Exceptions to the Rules
The basic spelling rules presented in the previous section are applicable to the spelling of thousands of words. However, commonly used words that are exceptions to these rules are the concern of this section.
RULE: When a word ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel and the word is one syllable or accented on the last syllable, then double the final consonant when adding a vowel suffix.
Exceptions: Words ending in -w or -x
(Also remember that it is transferred and transferring)
RULE: When adding a vowel suffix to a word ending in -e the -e is dropped.
|care + ed + ing||cared||caring|
|desire + ed + ing||desired||desiring||desirable|
Exceptions: To prevent confusion with other words or for pronunciation purposes, the following words are exceptions:
|dye||dyeing (to change color)|
|singe||singeing (to burn slightly)|
(Also remember that for words ending in -ce or -ge, the -e is kept if the vowel suffix begins with -a or -o.)
RULE: Adding a consonant suffix does not change the spelling of a word.
|pain + ful||painful|
|rapid + ly||rapidly|
|complete + ly||completely|
|acknowledge + ment||acknowledgement|
|argue + ment||argument|
|judge + ment||judgment|
|nine + th||ninth|
|true + ly||truly|
RULE: If a word ends in -y preceded by a consonant, change the y to -i, then add the suffix.
|beauty + ful||beautiful|
|try + ed||tried|
|dry + ness||dryness|
|shy + ness||shyness|
|sly + ness||slyness|
(Also remember that the y is kept then adding -ing.)
RULE: If a word ends in y preceded by a vowel, then the y is kept when a suffix is added.
|annoy + ed + ing||annoyed||annoying|
|journey + ed + ing||journeyed||journeying|
|day + ly||daily|
RULE: A prefix does not change the spelling of a word
|dis + able||disable|
|un + necessary||unnecessary|
RULE: When two words are joined to form a compound word, omit no letters.
|room + mate||roommate|
|book + keeper||bookkeeper|
|past + time||pastime|
|where + ever||wherever|
- Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1989