|2. Spelling Clues||3. Word Families||4. More Families||5. Word Fun||6. Some Rules||7. More Rules||8. Weird Words||Say-it-in-English Entry Page|
Absolutely Ridiculous English Spelling
Lesson 1. Some Basic Facts About English Spelling
Why does the English language have so many words that are difficult to spell? The main reason is that English has 1,100 different ways to spell its 44 separate sounds, more than any other language. Some of the results of this are:
This situation exists for a variety of reasons. For some words, the pronunciation has changed over the centuries even though the spelling has not changed. Some words have been borrowed from other languages, and although they have kept their original spellings, people over the years began pronouncing the words according to English rules. Still other words have been borrowed from other languages and have kept their original spellings AND pronunciations, which makes them seem strange by English rules.
The reasons for the Ridiculous English Spelling do not matter, however, because English is what it is; it has been this way for a long time. If you want to learn to speak and write it, you must learn it as it is and not how it should be. Our task is to make that a little easier for you.
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Just for fun, visit this page: Fun With English.
Some common inconsistencies:
|Pattern||Examples||How they are pronounced|
|words containing "ough"||
|Words that sound the same but are spelled differently.||
|Words containing "ight"||alight, bight, blight, flight, fright, height, light, night, might, right, sight, tight, plight,||In all of these words, "ight" is pronounced like Long i + t.|
|Words with Silent Letters||
||All of these words are pronounced as if the red letters were not there, but when you write the words, you MUST include those letters.|
|Words that look the same but are pronounced differently.||
|Words with 'oo' that should sound the same but don't.||
|Words that don't sound like they are spelled||
Some more inconsistencies:
|Ways to spell Long 'U'||shoe, grew, through. do, doom, flue, two, who, brute, duty|
|Ways to spell Long 'O'||go, show, though, sew, beau, float, bone,|
|Ways to spell Long 'A'||may, weigh, late, pain, rein, great|
|Ways to spell Long 'E'||free, bean, magazine, gene, mete, be, mien, receive, believe|
|Ways to spell Long 'I'||fine, rhyme, fight, align, isometric, bayou|
The chart above is just a small sample of why Spelling Rules in English can be almost as much of a problem as spelling itself. Notice the "i-e" Rule:
|Use i before e, except after c when it sounds like EE, or when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh.|
At this point you may ask, "What can I do about it? How can I figure out how to spell the words in this crazy language?" Believe it or not, there are a few things you can do that will help, but after you remember the rules and learn the 'tricks', you are left with this basic technique: Study, Memorize, Study, Memorize, Study, Memorize.
Practice reading English. Check out the following stories at
their planet's sun began growing hotter, most of the insect-like
residents began taking steps to protect themselves from the rising
temperature. One group built a rocket ship and prepared to send
the ship into space to find a new home just in case life became
impossible on their own planet. A large green caterpillar named
Greeple was chosen to pilot the rocket. The ideal planet that
Greeple finally landed on was already occupied, so the caterpillar had
to adjust his plans.
25 pages, full-color illustrations. Story can be reviewed at www.mikiemetric.net .
Hare began playing practical jokes on his friends in Petunia
Park. They soon decided they had to do something about it.
Find out what the other animals did to keep Harold from playing more
22 illustrated pages. Story can be reviewed at www.mikiemetric.net .
"Busy Lizzie learned to rhyme
Before she learned to tell the time."
And so begins the book about Lizzie Sue and how she learned to make rhymes while going for rides in the car with her father.
18 illustrated pages. Story can be reviewed at www.mikiemetric.net .
Exercise: For each of the words in the list below, write the definition (from a dictionary) and write a sentence using the word.
In spite of the fact that there are many English words that do not follow general pronunciation rules, at least 80 percent of English words DO follow normal rules. Go to Basic English, Lesson 7, to learn how to pronounce all the letters of the English alphabet.
100's of My Favorite Songs from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.
Links to videos, lyrics of the songs and Wikipedia biographies of the artists, plus Then and Now photos.
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