Write well : tips for better spelling

Writing well, be it for a weblog, a professional email or a memo, holds an important part in the process of being understood and convincing others. With fast medias such as mails and blogs, people often tend to write quicker, and misspelling becomes too common. Here are a few rules, nothing hard to memorize, to help improve one’s spelling.

Simple rules

  • Identify prefixes and suffixes
    When a word has a prefix (group of letters at the beginning), or a suffix (trailing letter or group of letters), imagine a hyphen between them and the main word : it will help guess the correct spelling.
    Examples : misspelled or mispelled ? mis – spelled. Under-rate. Actual-ly.
  • Doubling the end consonant on monosyllabe words
    When a monosyllable (a word of one syllable) ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, you double the consonant before adding ing, ed, er, est.
    Examples : big → bigger. star → starring.
  • Doubling the end consonant on longer words
    When a word of more than one syllable ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, and when the accent is on the last syllable, you double the consonant before adding ing, ed, er, est.
    Example : forbid → forbidden.
    Counterexample : empower → empowering.
  • Drop trailing silent e
    When a word ends in a consonant followed by a silent e, drop the e before you add ing.
    Example : drive → driving.
  • Trailing Y
    When a word ends in y preceded by a consonant, keep the y before adding ing, but change the y to i before adding es or ed.
    Example : cry → crying, cried.
  • Use I Before E Except After C. Usually
    With words in which ei or ie are pronounced like the ee in seem, use ei after c, and ie after other consonants.
    Example : receive, perceive — field, believe
    This does not apply if ie is pronounced like the a in late.
    Example : eight.
  • Find the seed
    Only one word ends in sede: supersede.
    Only three words end in ceed: exceed, proceed, succeed.
    All other words ending with this pronunciation use cede: concede, precede, etc.
  • Learn Homophones
    Word sounding the same but meaning different things are common mistakes. Pay attention to their sense.
    Examples : than / then, born / borne, lose / loose, there / their / they’re.

Extra tips

  • Pronounce words
    When unsure, pronounce words with a clear voice
  • Don’t rely on spellcheckers
    Use them cautiously, they cannot guess homonyms. Want a tip ? My favorite spellchecker is… Google, which often suggests the proper spelling of nouns.
  • Use a dictionary
    And keep one within easy reach.

Other articles filed in the same categories :

blogging, communication, education, writing

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