Chapter 14

SOME RULES OF Spelling Icon

January 31, 2022

Double consonant after light vowel: If a consonant is preceded by a light vowel, that is, a or o, the consonant becomes doubled.1

a + count = account a + cuse = accuse a + quire = acquire a + cident = accident o + cult = occult o + cident = occident But re + quire = require. Here there is one q, because e in re- is not a light vowel.

i before e: In English where the two vowels i and e come side by side, as a general rule i comes first and e succeeds i.2 Because the pronunciation of i is longer and more emphatic than that of e, i [when it is the only vowel in a syllable] is always pronounced as in kid. But the pronunciation of e varies; it may be as in met, mete, berth, etc. So in most cases i precedes e, but there are some exceptions: for instance, the verb[-root] ceive and its noun-form ceipt (e.g., receive, conceive, perceive, receipt); and also leisure (short rest), counterfeit (base), etc.

Benefited or Benefitted? If the last consonant of a verb is preceded by a single vowel, and that verb is converted into a participle, then the consonant is doubled, for example, fit → fitted. But benefited is an exception.

The suffix -ful: In ordinary circumstances, the English word full is spelt with two l’s, but if it is a conjunct word, it is spelt -ful, for example, beautiful, handful. If the importance of the pronunciation of l is reduced, one l is dropped. This should be considered as a rule, rather than an exception.

(1) See also the examples at the end of Chapter 19. –Eds.

(2) See also the end of Chapter 19. –Eds.