Spelling Rules (It Really Does.)

WRITTEN November 11, 2014 Author: Rich Atkins

Spelling rules in English can be challenging and confusing. There are a few rules to follow as well as some important exceptions to remember. Read on for some of the rules and exceptions of spelling.


ie and ei

One way to remember the ie-ei rule is with this rhyme:​

i before e except after c
except when sounded like ay
​as in “neighbor” and “weigh.”​​


  • Receive
  • Believe
  • Grief​

​For common exceptions to this rule, remember:

Neither the feisty weird foreigner nor her beige neighbor seizes leisure or forfeits height during a heist.


Silent –e

Drop the silent -e if the ending begins with a vowel.​

write + ing = writing
love + able = lovable
use + age = usage

Keep the silent -e if the ending begins with a consonant.​

excite + ment = excitement
care + ful = careful
nine + ty = ninety
The –y ending

Change –y to –i and add ending if the –y follows a consonant (fly/flies).​

scurry + ed = scurried
sturdy + er = sturdier
costly + ness = costliness

Keep the –y when adding –ing.​

delay + ing = delaying
buy + ing = buying
hurry + ing = hurrying

Keep the –y if the –y follows a vowel.​

employ + ed = employed
play + ful = playful
delay + ed = delayed

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