Millions of people want to learn to spell correctly, but they fear the
task will be tedious and painful. Now, with the unique, logical approach
presented in Spelling Simplified, anyone can become a skilled
speller quickly and easily. Through the use of simple and effective
exercises and tips, Spelling Simplified illustrates what many poor
spellers forget - that the way a word is spelled is closely related to the
sound and meaning of that word.
Chapters devoted to syllables and stress, patterns in the language,
consonant clusters, and vowel-consonant combinations are included, each
complete with its own set of examples and exercises. From the simplest
root words through longer words derived from foreign languages,
Spelling Simplified guides you through basic techniques for learning
how to "hear" a word, how to master irregularities, and how to form large
words from smaller ones. Breezily written and easy to use, Spelling
Simplified shows that mastering spelling can be painless - and even
What the reviewers said:
"...an excellent book to help older children/teens and adults with
spelling rules and oddities."
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an excerpt from Spelling Simplified:
Patterns in Invasion Words
Up until now,
the primary rule of English spelling—each sound is represented by a letter
unless there's a good reason—has held up. For native English and Greek-
and Latin-derived words, more than 98 percent can be said to be regular.
That is, they're spelled the way they sound.
But throughout our
discussion of various sounds, we've also scattered groups of words that
don't follow the rules: for instance, the words in Chapter 8 that spell
the z sound ss. These are primarily Invasion words. They have come to us
from all the languages with which English-speaking people have had
contact, going as far back as the tenth century and earlier. Happily,
these words make up only from 10 to 15 percent of the language—and even
with these words, we can find some generalizations that apply.
When many of these words invaded English, they bumped smack
up against other words that sounded so similar, the difference in meaning
could only be deciphered in context. The authors of our written
communication devised a solu-tion that the spoken language couldn't offer:
they spelled these new words with alternate vowel sounds. That's how most
of the homonyms in our language were born.
These short words trip up many good spellers. The best way to learn to
spell each variant correctly is to memorize each spelling in
association with the word's meaning, actually picturing the meaning in
your mind as you study the word. Throughout the book, we've tried to list
every homonym— and near-homonym—that is frequently misspelled.
For the most part, the consonants in Invasion
words are pronounced exactly as in native English words. Since they're
spelled the way they sound, they rarely give any trouble. But there's a
small group of two-syllable verbs from the romance languages—particularly
French—that retain their native accent on the second syllable instead of
shifting it to the first syllable. Here are a few examples:
What happens to the spelling when we add endings that begin with a
What happens when the accent shifts into the first syllable?
This doubling of the final consonant also occurs in a few native
English verbs. See if you can find a pattern for when to double and when
not to, by examining each list below. (We've added -ing, but the
same spelling holds true if you add any ending beginning with a vowel.)
accent on second syllable
Pattern for doubling the last letter when adding endings to words
accented on the final syllable: Double the final consonant if needed, so
that the spelling follows the pattern SVS =
Notice that the two-consonant pattern acts as a pronunciation
guide for readers: English readers, seeing a two-consonant grouping after
the first syllable of a word, learn to put the accent on that syllable. If
they see the two-consonant pattern suddenly in the last syllable of the
root (even if there's also a two-consonant pattern in the first syllable),
they know that this is usually the syllable to accent. Watch for this clue
as you read for pleasure.
When a verb changes the spelling of its root
to make its adjective form, the doubling pattern of the root word is often
kept. This sometimes results in a seeming exception to the pattern we've
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