1   i before e except after c, if the sound is ee .

            e.g. believe, achieve, chief, siege, deceit, receipt, ceiling

            Exception to the rule: seize, counterfeit, weir(d), species.)

            Note: The rule does not apply when ie or ei is not pronounced  ee.  


      2   Verbs ending in –eed and –ede

           With suc-, ex- and pro-    

           Double ee must be.   e.g. succeed, exceed, proceed

           Otherwise: intercede, precede, recede, concede.


      3  c or s?

           Usually the noun has c; the verb s.

           e.g. prophecy (noun) to prophesy (verb)

           advice (noun)   to advise (verb)

           In some cases either c or s  is used for both the noun and the verb e.g. practice, license.)


      4 Doubling the letter before –ing, -ed, and other suffixes which start with a vowel,   

         e.g.,  -er -est, -able)  The final consonant is doubled before –ing, ed, etc.

         (a) in words containing a single short vowel (e.g. tap, hop):

              e.g. hopping (short) as opposed to hoping (long) 

              Distinguish: shinning (up a tree), shining (sun) starring, staring; scarred, scared

              dinner, diner (A diner eats a dinner.)

         (b) in longer words where the stress falls on a short vowel at the end of the word:

              e.g. begin(ning), occur(red), (p)referred, committed, admitted, fulfilling, regrettable,


                     but not when the stress is elsewhere:e.g. offer(ing), happening, benefited, galloped

                     preference (Exceptions: handicapped, kidnapped.)

      5  Plurals

          The general rule is to add an “s”, or after s, x, ch, sh, z, to add “es.”

               (a) If the noun ends in a consonant followed by a y drop the y and add “ies”:

                    e.g. fairy – fairies; monastery—monasteries; lady —ladies; ally—allies; story—stories

                    If the noun ends in a vowel followed by y, simply add s.

                    e.g. donkeys, valleys, monkeys, chimneys, alleys, boys, trays

                (b) Nouns ending in o, except for those listed below add s: e.g dynamos, photos

                      Exceptions: tomatoes, potatoes, heroes, mosquitoes, echoes, mottoes,                     

                      torpedoes, cargoes, volcanoes, vetoes, embargoes, tornadoes, dominoes,

                      buffaloes, desperadoes, haloes, noes.)

                 (c) Nouns ending in f and fe. There is no rule, though attention to  the pronunciation  

                       helps e.g. calves, wives, knives, halves, shelves, thieves, loaves, roofs, proofs, chiefs

                       Some have either: e.g. hoofs/hooves, wharfs/wharves


                (d) Some nouns keep their foreign plurals:

                      e.g. crisis—crises; oasis—oases

                     criterion—criteria; phenomenon—phenomena

                     terminus—termini (or uses); larva—larvae

                     medium—media (but mediums to contact)

                (e) Hyphenated compounds usually add the s to the main noun part:

                      e.g. passers-by, sons-in-law

                 (f) A few nouns have the same form in singular and plural:

                      e.g. sheep, aircraft


       6  Words with prefix dis- or mis-

          Do not add extra letters when a word contains the prefix dis- or mis-:

           e.g. dis + appear = disappear dis + appoint = disappoint

           A double s will appear only when the word to which the prefix is added starts with an s:

           e.g. service           disservice

                  spell               misspell

                  satisfied         dissatisfied


       7  Suffixes –ful, -fully; -al, -ally

          (a) Adjectives formed with the suffix –ful or –al (e.g. careful, actual) have one l.

           (b) When forming adverbs add –ly as usual:

                   e.g. careful           carefully

                        beautiful          beautifully

                        real                   really

                        accidental        accidentally

                        actual                actually

           (c) Adjectives ending in –ic form adverbs in –ically (except, publicly):

                   e.g. basically, terrifically, fantastically


       8  Words ending in a silent e

           (a) These usually keep the e before suffixes which begin with a consonant:

                e.g. hopeful, arrangement, sincerely, completely

                (Exceptions: argument, truly, duly, wholly.)

           (b) If the suffix begins with a vowel the e is usally dropped:

                   e.g. come—coming; argue—arguing; inquire—inquiry; subtle—subtly

                   (Verbs ending in –oe do not drop the e: e.g. canoeing, hoeing.)

             C After words ending in –ce or –ge the e must be kept so that the c/g

                remains  a “soft” sound (i.e. as in Cecil or George, not “hard” as in catgut):

                e.g. noticeable, serviceable, manageable, courageous, singeing (burning

                     (Contrast the pronunciation of singing, navigable, practicable.)

      9  Words ending in –y

            (a) Words ending in –y preceded by a consonant change the y to i before any    

                  suffix   except ing

                   e.g. cry                 cried                crying

                          try                  tried                trying    

                          dry                 dries, drier      drying

                          satisfy            satisfied          satisfying

                          hungry           hungrier,         hungrily        

                          necessary      necessarily

                    (Exceptions: shyly, slyer, spryest, dryness)

           (b) Verbs like lie, die, tie, become lying, dying, tying. (To dye [clothes] becomes dyeing.)

      10  Words ending in -ic     These add a k before –ing, -ed, -er:  

                   e.g. picnic       picnicking

                          panic        panicking

                          mimic      mimicked

                          traffic       trafficker

      11 Prefixes fore-, for, ante, anti

            (a) The prefix fore- means in front or beforehand: e.g. forewarn, forecast, 

                   forestall, foreground (Contrast: forbid, forbearance.)

           (b)Ante- means before; anti- means against: e.g. antenatal, anteroom; antidote, antiseptic