|1. Basic English Spelling Facts||2. Spelling Clues||3. Word Families||4. More Families||5. Word Fun||6. Some Rules||8. Weird Words||Say-it-in-English Entry Page|
Absolutely Ridiculous English Spelling
Lesson 7. More Spelling Rules That Work Sometimes
It is difficult to separate Spelling from Pronunciation, because in most languages one depends on the other. The letters with which a word is spelled determine how that word is pronounced, OR the way a word is pronounced determines which letters are used to spell that word. This is true in the languages we are familiar with - French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic and others. English often does not follow this pattern.
Rule 1: There is a Rule that says if a one-syllable word has a single vowel followed by a single consonant followed by a silent e, the first vowel is pronounced with a long vowel sound (the sound of the name of the letter).
For example, HAT with a short A sound becomes HATE with a Long A sound; FAR with a Soft A sound becomes FARE with a Long A sound; BIT with a Short I sound becomes BITE with a Long I sound; NOT with a Short O sound becomes NOTE with a Long O sound. Here are several more words that follow this pattern of being pronounced with a long vowel sound with a silent E at the end:
|GAL becomes GALE||PAL becomes PALE||BAR becomes BARE||CAR becomes CARE||FAR becomes FARE|
|MAR becomes MARE||PAR becomes PARE||TAR becomes TARE||WAR becomes WARE||WOK becomes WOKE|
|FAT becomes FATE||GAT becomes GATE||HAT becomes HATE||MAT becomes MATE||PAT becomes PATE|
|RAT becomes RATE||MIL becomes MILE||"TIL becomes TILE||PAN becomes PANE||FIR becomes FIRE|
|SIR becomes SIRE||DIM becomes DIME||RIM becomes RIME||TIM becomes TIME||DIN becomes DINE|
|FIN becomes FINE||PIN becomes PINE||TIN becomes TINE||WIN becomes WINE||HER becomes HERE|
|CAM becomes CAME||DAM becomes DAME||GAM becomes GAME||LAM becomes LAME||TAM becomes TAME|
|WOK becomes WOKE||BIT becomes BITE||KIT becomes KITE||SIT becomes SITE||BAN becomes BANE|
|MAN becomes MANE|
Can you depend on this rule to help you spell words that have long vowel sounds? Sometimes. The word families illustrated on previous pages give you many exceptions to worry about. Example: When you hear a one-syllable word with a Long E sound, you may think, "This is a word with E + consonant + Silent E." You would be correct if the word were 'HERE'. But what about BEER, FEAR, TIER and the hundreds of other words that spell the Long E sound differently?
SOFT AND HARD C AND G
Rule 2: This is a Rule English shares, at least in part, with several other languages. The Rule says:
|Soft C words||Hard C words|
|Soft G words||Hard G words|
A good example of the unpredictable nature of this rule is guilt (the fact of having broken a legal or moral law), pronounced with a Hard G because of the silent U after the G, gilt (gold-covered), pronounced the same way, with a Hard G, and in violation of the rule, and jilt , (to break off a romantic relationship when the other person doesn't want to), with a J which is pronounced with the Soft G sound and follows the rule.
CONCLUSION: Although there are some exceptions to this rule, you can rely on it most of the time.
Rule 3:SHORT VOWEL SOUND BEFORE TWO CONSONANTS
In nearly all one-syllable words that have a single vowel followed by two consonants, the single vowel will have a Short Vowel sound. To relate this to spelling, if you hear a one-syllable word with a Short Vowel sound in it followed by a K sound, there is a good chance that the K sound will be spelled by CK. In other cases, you should be able to hear the two final consonants: -sh, -lk, -rk, -sk, -th, -ch, -nd. The only way this may possibly help your spelling is, if you hear a one-syllable word with a short vowel sound followed by two consonants, you can be almost positive that the vowel sound is made by a single vowel.
The Short Vowel sounds can also be spelled in other ways; with a vowel followed by a single consonant:( bat, hit, set, got, nut) or by two vowels followed by a single consonant: (head, dead, said)
CONCLUSION: Following this rule to pronounce words will work most of the time. Using it to guide your spelling will have only limited usefulness, but it will help you get a better feel of the English language.
Exercise: For each of the following words, write which spelling rule it illustrates, (Rule 1) Long Vowel + Silent E, (Rule 2) Soft or Hard C and G, or (Rule 3) Short Vowel + Two Consonants.
|1. fake =||7. check =|
|2. fact =||8. rack =|
|3. rice =||9. rake =|
|4. brick =||10. race =|
|5. brake =||11. hope =|
|6. cereal =||12. hock =|
|13. gaggle =||19. here =|
|14. jiggle =||20. gold|
|15. kite =||21. cold|
|16. cite =||22. cell =|
|17. plane =||23. pick|
|18. plant =||24. stuck|
For several more examples of English words that defy logic, go to the Next Page.
100's of Popular Songs from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.
Learn about American Culture through the popular songs of the time.Practice reading Everyday English with the songs' Lyrics and the biographies of the singers and bands at www.mikiemetric.com .
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