Spelling for Praxis II ParaPro Test Prep Study Guide (page 3)
The practice quiz for this study guide can be found at:
Approximately four questions on the ParaPro Assessment will test your ability recognize misspelled words. Those questions will ask you to identify the answer choice containing a word that is NOT spelled correctly. All you have to do is point out the misspelled word from the other three correctly spelled words. You do not need to fix the spelling of the misspelled word.
Of course, it would be nearly impossible to memorize the spelling of every word in the English language. But there are a few spelling rules that will help you recognize whether a word is misspelled on the ParaPro Assessment.
Some words are pluralized by adding an –s to the end of the word. Others are pluralized by adding an –es to the end of the word. However, there are other special rules for many words that end with the letter f, such as hoof or scarf. In those words, the letter f changes to the letter v, and then an –es is added. So scarf becomes scarves and hoof becomes hooves. Also remember that nouns that end in –y usually change to –ies when pluralized. For example, policy becomes policies and company becomes companies.
Adding Vowel Suffixes
A lot of common spelling mistakes occur at the ends of words that have suffixes. There are a few rules to remember when looking at the end of a word to see if it is spelled correctly. You need to look at the root word and determine if the suffix is proper.
If a root words ends in with a silent e, like bike, the vowel should be dropped when added a suffix that starts in a vowel, like -ing or -ed. Look at the following list of root words and see how the e at the end gets dropped when a suffix is added.
There are exceptions to this handy rule, unfortunately. For example, words that end in -ce or -ge keep their silent e when the suffix begins with a, o, or u. For example, change becomes changeable and courage becomes courageous. The e stays on.
If a root word ends in a consonant, then the consonant may have to be repeated when a vowel suffix is added. It depends whether the word ends in a stressed short vowel sound.
A root word that ends in a consonant with a long vowel sound does not need the repeated letter. For example, the word repeat can just become repeated. And any word with a stress not on the end of the word doesn't need a repeated consonant either. For example, open can just become opening. Note that the consonants v, j, k, w, and x are almost never doubled.
When any word that ends in y takes on a suffix, the y changes to an i. See the examples in the following table.
–Sion vs. –tion
When you change some verbs into nouns, they take on a suffix. Some of those words end in -tion, like completion. Others end in -sion, like extension. How do you tell whether to use -tion or -sion at the end of a word? You need to look at the root word. If the root word ends in a t sound, use -tion. For example celebrate becomes celebration or devote becomes devotion. If the root word ends in s or d, use -sion. For example, extend becomes extension or decide becomes decision. Any word that ends in -mit, however, changes to -miss-. That means that submit becomes submission.
-Ant or -ance vs. -ent or -ence
Many common misspelled words are a result of words that end with -ent, -ence, -ant, or -ance suffixes. That's because they sound the same. For example, innocent ends with -ent while elegant ends with -ant. How can anyone know the proper spelling? As usual, it helps to look at the root word. Here are some general rules to follow, using the root word as a guide.
Add –ant or –ance when the root word:
- ends in -y: ally becomes alliance or rely becomes reliant
- ends in -ear: clear becomes clearance
- ends in -ure: assure becomes assurance
- ends in unstressed -er: hinder becomes hinderance
- begins with a: allow becomes allowance
Add –ent or –ence when the root word:
- ends in -ist: exist becomes existent or existence
- ends in -ere: adhere becomes adherence
- includes -cid-: coincide becomes coincidence
- includes -fid-: confide becomes confidence
- includes -sid-: reside becomes residence
- includes -vid: provide becomes providence
- includes -flu-: affluent becomes affluence
- includes -qu-: frequent becomes frequency
- ends in stressed -er: infer becomes inference
Just like almost every other spelling rule, there are exceptions. For example, difference ends in an unstressed -er, but it ends in -ence.
-Ary vs. -ery
Misspelled words also end in one of these common suffixes. Fortunately, this spelling rule is a bit simpler than some of the others. The truth is that almost all of these words end in -ary. For example, dictionary, evolutionary, necessary, secretary, and vocabulary all end in -ary. The best way to know when to use -ery is to recognize the exceptions. Cemetery and stationery (meaning paper) are two of the most commonly misspelled -ery words.
Ch vs. tch
Why is it that some words with the same sound use /ch/ while others use /tch/? For example, beach and catch seem to have the same sound. The rule here is that the /tch/ follows short vowel sounds. The /ch/ follows long vowel sounds. See the following table.
Once again, there are a few examples that don't fit this rule. For example, such, which, and much are all common words that disregard this rule. But this is still a good rule to consider.
I Before E …
You've probably heard of this spelling rule. However, there is more to the popular rhyme "i before e, except after c." As with most spelling rules in the English language, there are exceptions. It may be helpful to consider that most words with the ee sound tend to fit this rule. See the words with this sound that fit the rule in the table below.
Remember that words that don't make the ee sound don't really follow this rule. That's why words like neighbor or weigh are spelled with e before i.
Sometimes you simply have to trust your instinct as to whether a word looks right or not. You can sound it out, which helps for some words. For example, if you say science, you should hear that the i definitely comes after the e—even though it follows a c. And the word weird actually has an e sound before the i sound, too.
The practice quiz for this study guide can be found at:
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