You wracked your brain yet nothing came out?
This is a universal struggle of both native and non-native speakers of English, let alone IELTS Test candidates.
Most people, in their lives, have experienced this inability to spell correctly. Even professional writers.
Why should we spell correctly? Is it really important?
Read this passage:
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch by the Lngiusiitc Dptanmeret at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
If you were able to read it, then correct spelling may not be necessary. Especially if you read it naturally, without struggle.
In case you couldn’t read it, here’s a translation:
According to research by the Linguistic Department at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole.
However, for the IELTS Test candidate whose English language proficiency is being tested, consistent, correct spelling weighs highly in the IELTS Test.
So, how can we overcome spelling problems for the IELTS Test?
Here are the seven spelling rules to learn or re-learn:
- I before E except C and when the sound is ey or eee. Examples of exceptions include: neighbour and weight – for the “ey”, deceive, receive – for after C.
- Dropping the final E. Drop E before suffixes that begin with vowel sounds like a,e,i,o,u but not with suffixes that start with a consonant. Suffixes are syllables added at the end of the root word to form a new word.
For instance:Hope+ing becomes hopingguide + ance becomes guidancearrange+ment becomes arrangementHowever, there is no absolute rule. There are exceptions like the words truly and noticeable
- Changing a Final Y to I
defy + ance becomes defiancepity + ful becomes pitifuloccupy + ing becomes occupyingExceptions include: journeying, memorise
- Doubling a final consonant
Double the final consonant of a root word when the suffix starts with a vowel. Consider the following conditions:
A single vowel comes before a final consonant as in the word stop.
The vowel ‘o ‘ comes before the consonant ‘p’ , therefore you can double the ‘p’ in ‘stopping’.
The consonant ends an accented syllable or a one-syllable word as in the word ‘occur’. The consonant ‘r’ ends the stressed syllable ‘cur’, as such you can write ‘occurring’.
- Adding suffixes –sion,tion, and cian for words that end with the sound ’shun’. There are many words particularly noun forms that end with the sound “shun”. For example action, technician, comprehension. The question now is when to add which. Look at the following tips:
- Words that end with ‘tion’ are usually nouns derived from verbs. Such as the verb act to converted to a noun action. If a verb ends in ‘t’ just add ‘-ion’.
- Remove the final ‘e’ before adding ‘tion’ to a word that ends in ‘e’. Like ‘intervene’ to ‘intervention’.
- If the base word ends in ‘-se’ take off the ‘e’ and add ‘-ion’. Like revise to revision.
- If the root word ends with ‘-d’ or ‘-de’ ,change the ‘-d’ to an ‘-s’ , drop the ‘-e’ if needed.
erode becomes erosion
Pretend becomes pretension
- If the root word ends in ‘-ss’ just add’-ion’. Like in the words possess to possession, discuss and discussion.
- For root words that end in ‘-c’ just add ‘-ian’. For instance music and musician.
- If the base words end in ‘-cs’ remove ‘-s’ before adding ‘-ian’. Look at these examples:
Politics becomes politician
Physics becomes physician
- Adding able /ible. Putting –able and ible to a root word makes it an adjective. For example you say “My daughter is adorable”. The word ‘adorable’ is an adjective with the suffix ‘-able’ added to a root word ‘adore’. When do we add ‘-able’ and ‘-ible’? The first tip is to add ‘-able’ to root word that can stand alone and ‘-ible’ for root word that can’t.Return +able becomes returnable
Terr+ible becomes terribleFurther, drop the final ‘-e’ in a root word and change ‘-y’ to ‘-I’ then add ‘-able/-ible’ likeAdore+able becomes adorable
Rely becomes reliable
- Adding ‘-ly’. Placing ‘-ly’ to a word or part of word make it an adverb. For example in the sentence the runner runs quickly. The word quickly is an adverb which comes from adding the ‘-ly’ after the word ‘quick’. Here are the rules:
add ly to most words
time+ly becomes timely
if the word ends in a consonant plus le, change the e to y
able + ly becomes ably
gentle + ly becomes gently
if the word ends in y, change y to i and add ly
crazy + ly becomes crazily
hasty + ly becomes hastily
words that end in ic and ical become ically when you add ly
logical + ly becomes logically
Having read all of those techniques to overcome spelling difficulty, read a newspaper article and try to underlined the words with suffixes.
Remember that the best way to become proficient at spelling is to practise.
To your IELTS success,