaches, and potatoes)
Using these five basic spelling hints can help improve your writing. Spelling errors in an otherwise great piece of writing create serious doubts in the reader’s mind about the writer’s abilities and credibility. Improving your spelling skills can only make your writing strong and send positive messages to your audience that you are credible and capable of writing skillfully.