Understanding Spelling Correction for CLAT English Language Section

In the English language, it is not only important to use correct English grammar but also it is very important to use the correct spelling of the words. In everyday usage whenever we write anything it is very important that we write the correct words otherwise it leaves a very bad impression on the reader.

For CLAT students learning spelling rules is also very important as in the examination direct questions are asked to choose the correct spelling of the word from the given options and therefore this article on Spelling Correction in CLAT English.

We generally do not focus on the spelling of the words while reading any article and tend to make a mistake in them. There are some words which we spell wrong in the common usage that we are unaware of its actual spelling. Eg the word ‘fulfil’ made up of ‘full’ + ‘fill’ is mostly spelt as ‘fulfil’.

Follow the following are the spelling rules to avoid such mistakes:

  1. When prefix ‘un’ ‘dis’ ‘in’ is added to the words ending with ‘ll’ then only single ‘l’ is used. For example Un + till = Until, Dis + till = Distil
  2. When prefix ‘all’ and ‘well’ is used with any verb then instead double ‘l’ single ‘l’ is used. For example All + ready = Already, Well + come = Welcome.
  3. When the suffix ‘ness’ is used with a word ending with ‘n’ then letter ‘n’ gets doubled. For example Clean + ness = Cleanness, Keen + ness = Keenness.
  4. The letter ‘c’ is followed by the letters ‘ei’ and the other letters are followed by ‘ie’. For example, it is ‘received’ and not ‘recieved’. Similarly, it is ‘brief’ and not ‘breif’

But the following words are an exception to this rule – leisure, freight, height, heir, feign, reign, their and counterfeit.

  1. When the suffix ‘ly’ is added to the adjectives ending with the letter ‘l’ then the letter ‘l’ gets doubled. For example Real + Ly = Really, Final + Ly = Finally.
  2. When the suffix ‘ly’ is added to the adjectives ending with ‘le’ then the letters ‘le’ are removed. For example Gentle + Ly = Gently, Subtle + Ly = Subtly.
  3. When the two words ending with‘ll’ are joined together then in both the words only single ‘l’ is used. For example Full + Fill = Fulfil, Will + Full = Wilful.
  4. When suffixes er, est, ly, ful, and ness are added to the nouns and adjectives ending with ‘y’ with a vowel before them, then ‘y’ is changed into ‘i’. For example Happy + er = Happier, plenty + ful = plentiful, merry + ly = merrily.
  5. When suffix ‘ing’ is added to the verbs ending with ‘ie; then instead of ‘ie’ ‘y’ is used. For example die + ing = dying.
  6. Verbs ending with ‘y’ with a vowel before it does not change its spelling of the original word when different forms of a verb are made of them. Eg the past form of the verb ‘obey’ is ‘obeyed’, the continuous form of the verb ‘pray’ is ‘praying’.

Following words are the exception to this rule- say, lay and pay

  1. Verbs ending with ‘y’ change into ‘i’ when different forms of the verb are made of them. For example, the past form of the verb ‘try’ is ‘tried’.

But ‘y’ remains unchanged when the verb is converted into its continuous form by adding ‘ing’ to it. For example, the continuous form of verb marry is marrying.

  1. When any suffix is added to a word which ends with a consonant with a vowel before it then the last letter of the word gets doubled. For example stop + ed = stopped, sad + er = sadder, cut + er = cutter, mud + y = muddy, model + ing = modelling.
  2. When any suffix is added to a word which ends with a consonant but has two vowels before it then the last letter of the word is not doubled. For example team + ed = teamed, cool + ing = cooling.
  3. When suffix starts with a consonant and it is added to the word ending with a consonant with a vowel before it then the last letter of the word does not get doubled. For example sad + ness = sadness
  4. When the suffix ‘ly’ is added to a word in which ‘e’ is silent then the letter ‘e’ is retained in that word. For example false + ly = falsely, sure + ly = surely.

But the following words are an exception to this rule- wholly, truly and duly.

  1. When suffix ‘able’ and ‘ous’ is added to a word ending with letter ‘e’ before which letter ‘c’ or ‘g’ is used then letter ‘e’ is retained in that word. For example service + able = serviceable, courage + ous = courageous
  2. The letter ‘e’ is not dropped in the words ending with the letter ‘e’ when suffix beginning with a consonant like ness, ful, less, hood, ly etc are added to it. For example hate + ful = hateful, like + ness = likeness, state + hood = statehood, achieve + ment = achievement.

Following words are exception to this rule – argue + ment = argument, awe + ful = awful.

  1. When suffix ‘ing’, ‘able’, ‘ary’, ‘ous’ are added to the words ending with the letter ‘e’ then in such words letter ‘e’ is dropped. For example value + able = valuable, age + ing = aging, desire + ous = desirous, imagine + ary = imaginary.

‘likeable’ is an exception to this rule.

  1. When ‘y’ is added to a noun ending with the letter ‘e’ then ‘e’ is removed from such words. For example noise + y = noisy, taste + y = tasty.
  2. When suffix ‘tion’ is added to a word ending with the letter ‘e’ before which letter ‘t’ is used then ‘e’ is dropped in such words. For example pollute + tion = pollution, deplete + tion = depletion.
  3. When suffix ‘ous’ is added to the words ending with ‘ce’ then letter ‘e’ is changed to ‘i’. For example space + ous = spacious, malice + ous = malicious.
  4. When suffix ‘ed’ ‘ing’ ‘er’ is added to the word ending with the letter ‘c’ then the letter is changed to ‘ck’. For example panic + ed = panicked
  5. When the suffix ‘able’ ‘ing’ ‘ful’ is added to the word ending with the letters ‘ee’ or ‘oo’ then these letters are not dropped in such words. For example agree + able = agreeable, glee + ful = gleeful, woo
    + ing = wooing.
  6. When singular nouns ending in ‘f’ or ‘fe’ are changed into plural add ‘ves’ in place of ‘f’ or ‘fe’. For example the plural of wife is wives, loaf is loaves.

Following words are an exception to these rules – handkerchief, chief, cliff, belief.

  1. When singular nouns ending with ‘y’ with a consonant before them are changed into plural ‘y’ changes into ‘ies’. For example, the plural of lady is ladies. When the noun ending with ‘y’ with a vowel before them retains ‘y’ and the letter‘s’ is added to it. For example, the plural of word joy is joys.

With a bare reading of the above rules twice or thrice it will become very easy to identify the correct spelling of the word.

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