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Part II: Some Basics of Style > Exercise #3—Spelling Rules

Chapter 6. Exercise #3—Spelling Rules

How are you on spelling rules? Here’s a quick review of four important ones. In the sentences below, spell the bracketed word correctly if you can, then check your answers (and which rule applies), on the next page.

1: We hope to (rec-ve) the shipment this week.
A: receive The rule is i before e, except after c.
2: The new tariff will hurt our (for-gn) competitors.
A: foreign It’s i before e, or ei after the letter c if the sound of two letters combined is “ee”; if not the pattern is reversed.
3: The (financ-r) was charged with tax evasion.
A: financier Every rule has a few exceptions. Other examples are either, neither, seize, leisure, weird, sheik.
4: Nothing is sure but death and (tax-).
A: taxes Add s to form the plurals of most nouns; if the noun ends in an “s” sound, add es. Add es also to some nouns ending in o. (tomatoes, potatoes, vetoes, torpedoes).
5: His skill in diplomacy makes friends out of (enem-s).
A: enemies If a noun ends in y preceded by a consonant, change the y to i and add es. If a noun ends in y preceded by a vowel, simply add s to form the plural. Exception: proper nouns. The plural of Kennedy is Kennedys.
6: Are you (accus-ng) the Japanese of chip-dumping?
A: accusing Drop the final silent e when adding suffixes that begin with a vowel (accuse + ing). Keep the final silent e when adding suffixes that begin with a consonant (hope + less = hopeless).
7: In my (judg-ent), profits will be up significantly in April.
A: judgment Exception. Some others are courageous, dyeing, argument, and truly.
8: Be sure to include a (sum-ry) at the end of your report.
A: summary Double the final consonant when adding a suffix that begins with a vowel if the consonant is preceded by a single vowel (sum + ary).
9: Some companies have (benefit-d) from the drop in the dollar’s value.
A: benefited With words of two or more syllables, double the final consonant only if the accent is on the last syllable.
10: Mr. Wombat has been (transfer-d) to Minot, N.D.
A: transferred An exception. Since the preferred pronunciation is with the accent on the first syllable (trans’fer), you would not expect the final consonant to be doubled. Other exceptions are transferring excellent, excellence.




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