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7 Important English Spelling Rules - Complete Guide


Spelling words in English comes with tons of exceptions, because English is not a phonetic language; it doesn’t follow any consistent rules for spelling and pronouncing words.

Almost all of the spelling rules in English are inconsistent — though they apply, there are exceptions — which leads to confusion and difficulty in spelling words.

Unlike English, a phonetic language is the one that pronounces words exactly as they are written, such as Arabic.

But in English, you need to learn the spelling rules and their exceptions to improve your spelling.

So, to help you out, here are seven of the English spelling rules you should know.

1. Every syllable includes a vowel

Words are composed of sounds. Every vowel have different reading and spelling  rule. The sound units in a word are called syllables in spoken language.

Syllables are formed by combining a vowel with its surrounding consonants. For example, the word “ball” has one syllable, which is ball. Another example is “water,” which has two syllables: wa- and -ter.

And every syllable in English has at least one vowel letter. For example, the letter a in wa- and e in -ter.

2. U always comes after Q

If you keep an eye on words, you’ll notice that the letter “U” almost always comes after “Q.”


  • Queen
  • Queue
  • Quench
  • Sequence

This is true almost always but few exceptions exist.

Examples of exceptions to the rule:

  • Suq or Souq
  • Sheqel
  • Burqa
  • Tranq

Most of the words that break this rule in English are loanwords from other languages such as Arabic and Hebrew.

3. S never follows X

It means “S” never comes after “X.”

This is true for almost all the words, that “S” never follows “X.” Instead, the letter “C” is used, or if the word ends in “X,” an extra E is added before putting “S” to form its plural.


  • The word “fox” becomes “foxes,” and not “foxs.”
  • Excite
  • Excell
  • Hexes

However, some exceptions to this rule exist.

For example of exceptions to the rule:

  • Exsert
  • Exscind
  • Exsanguine
  • Exsiccate

4. I before E except after C

I before E except after C means that in spelling, the letter “I” always comes before “E” (i.e., grief), except when a “C” comes before it (i.e., receive).

In other words, when the letters I and E occur together, they’re always written like this: “IE” (I before E). But when a letter C comes before the “IE,” their positions are swapped and are written as “EI” instead.

Examples of “I” before “E”:

  • Believe
  • Field
  • Shield
  • Brief

Examples of “C” before “EI”:

  • Ceiling
  • Conceit
  • Deceit
  • Perceive

Now, there are exceptions to this rule, because it doesn’t apply in all scenarios.

Examples of the exceptions to the rule:

  • Neither
  • Weird
  • Seize
  • Foreign
  • Height

These exceptions don't have a letter C coming before I or E but they are still written as “EI.”

5. 1-Syllable words End in Double F’s and L’s

Words with only 1 syllable should always end in “ll” or “ff” if their last letter is an “l” or “f,” respectively.


  • Ball
  • Fluff
  • Gluff
  • Stuff

Some exceptions to this rule also exist. 

Examples of exceptions to this rule:

  • Wolf
  • Calf
  • Whirl
  • Shelf

6. 1-Syllable words End in Double S’s

Similar to the previous rule, words having 1 syllable should always end in “s” if their last letter is “s.”


  • Excess
  • Suppress
  • Mess
  • Stress

Some exceptions to this rule also exist, such as plural forms of some words.

Examples of exceptions to this rule:

  • Gas
  • Fees
  • Shifts
  • Was

7. Drop the silent E when adding suffix

When we add a suffix “-ing” or “-ed” to words that end in “e,” we usually drop the “e.”


  • Strike -> striking
  • Bike -> biking
  • Hole -> holed
  • Hype -> Hyped

There are a few exceptions to this rule, including: when a word ends in “ee,” and when adding the suffix “-able” to the word. Another example is when adding the suffix “-y” to the word, but this exception is inconsistent.

Examples of exception to this rule:

  • When a word ends in double e: Flee -> fleeing
  • When adding the suffix “-able”: Poke -> pokeable
  • When adding the suffix “-y”: Glue -> gluey

However, despite exceptions to the rule, certain words in English drop the silent “e.”

Examples of further exception:

  • When adding the suffix “-able”: Consume -> consumable
  • When adding the suffix “-y”: Craze -> crazy

To avoid mistakes you need to learn about these exceptions. or you can also get help from paraphrasing-tool.ai tools to ensure your writing is error-free.


Due to the nature of the English language, it makes exceptions when it comes to spelling its rules. However, the rules mostly apply, so everyone should know and understand these rules to avoid spelling mistakes.

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