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Good spelling is part memory, part judgment.
Proper spelling techniques should be memorized
and practiced, but writers should judge their
own abilities and look up unknown words. The English
language contains numerous exceptions for every
rule, so a good dictionary and thesaurus are essential.
Look up words that are unfamiliar, that you do
not use often, or that contain a spelling rule
that you do not know completely. Some of the more
common spelling errors occur in creating plurals,
adding suffixes, and with double consonant or
Use of -s or
-es to Create Plurals.
Adding -s or -es to a word is
the most common way to create a plural, but there
are a variety of other situations in which writers
must use other letters to create plurals. Add
-s to most words that end in "hard" consonant
sounds, including "hard" -ch (sounding
like k): hats, teams, computers, bites, tapes,
stomachs Add -es to words that end in -s,
-sh, -x, -z, or "soft" -ch (sounding like
march): lenses, taxes, marches
Add -s if a vowel precedes the -o:
videos, cameos. (exception: neutrinos)
Add -es if a consonant precedes the -o:
tomatoes, potatoes, zeroes.
Ending in -f or -fe.
There are no set rules for these words. You will
have to memorize them or look them up. Some -f
or -fe words are made plural by adding
-s: beliefs, roofs, chiefs. Others require the
writer to change the -f or -fe to
-ves: life - lives, leaf - leaves.