The English language has an alphabet comprising five vowels and twenty-one consonants. These letters help us to construct words which allow us to communicate with one another through our writing. Spellings play an important role in understanding English and they help us to organise letters in particular ways to form words by following conventions. For instance, COUGH and STAFF have different end spellings but have the same end pronunciation.
Spellings are absolutely necessary for communication. If there were no conventional spellings in English, and no conventional pronunciations, then all of us would be confused and we would not be able to communicate with one another at all!.
Spellings are like traffic rules. If everyone follows traffic rules then traffic flows smoothly and there will be no accidents and people will be able to reach their destinations properly. Imagine if one user of the roads breaks the traffic rule then traffic will be held up and people will not reach their destinations. Similarly, if anyone who is communicating in English does not follow the correct way of spelling words they will not be recognised by the reader and his communication will be misunderstood.
In English there are some abnormalities visible in spellings. You will find some words containing certain letters whose sounds are not used in pronunciation. For instance, WRENCH is a word in which the sound of W is not made use of and in such cases the word is said to contain a silent letter. English has many words with silent letters and it is advisable to learn all of them. More often than not such words with silent letters have some rule governing their use.
There are other words where one part of the spellings are different but the pronunciations are similar. For instance, BEETLE and BRUTAL are two words with three different letters at their endings, but they have similar pronunciation.
Spellings can be learnt mainly through lots of practice and lots of consultations with the dictionary. In the following quiz, and the five quizzes thereafter, we will learn more about spellings.