Ease your mind regarding Spelling Rules

Spelling rules are something that obviously most trained writers don’t need to remember, as they have assimilated the correct use of their language. Experienced writers automatically use the correct spell in their chosen language. Still all of them use spellcheckers to control typos that happen because of concentration loss and other distractions that lead to mistakes. But in most cases they “know their rules”.But what about people who aren’t professional writers and not even native speakers? They will always worry about their spelling or their grammar and they allways will feel a bit insecure about spelling rules.
You know the situation: Just typing text and all of a sudden you start thinking about one word. Was this with “ough” or with “ouhg”?
This is the situation where a spellchecker really pays out. Be it your integrated spellchecker in Word or any free checker plugin, if you rely on your software you don’t have to worry about these issues. Especially not if you have trained it well.

For all occasional writers, language students or just busy people who need to write in a language they don’t feel 100% sure, there are two options:

Option 1: Learn and remember spelling rules

Option 1 is learning all these “simple spelling rules” that will cause you nightmares trying to remember them.
Just search and browse for titles like “easy spelling rules to remember” and think about the time you would need not only to learn them by heart, but first to even understand them. Not to speak about the time your brain will spend searching for the correct rule any time you feel unsure about how to spell a word.

Thinking about easy rules, what would be easier than to use a SOFTWARE to APPLY all those spelling rules, saving your brain some function time while YOU do the THINKING?
Yeas. That’s why we definitively vote for the second option.

Option 2: Use a software

spelling rules
Foto:Mboverload at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Option 2 is to outsource the learning of these rules and use a software instead. Automating rules is already done for you when a bunch of developers and linguists get to work on a spellchecker software. Our online spellchecker for example is the work of a developer community that feeds it with spelling rules and grammar rules. You would have a hard time trying to remember thousands of rules. Of course you know most of them just by your natural use of language. But in these moments, when doubts assault you while writing, you will often try to remember any rule you had to learn by heart when you were a student.

Who told you that spelling rules were simple?

Just make a quick search on Google and see what you get under a search for “spelling rules“. Tons of information packed with rules like these “easy rules” you would have to remember yourself if you didn’t rely on software to do it for you.
Some spelling rules even have funny names that helped in older days students to remember them. Nowadays they help language teachers to plan their classes and fill the time with exercises.
There is the rule “Silent e helps a vowel say its name”, meaning that in words ending with a vowel followed by a consonant and silent “e” the vowel has a long sound.
But there is more to this rule: Words which end with a silent “e” (an “e” you don’t pronounce) drop the “e” when getting a suffix that begins with a vowel. However, no rule without exceptions, and in this case the final “e” is retained if the suffix keeps a soft sounds and the word ends with –ce or –ge.

Or this one, “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking?”
Even if you were able to figure out what this was about, you still would need to transfer that to your actual spelling dilemma.
Is this more or less effort than clicking with your mouse on “check”?
By the way, this phrase means that when you have two consecutive vowels the first one usually is long and the second silent, like in team or wait.

Tons of spelling rules

And there are other rules language schools and dictionaries teach. What I don’t know is if anyone really expects language students to learn it:

  • When adverbs are built adding –ly to an adjective with ends in “-le”, the “le” is dropped.
  • Many verbs that become substantivized get a double consonant. Remember that words with a stress on the last syllable that turns unstressed when changed get double consonants. This applies also to verbs ending on an “l” that become a noun. And when a verb ends with a “c” and the noun is formed with “ing”, you have to write “ck” in the noun.
  • Normally, the plural of a word which ends in a consonant plus “y” is made by changing the “y” to “i” and adding “es”, like in accessory – accessories, memory- memories, whisky –whiskies. However, words ending on “ey”, “ay”, “uy” or “oy” just get an “s” for a plural, like jersey-jerseys, journey-journeys, whiskey-whiskeys. If the word ends in “s”, “x”, “z”, “sh” or “ch”, the plural will just ad es to the end.
  • For words built with prefixes starting with “al”, like “already” or “although” just remember the rule: AL + something keeps a single life. And another single existence is the fate of the suffix (ending) –“ful”, like in grateful, faithful, hopeful.
  • Most spellcheckers for the US will mark endings like emphasize, specialize or standardize as correct over emphasise, specialise and standardise. But you could spell both ways in British English. Even most words will be spelled with z when ending in “-ize”due to the greek origin of the words, there are some some exceptions like advertise, advise, despise, devise or supervise.
  • Names and geographical Names (like in a map) begin with capital letters. So it’s Britain, the US, Spain, the Atlantic ocean and California. (Okay, that’s easy)
  • Rules regarding the “i” and “e” when applied to pronunciations like “ay” in day. Words with a long “ee” (like in bee) are written with “ie” like believe, field, relief. Words with a “c” followe by a long “ee” are written with “ei” as ceiling, deceit, receive. And words that sound like “ay” in day and have “e”+”I” with be written like freight, reign and sleigh. Unless they are known exceptions like either, foreign, height, leisure, protein, weird, etc., or are part of the “cien-words” that are written like ancient, efficient or science.

and  …. so … much … more … I already can’t read all of this myself for a second time, because it’s so incredibly boring.

And I really can’t think of any reason why an adult should put nowadays him- or herself into the effort of memorizing rules with tons of exceptions. Either you know how something is spelled because you have read and written it thousands of times and just don’t need to think about it, or you use some software to do the job. Learning spelling rules is completely meaningless for anyone who is not in the need to prevent early Alzheimer.