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Spelling Rules

Year 3 and 4 Spellings

Spelling Rule Example Words Useful Links

Adding suffixes beginning with vowel letters to words of more than one


forgetting, forgotten, beginning, beginner, prefer, preferred, gardening, gardener, limiting, limited, limitation


The /ɪ/ sound spelt y elsewhere than at the end of words

myth, gym, Egypt, pyramid, mystery


The /U/ sound spelt ou

young, touch, double, trouble, country


Prefixes dis, mis, in, re, sub, inter, super, anti and auto



Before a root word starting with l, in–

becomes il.

Before a root word starting with r, in–

becomes ir

Before a root word starting with m or

p, in– becomes im

dis–: disappoint, disagree, disobey

mis–: misbehave, mislead, misspell (mis + spell)

in–: inactive, incorrect

il-: llegal, illegible

im–.immature, immortal, impossible, impatient, imperfect

ir–. irregular, irrelevant, irresponsible

re–: redo, refresh, return, reappear,


sub–: subdivide, subheading,

submarine, submerge

inter–: interact, intercity, international, interrelated (inter + related)

super–: supermarket, superman, superstar

anti–: antiseptic, anticlockwise,


auto–: autobiography, autograph


The suffix –ation

information, adoration, sensation,

preparation, admiration


The suffix –ly


(1) If the root word ends in –y with a

consonant letter before it, the y is

changed to i, but only if the root word

has more than one syllable.

 (2) If the root word ends with –le, the

–le is changed to –ly.

 (3) If the root word ends with –ic,

–ally is added rather than just –ly,

except in the word publicly.

 (4) The words truly, duly, wholly.

sadly, completely, usually (usual + ly),

finally (final + ly), comically (comical+ ly)


happily, angrily

gently, simply, humbly, nobly


basically, frantically, dramatically






Words with endings sounding like –sure. Or chure spelt- ture

measure, treasure, pleasure, enclosure

creature, furniture, picture, nature,



Endings which sound like -shun

division, invasion, confusion, decision, collision, television


The suffix –ous

poisonous, dangerous, mountainous, famous, enormous, jealous humorous, glamorous, vigorous courageous,

serious, obvious, curious



Endings which sound like /shun/ spelt –tion,–sion, –ssion, –cian

invention, injection, action, hesitation,

completion expression, discussion,

confession, permission, admission

musician, electrician, magician, politician, mathematician, extension, comprehension, tension


Words with the /k/ sound spelt ch

scheme, chorus, chemist, echo,



Words with the /sh/ sound spelt ch

chef, chalet, machine, brochure


Words ending with the /g/ sound spelt –

gue and the /k/ sound spelt –que

league, tongue, antique, unique


Words with the /s/ sound spelt sc

science, scene, discipline, fascinate,



Words with the /eɪ/ sound spelt ei, eigh,

or ey

vein, weigh, eight, neighbour, they, obey


Possessive apostrophe with plural words.

(Note: proper nouns ending in an s use the ’s suffix e.g. Cyprus’s population)

girls’, boys’, babies’, children’s, men’s,



Homophones and near-homophones

accept/except, affect/effect, ball/bawl,

berry/bury. brake/break, fair/fare,

grate/great, groan/grown, here/hear,

heel/heal/he’ll, knot/not, mail/male,

main/mane, meat/meet, medal/meddle,

missed/mist, peace/piece, plain/plane,

rain/rein/reign, scene/seen, weather/whether, whose/who’s




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