Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spelling Correctly - Part I

Correct spelling is a matter of personal pride. Misspelled words not only reflect discredit to the writer or typist but surely betray a certain weakness of character - laziness or indifference. Either you are certain of the correct spelling of a word or you are in doubt. If there is question in your mind, consult a dictionary. Good spellers possess keen observation and retentive minds. If you possess the will to spell correctly, you will find it an interesting and worthwhile study; on the contrary, if it is not a matter of personal pride and satisfaction to you to have an extensive vocabulary of word that you can spell and pronounce correctly, and the meaning of which you know, you will probably go through life with a very meager and undernourished knowledge of words.

Rules for spelling. The application of the following rules should help you over some of the more difficult aspects of spelling:

Rule I. Words of one syllable ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel.

One-Syllable Words

dot, dotting, dotted
hum, humming, hummed
flag, flagging, flagged
ban, banning, banned
tap, tapping, tapped

In the same manner, words accented on the last syllable and ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel.

Words With Accent on Last Syllable

prefer, preferring, preferred
occur, occurring, occurred
remit, remitting, remittance
begin, beginning, beginner
repel, repelling, repellent
forget, forgetting, forgettable

Exceptions to Rule I are:

gas, gaseous, gases
transfer, transferable
infer, inferable
chagrin, chagrined

Note 1.  Words of more than one syllable, not accented on the last syllable, and ending in a single consonant do not double the final consonant.

Words Not Accented on Last Syllable

benefit, benefiting, benefited
offer, offering, offered
prohibit, prohibiting, prohibited
commission, commissioned
marvel, marvelous

Note 2. In words such as counsel, level, cancel, travel, worship, and so forth, the final consonant may be doubled, but that is not the preferable form. It is better to write counseled, leveled, canceled, traveled, worshiped, and so forth.

Note 3. In words like quit, equip, and squat, the u after the q has the force of w. Therefore, such words contain only one real vowel in the accented syllable.

Note 4. In words like pref'erence (from prefer'), con'ference (from confer'), and ref'erence (from refer'), which cause a shift in the accent to a preceding syllable when the suffix ix added, the consonant is not doubled. 
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