SpellCheck Assistant

Archive for the ‘spellcheck’ tag

Spelling Rules Exceptions

without comments

What school child has not wondered at the implication of so many exceptions to spelling rules? The rules have so many exceptions they hardly seem like rules at all, especially to younger students. Elementary students have been known to ask, “Why have rules if there are so many exceptions?” While adults can see some method to the madness, occasionally even grown ups find exceptions confusing. A few rules are truly useful though even if they do have exceptions.

One essential but confusing rule is “i before e except after c.” In words like ‘receive’ we pronounce the e because in the last syllable there are three vowels, so naturally the first one to occur would be sounded, according to “when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking, with a long sound.” so this word follows the normal pattern without the rule, but follows “i before e except after c” because there is a c. The word ‘belief’ however follows the “i before e” rule even though the vowels are pronounced e, we put the i first.

Adding suffixes to words ending in y is a process involving so many rules and exceptions that it is simply easier to memorize how to spell the words than to memorize all the rules. Among the many rules is this rule: If the word ends in a consonant followed by a y, change the y to i before adding the suffix. Therefore exceptions for words ending in a vowel plus y are understood as an exception to the rule of changing the y to i. However many words break this rule, with no explanation of the exception. The word “shyness” for example has no rule to explain the presence of the y.

There is some logic to these exceptions which are designed to prevent different words from being spelled the same, as suffixes are added. For example changing mop to mopping (cleaning the floor) and mope to moping (brooding, pouting and being gloomy) is necessary to prevent confusion. This is the reason that we drop the e from words ending in e and do not double the letter, while words ending in a consonant usually have the letter doubled.

There is also the motive of making words easier to pronounce, such as wife and wives or fox and foxes. Generally in English words are made plural simply by adding s but with words that already end in s, x or ss, we can’t hear the extra s when the word is read. For that reason we add an es to help in pronouncing the words. Changing f to v just sounds better but it isn’t changed in words like roof to roofs. There isn’t an official rule and exception for this. These are words are just called irregular, and one must memorize them. If memory fails there is always web spell checker.

Learning how to check spelling with internet and software resources is very easy. Microsoft Word has an excellent spell check feature, which underlines misspelled words in red. If a word is underlined in red, right click on it to see possible spelling options. Some browsers have automatic spell check. Google Chrome for example underlines misspelled words in red automatically just like spell check in Microsoft Word. Another way to spell check is to type the word into a Google search. Simply type your best guess on how to spell the word, and Google will offer the correct spelling in the results. There are many web spell checker options, and reading the instructions will explain how to check spelling.

Written by admin

March 10th, 2011 at 1:43 pm