It might seem like an insignificant skill, but spelling can dramatically improve your writing. Though spelling and grammar are not as important as constructing a clear and persuasive argument, these skills are still important – and should be practiced. Especially for the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Writing subtest, youwant your grammar and spelling to be as close to perfect as possible.
There are steps
you can take during the studying process to help you improve. Additionally, there are some quick tips you can add to your test-taking tool bag to improve your spelling.
1. I before E, except after C and when sounding as “a” as in neighbor and weigh.
Most people have heard this spelling rule before. However, the rule is trickier than it seems. It always works for words such as achieve, believe, yield
and conceit, deceive, perceive, feign.
What most people don’t know is that the rule only applies when the sound represented by “ie” or “ei” makes the long e
/). For example, the rule does not work for the word science
where the I is before the E despite the fact that they follow C because the “ie” does not make the long e
Additionally, as the experts at the Oxford Dictionary
point out, the rule also does not apply to any word without the long e
sound, even when there is no C. In this case then, words that have the long e
sound always have the “ei” form rather than the “ie” form. Examples include foreign
, and weight
The Oxford Dictionary points out that there are very few exceptions to this, such as seize, weird,
These exceptions must be memorized.
2. Forming Adverbs
While you are writing, you may want to use adjectives as adverbs to describe your verbs. Adverbs are easy to form, when you know the trick.
The most basic rule is that you must add –ly
to the end of the adjective. For example, sudden
becomes the adverb suddenly
when you add the –ly.
If the adjective has two syllables and it ends in –y
, then you must replace the –y
with an –i
before you add –ly
. For example, happy
If the adjective ends with a consonant followed by –le
, replace the final –e
on its own (because the –l
is already there). Incredible
becomes the adverb incredibly
, for example.
If an adjective ends with –ly
, like lively
, then it cannot be made into an adverb. You must use a different form of the word, or a synonymous word.
3. Adding Endings to Words that End in -Y
One of the best ways to expand your vocabulary is simply to know how to change the words you already know into different forms. Like the adverb rule above, it’s easy to change words that end in –y
into adjectives and other verb forms.
When a word ends with a consonant and –y
, you can change the final –y
to an –i
and add an adjective ending. For example, pretty
. Similarly, beauty
The same rule applies whenever you want to change the verb form to present, past, or future when the verb ends with -y
. For example, apply
becomes applies, applying
, or applied.
4. More on Verb Tenses
The basic form of a verb is called the infinitive. It is not conjugated and is often written with the word to
before it. If you know the infinitive, you can change that verb to any tense you want. To make the past tense of regular verbs, you add the ending –ed
to the infinitive. To put a verb in present participle, you add the ending –ing
to the infinitive. Often, you do not need to make any other spelling changes. For example:
However, there are some tricks for adding these endings to words that end in vowels. For example, when a verb ends with a silent e
, then you must drop the silent e
and then add –ed
When a verb ends in –ee, -ye,
, you must leave the final –e
whenever you are adding –ing.
If the verb ends in a single vowel and a consonant (that is stressed, or if the word is a single syllable), then you must double the final consonant before you add –ed
You do not double the consonant if it is not stressed, nor do you double it if there are two vowels before the consonant. For example:
When a verb ends in –c,
you need to add a –k
before adding –ed
, or –er.
Want to test yourself?
See if you can put these tips to the test with spelling quizzes
from the Capital Community College Foundation.