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Capital letters

There are many words that always use a capital letter even in the middle of a sentence.
 
Days
 
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
 
Months
 
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.
 
Names of people
 
Peter, Wendy, Jane, Sam, David, George, Alan, Adam , Sharon etc.
 
Titles
 
Dr, Doctor, Mr, Mister, Miss, Mrs, Ms.
 
Countries
 
England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam etc.
 
Cities
 
London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Ho Chi Minh, Nottingham ect.
 
Nationalities & languages
 
Dutch, British, Danish, American, Vietnamese, Spanish, Australian etc.
 
A very important rule about using capitals is that if you write all in capitals it is often seen as a lack of intelligence or shouting.

I before E except after C

Learn this English rhyme as it will help you spell correctly. The rhyme suggests that the correct order is ie unless the preceding letter is c, in which case it is ei.
  • ie in believe, fierce, collie, die, friend.
  • ei  after c in deceive, ceiling, receipt, ceilidh.
  • ie after c : species, science, sufficient.
  • ei not preceded by c: seize, weird, vein, their, foreign, feisty.
Remember, if the e+i are pronounced /ei/, the rule does not apply, (e.g. eight, neighbour). Other exceptions: either, neither, leisure.
 
Words that end in E
 
When you add -ing or -ed to a word that ends in e  you should drop the final e.
  • Love becomes loved.
  • Write becomes writing.
When you add -ment or -dom to a word that ends in e you need to keep the final e.
  • Amuse becomes amusement.
  • Bore becomes boredom.
If there is a vowel before the e as in argue you should drop the e before adding a suffix.
  • Argue becomes argued.
  • Argue becomes arguing.
  • Argue becomes argument.
If there is a soft c or g before the e as in manage or notice, keep the final e:
  • Manage becomes manageable.
  • Manage becomes management.
  • Notice becomes noticeable.
Words that end in Y
 
When you add a suffix to a word ending in y, change the y to an i:
  • Happy becomes happier.
  • Study becomes studied.
Note that this rule does not apply when you add –ing as in crying and playing, or if there is a vowel before the y like employment and obeyed.

Doubling Consonants

You sometimes need to double the final consonant of a word when you add a suffix.
This helps the reader to pronounce the word correctly and it shows that the vowel before it has a short sound.
  • Slim (short I sound).
  • Slime (long I sound).
To keep the short /i/ sound in slim, double the last consonant before you add a suffix.
  • Slim becomes slimmed not slimed.
  • Slim becomes slimmer not slimmer.
  • Slim becomes slimmest not slimest.
Note if the word ends in two consonants do not double the final consonant:
  • Talent becomes talented.
If the word contains more than one syllable you need to only double the final consonant if the last syllable is stressed:
  • Occur becomes occurred.
Note again this rule does not apply if the last syllable is not stressed:
  • Happen becomes happened.
Adding prefixes
 
Now if your adding a prefix the spelling of a word does not normally change as in unnecessary, dissatisfied and prearranged.

American or British Spelling?

Both American and British spellings are acceptable however you must use the same style consistently throughout your IELTS test.
 
The best-known example is the word color or colour, but its easy to get mixed up with other words like favorite or favourite, so learn either British or American spelling and stick to it.
  • My favorite color is blue. (American)
  • My favourite colour is blue. (British)
  • My favourite color is blue. (Mixed) 
On our British vs American page you can find a list of British vs American spelling and its rules.
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