The Quick and Easy Guide to
Common Spelling Rules

As children, most of us learn to spell the same way we learn to speak and read, constant repetition with near constant correction from teachers, parents and others. As adults, it's hard to recreate this process. However, there are some things we can do to improve our spelling.

Reading is, of course, an excellent way to build spelling skills. Repeated exposure to words in context encourages recall and recognition of individual words and letter patterns.

Another way to improve spelling is to pay attention to those spelling patterns that give us trouble. Below are some common spelling rules that seem to give writers problems. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of rules. Nor is it meant to replace the dictionary as a primary tool to check spelling. But it may help get some writers over a few "trouble spots."


Some exceptions: children, criteria, data, media, men, women

 "i before e ..." (achievement, patient)

Some exceptions: either, neither, height, foreign, leisure, seize

 Prefixes and Suffixes

Some exceptions: changeable, mobile, dying

 Alternative British Spelling

Click here for the Merriam-Webster Dictionary On-line

Written By: George Knox © 2017
E-mail: [email protected]