Writing - part 2


Spelling is the forming of words from letters according to accepted usage ORTHOGRAPHY. In writing, you must write correct words in order that your piece of writing can be understood by the reader(s). Here are some rules that may help you improve your spelling. 

Capital Letters

Use Capital (T, S, B, etc.) letters for the following types of words:

  • Days, Months and Public Holidays

Monday, January, Christmas

  • Proper names of People and Places

Jack, Maria, New York, Germany

  • Titles for People

Ms, Dr, General

  • Nationalities and Regions (both nouns and adjectives)

Dutch, Swedish, Basque

  • Titles of Works of Art (content words only)

The Last Day of Summmer, American Journal of Medicine

When to Double Final Consonants

The final consonant of a word is often doubled when adding -ed, -ing, -er, -est in the following cases:

  • Double final “b, d, g, l, m, n, p, r and t” at the end of words:

rob – robbing
sad – sadder
big – bigger
travel – traveller
skim – skimming
win – winner
pop – popping
prefer – preferred
hit – hitting

  • Double these final letters there is the following pattern “consonant – vowel – consonant” at the end of a word. For example: travel – ‘vel’ v – consonant – e – vowel l – consonant.
  • Words of more than one syllable have their consonants doubled only when the final syllable is stressed.

begin – beginn ing BUT open – opening
defer – deferr ing BUT offer – offering

  • When words have more than one syllable and end in ‘l’ British English always doubles the ‘l’, even in the case of unstressed syllables. American English, on the other hand, the ‘l’ is not doubled when the syllable is unstressed.

British English – travelled
American English – traveled

Final -E

Leave off the final ‘e’ in the following cases:

  • When the word ends in ‘e’ adding a suffix that begins with a vowel (this is usually the case, although there are exceptions such as ‘outrageous’).

make – making
note – notable

  • Do not leave out the final ‘e’ when a word ends in ‘ee’.

agree – agreeable

  • Words ending in ‘ge’ and ‘ce’ do NOT drop the final ‘e’

encourage – encouragement
embrace – embraceable

‘IE’ and ‘EI’

This is a common spelling problem, even for native English speakers. Probably the best thing to do is remember this rhyme:

I before E except after C




‘Y’ and ‘I’

When adding an ending to a word that finishes in ‘y’, the ‘y’ usually changes to ‘i’:

  • Most nouns and verbs that end in ‘y’ have plural or third person singular conjugations that change to ‘i’.

party – parties
hurry – She hurries to work.

  • When changing the word form (for example from adjective to adverb)

happy – happily
lazy – lazily
easy – easier

  • Do NOT change the final ‘y’ to ‘i’ when ‘y’ is preceded by a vowel

stay – stays
enjoy – enjoyed


say, lay, pay – said, laid, paid

  • Do NOT change the final ‘y’ to ‘i’ when followed by ‘-ing’, ‘-ism’, ‘-ish’.

boy – boyish
try – trying

‘IE’ to ‘Y’

When a word ends in ‘ie’ change to ‘y’ before adding ‘-ing’

die – dying
lie – lying

(Next Lesson) The differences between American English and British English when writing
Back to Writing – part 2