The 4 Most Helpful Spelling Rules

There is no way around it, spelling is tough if you’re not a natural speller. If you really paid attention in school and studied for all your spelling tests, you might be a good speller.

However, if that doesn’t sound like you’re experience, then chances are that you still struggle

spelling rules
Image by sharyn morrow

with spelling even as an adult. However, that doesn’t mean you will never learn to spell, it just means you will have to work at it a little harder as an adult.  Some people don’t think it’s important to be a good speller, because of how easy it is to use an online spell checker, but that isn’t true.


Here are the top 4 rules for spelling that can help you handle a lot of your spelling issues.


I Before E

Whether to spell a word with “ie” or “ei” is one of the more confusing aspects of spelling, however, it also has one of he most well known rules.  You should ‘use “i” before “e”, except after “c”’.  While that is the phrase most people know, it is not the complete rule. The second part of that rules says “or when it sounds like an ‘a’”.


Examples of this are the words “weight” and “neighbor”.


However, like most spelling rules, there are exceptions and unfortunately, the only way to know how to spell these words is to just memorize them.  Here are the most common exceptions: neither, foreign, efficient, caffeine, ancient, height, weird.


Changing the Final “Y”

If you are confused about whether to change the final “y” to an “i”, this spelling rule can help. You should always change the “y” to an “i”, unless the suffix also starts with a “i”.


Here are some examples of this spelling rule are:

  • Copy + ing = copying
  • Try + ing = trying
  • Occupy + ing = occupying
  • Party + es = parties
  • Pity + ful = pitiful
  • Defy + ance = defiance

There are only two words that you have to know as common exceptions to this spelling rule. These exceptions are the words “memorize” and “journeying”.


When to Double the Final Consonant

This is another situation that can be confusing, but the good news is that this rule doesn’t have any exceptions that you have to memorize.


The bad news is that there are two conditions that must be met before you know whether or not you should double the final consonant.

  1. It is a one syllable word or the consonant ends on accented syllable
  2. A single vowel precedes the consonant


  • Stop + ing = stopping
  • Occur + ence = occurrence
  • Benefit + ed = benefited
  • Delight + ful = delightful
  • Admit + ed = admitted

When to Drop the Final E

It can be confusing to know whether or not to drop the final “e” before adding a suffix. This spelling rule is that you should drop the final “e” before a suffix that starts with a vowel, but you should not drop it if the suffix starts with a consonant.



  • Like + ness = likeness
  • Arrange + ment = arrangement
  • Entire + ly = entirely
  • Ride + ing = riding
  • Guide + ance = guidance


There are only a few common exceptions to this spelling rule: noticeable truly.