Rules for Spelling
Understanding rules for spelling is helpful in mastering proper grammar and other essential grammar concepts. This page will quickly give you a foundation in rules for spelling. The following rules are deemed important in practice, although they assist us in spelling only a small portion of the words of our language.
RULES FOR SPELLING
SPELLING is the art of expressing a word by its proper letters.
The following rules are deemed important in practice, although they
assist us in spelling only a small portion of the words of our language.
This useful art is to be chiefly acquired by studying the spelling-book
and dictionary, and by strict attention in reading.
RULE I. Monosyllables ending in f, l, or s, double the final or
ending consonant when it is preceded by a single vowel; as staff,
mill, pass. Exceptions; of, if, is, as, lids, was, yes, his, this,
us, and thus.
False Orthography for the learner to correct.—Be thou like the
gale that moves the gras, to those who ask thy aid.—The aged hero
comes forth on his staf; his gray hair glitters in the beam.—Shal
mortal man be more just than God?—Few know the value of health til
they lose it.—Our manners should be neither gros, nor excessively
And that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:
I have more care to stay, than wil to go.
RULE II. Monosyllables ending in any consonant but f, l, or s, never
double the final consonant when it is preceded by a single vowel; as,
man, hat. Exceptions; add, ebb, butt, egg, odd, err, inn, bunn,
purr, and buzz.
False Orthography.—None ever went sadd from Fingal.—He rejoiced
over his sonn.—Clonar lies bleeding on the bedd of death.—Many a
trapp is set to insnare the feet of youth.
The weary sunn has made a golden sett,
And, by the bright track of his golden carr,
Gives token of a goodly day to-morrow.
RULE III. Words ending in y, form the plural of nouns, the persons of
verbs, participial nouns, past participles, comparatives, and
superlatives, by changing y into i, when the y is preceded by a
consonant; as, spy, spies; I carry, thou carriest, he carries;
carrier, carried; happy, happier, happiest.
The present participle in ing, retains the y that i may not be
doubled; as, carry, carrying.
But when y is preceded by a vowel, in such instances as the above,
it is not changed into i; as, boy, boys; I cloy, he cloys; except
in the words lay, pay, and say I from which are formed laid, paid,
and said; and their compounds, unpaid, unsaid, &c.
False Orthography.—Our fancys should be governed by reason.—Thou
wearyest thyself in vain.—He denyed himself all sinful pleasures.
Win straiing souls with modesty and love;
Cast none away.
The truly good man is not dismaied by poverty.
Ere fresh morning streak the east, we must be risen to reform yonder allies green.
RULE IV. When words ending in y, assume an additional syllable
beginning with a consonant, the y, if it is preceded by a consonant,
is commonly changed to i; as, happy, happily, happiness.
But when y is preceded by a vowel, in such instances, it is very
rarely changed to i; as, coy, coyless; boy, boyish; boyhood; joy,
False Orthography.—His mind is uninfluenced by fancyful
humors.—The vessel was heavyly laden.—When we act against
conscience, we become the destroiers of our own peace.
Christiana, mayden of heroic mien!
Star of the north! of northern stars the queen!
RULE V. Monosyllables, and words accented on the last syllable,
ending with a single consonant that is preceded by a single vowel,
double that consonant when they assume another syllable that begins
with a vowel; as, wit, witty; thin, thinnish; to abet, an abetter.
But if a diphthong precedes, or the accent is not on the last
syllable, the consonant remains single; as, to toil, toiling; to offer,
an offering; maid, maiden.
False Orthography.—The business of to-day, should not be defered
till to-morrow.—That law is annuled.—When we have outstriped our
errors we have won the race.—By defering our repentance, we
accumulate our sorrows.—The Christian Lawgiver has prohibited many
things which the heathen philosophers allowed.
At summer eve, when heaven's aerial bow
Spans with bright arch the glitterring hills below.—
Thus mourned the hapless man; a thunderring sound
Rolled round the shudderring walls and shook the ground.
RULE VI. Words ending in double l, in taking ness, less, ly, or
ful, after them, generally omit one l; as, fulness, skilless, fully
But words ending in any double letter but l, and taking ness, less,
ly, or ful, after them, preserve the letter double; as,
harmlessness, carelessness, carelessly, stiffly, successful.
False Orthography.—A chillness generally precedes a fever.—He is
wed to dullness.
The silent stranger stood amazed to see
Contempt of wealth and willful poverty.
Restlesness of mind impairs our peace.—The road to the blisful
regions, is as open to the peasant as to the king.—The arrows of
calumny fall harmlesly at the feet of virtue.
RULE VII. Ness, less, ly, or ful, added to words ending in silent
e, does not cut it off; as, paleness, guileless, closely, peaceful;
except in a few words; as, duly, truly, awful.
False Orthography.—Sedatness is becoming.
All these with ceasless praise his works behold.
Stars rush: and final ruin fiercly drives
Her ploughshare o'er creation!
———Nature made a pause,
An aweful pause! prophetic of her end!
RULE VIII. When words ending in silent e, assume the termination,
ment, the e should not be cut off; as, abatement, chastisement.
Ment, like other terminations, changes y into i when the y is
preceded by a consonant; as, accompany, accompaniment; merry,
False Orthography.—A judicious arrangment of studies facilitates
improvment.—Encouragment is greatest when we least need it.
To shun allurments is not hard,
To minds resolv'd, forwarn'd, and well prepared.
RULE IX. When words ending in silent e, assume the termination, able
or ible, the e should generally be cut off; as, blame, blamable;
cure, curable; sense, sensible. But if c or g soft comes before e
in the original word, the e is preserved in words compounded with
able; as, peace, peaceable; change, changeable.
False Orthography.—Knowledge is desireable.—Misconduct is
inexcuseable.—Our natural defects are not chargable upon us.—We
are made to be servicable to others as well as to ourselves.
RULE X. When ing or ish is added to words ending in silent
e, the e is almost always omitted; as, place, placing; lodge,
lodging; slave, slavish; prude, prudish.
False Orthography.—Labor and expense are lost upon a droneish
spirit.—An obligeing and humble disposition, is totally unconnected
with a servile and cringeing humor.
Conscience anticipateing time,
Already rues th' unacted crime.
One self-approveing hour, whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas.
RULE XI. Compound words are generally spelled in the same manner as the
simple words of which they are compounded; as, glasshouse, skylight,
thereby, hereafter. Many words ending in double l, are exceptions to
this rule; as, already, welfare, wilful, fulfil; and also the words,
wherever, christmas, lammas, &c.
False Orthography.—The Jew's pasover was instituted in A.M.
2513.—They salute one another by touching their forheads.—That
which is some times expedient, is not allways so.
Then, in the scale of reasoning life 'tis plain,
There must be, somwhere, such a rank as man.
Till hymen brought his lov-delighted hour,
There dwelt no joy in Eden's rosy bower.
The head reclined, the loosened hair,
The limbs relaxed, the mournful air:—
See, he looks up; a wofull smile
Lightens his wo-worn cheek awhile.
You may now answer the following