Spelling Tips for Children and Parents

The English language has many confusing spelling rules. Some of the more commonly used spelling rules are presented in this article, along with a list of some commonly misspelled words.

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Teachers and parents often notice their students misspell very common words. The English language has different grammatical rules. Below are some spelling rules that can be of great help to your child. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions to every rule.

I Before E

Perhaps the best known spelling rule is, I before E, except after C; or when sounded like 'A' as in neighbor or weigh. Children have been learning this little rhyme, also known as a mnemonic device, for decades. Some exceptions to this rule are: either, foreign, height, and weird. Words with 'cien' as in science and ancient are also exceptions.

-Able and -Ible

Knowing whether to end a word with -able or -ible can be hard to memorize. Instead of having to memorize each individual word, the following rule usually works: -able words are complete without this ending; -ible words are usually incomplete when you remove the suffix. For example is the word negligible; if you remove ible from the end, 'neglig' is not a word!

The Silent E

Silent E helps vowels to say their names is another common adage. This means that the words which have a long vowel sound, followed by a consonant, usually end with a silent E. This helps children remember word endings. Examples that help children understand are rate and rat, as well as hate and hat.

Walking Vowels

When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking. This helps children remember which vowel goes first when there are two in a row. For example, tea is not tae because the vowel sounds like 'eee.'

Commonly Misspelled Words

  • absence
  • accommodation
  • believe
  • calendar
  • campaign
  • canceled
  • cancellation
  • conscience
  • conscious
  • desperately
  • embarrass
  • exceed
  • forfeit
  • guarantee
  • harass
  • harassment
  • irrelevant
  • judgment
  • license
  • mischievous
  • misspell
  • necessary
  • neighbor
  • offense
  • parallel
  • potato
  • potatoes
  • receipt
  • receive
  • recommend
  • separate
  • siege
  • subtly
  • succeed
  • thoroughly
  • vacuum
  • weird
  • whether
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