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Rules for Spelling


SPELLING is the art of expressing a word by its proper letters.

The following rules are deemed important in practice, although they assist us in spelling only a small portion of the words of our language. This useful art is to be chiefly acquired by studying the spelling-book and dictionary, and by strict attention in reading.

RULE I. Monosyllables ending in f, l, or s, double the final or ending consonant when it is preceded by a single vowel; as staff, mill, pass. Exceptions; of, if, is, as, lids, was, yes, his, this, us, and thus.

False Orthography for the learner to correct.—Be thou like the gale that moves the gras, to those who ask thy aid.—The aged hero comes forth on his staf; his gray hair glitters in the beam.—Shal mortal man be more just than God?—Few know the value of health til they lose it.—Our manners should be neither gros, nor excessively refined.
And that is not the lark, whose notes do beat The vaulty heaven so high above our heads: I have more care to stay, than wil to go.

RULE II. Monosyllables ending in any consonant but f, l, or s, never double the final consonant when it is preceded by a single vowel; as, man, hat. Exceptions; add, ebb, butt, egg, odd, err, inn, bunn, purr, and buzz.

False Orthography.—None ever went sadd from Fingal.—He rejoiced over his sonn.—Clonar lies bleeding on the bedd of death.—Many a trapp is set to insnare the feet of youth.
The weary sunn has made a golden sett, And, by the bright track of his golden carr, Gives token of a goodly day to-morrow.

RULE III. Words ending in y, form the plural of nouns, the persons of verbs, participial nouns, past participles, comparatives, and superlatives, by changing y into i, when the y is preceded by a consonant; as, spy, spies; I carry, thou carriest, he carries; carrier, carried; happy, happier, happiest.

The present participle in ing, retains the y that i may not be doubled; as, carry, carrying.

But when y is preceded by a vowel, in such instances as the above, it is not changed into i; as, boy, boys; I cloy, he cloys; except in the words lay, pay, and say I from which are formed laid, paid, and said; and their compounds, unpaid, unsaid, &c.

False Orthography.—Our fancys should be governed by reason.—Thou wearyest thyself in vain.—He denyed himself all sinful pleasures.
Win straiing souls with modesty and love; Cast none away.
The truly good man is not dismaied by poverty.
Ere fresh morning streak the east, we must be risen to reform yonder allies green.

RULE IV. When words ending in y, assume an additional syllable beginning with a consonant, the y, if it is preceded by a consonant, is commonly changed to i; as, happy, happily, happiness.

But when y is preceded by a vowel, in such instances, it is very rarely changed to i; as, coy, coyless; boy, boyish; boyhood; joy, joyless, joyful.

False Orthography.—His mind is uninfluenced by fancyful humors.—The vessel was heavyly laden.—When we act against conscience, we become the destroiers of our own peace.
Christiana, mayden of heroic mien! Star of the north! of northern stars the queen!

RULE V. Monosyllables, and words accented on the last syllable, ending with a single consonant that is preceded by a single vowel, double that consonant when they assume another syllable that begins with a vowel; as, wit, witty; thin, thinnish; to abet, an abetter.

But if a diphthong precedes, or the accent is not on the last syllable, the consonant remains single; as, to toil, toiling; to offer, an offering; maid, maiden.

False Orthography.—The business of to-day, should not be defered till to-morrow.—That law is annuled.—When we have outstriped our errors we have won the race.—By defering our repentance, we accumulate our sorrows.—The Christian Lawgiver has prohibited many things which the heathen philosophers allowed.
At summer eve, when heaven's aerial bow Spans with bright arch the glitterring hills below.— Thus mourned the hapless man; a thunderring sound Rolled round the shudderring walls and shook the ground.

RULE VI. Words ending in double l, in taking ness, less, ly, or ful, after them, generally omit one l; as, fulness, skilless, fully skilful.

But words ending in any double letter but l, and taking ness, less, ly, or ful, after them, preserve the letter double; as, harmlessness, carelessness, carelessly, stiffly, successful.

False Orthography.—A chillness generally precedes a fever.—He is wed to dullness.
The silent stranger stood amazed to see Contempt of wealth and willful poverty.
Restlesness of mind impairs our peace.—The road to the blisful regions, is as open to the peasant as to the king.—The arrows of calumny fall harmlesly at the feet of virtue.

RULE VII. Ness, less, ly, or ful, added to words ending in silent e, does not cut it off; as, paleness, guileless, closely, peaceful; except in a few words; as, duly, truly, awful.

False Orthography.—Sedatness is becoming.
All these with ceasless praise his works behold. Stars rush: and final ruin fiercly drives Her ploughshare o'er creation! ———Nature made a pause, An aweful pause! prophetic of her end!

RULE VIII. When words ending in silent e, assume the termination, ment, the e should not be cut off; as, abatement, chastisement.

Ment, like other terminations, changes y into i when the y is preceded by a consonant; as, accompany, accompaniment; merry, merriment.

False Orthography.—A judicious arrangment of studies facilitates improvment.—Encouragment is greatest when we least need it.
To shun allurments is not hard, To minds resolv'd, forwarn'd, and well prepared.

RULE IX. When words ending in silent e, assume the termination, able or ible, the e should generally be cut off; as, blame, blamable; cure, curable; sense, sensible. But if c or g soft comes before e in the original word, the e is preserved in words compounded with able; as, peace, peaceable; change, changeable.

False Orthography.—Knowledge is desireable.—Misconduct is inexcuseable.—Our natural defects are not chargable upon us.—We are made to be servicable to others as well as to ourselves.

RULE X. When ing or ish is added to words ending in silent e, the e is almost always omitted; as, place, placing; lodge, lodging; slave, slavish; prude, prudish.

False Orthography.—Labor and expense are lost upon a droneish spirit.—An obligeing and humble disposition, is totally unconnected with a servile and cringeing humor.
Conscience anticipateing time, Already rues th' unacted crime.
One self-approveing hour, whole years outweighs Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas.

RULE XI. Compound words are generally spelled in the same manner as the simple words of which they are compounded; as, glasshouse, skylight, thereby, hereafter. Many words ending in double l, are exceptions to this rule; as, already, welfare, wilful, fulfil; and also the words, wherever, christmas, lammas, &c.

False Orthography.—The Jew's pasover was instituted in A.M. 2513.—They salute one another by touching their forheads.—That which is some times expedient, is not allways so.
Then, in the scale of reasoning life 'tis plain, There must be, somwhere, such a rank as man. Till hymen brought his lov-delighted hour, There dwelt no joy in Eden's rosy bower. The head reclined, the loosened hair, The limbs relaxed, the mournful air:— See, he looks up; a wofull smile Lightens his wo-worn cheek awhile.

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