The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language Word-Study: Chapter V - A Spelling Drill by@sherwincody

The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language Word-Study: Chapter V - A Spelling Drill

The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language Word-Study, by Sherwin Cody is part of HackerNoon’s Book Blog Post series.
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Sherwin Cody

American writer and entrepreneur who developed a long-running home-study course in speaking and writing

The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language Word-Study, by Sherwin Cody is part of HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here.


The method of using the following story of Robinson Crusoe, specially arranged as a spelling drill, should include these steps:

1. Copy the story paragraph by paragraph, with great accuracy, noting every punctuation mark, paragraph indentations, numbers, and headings. Words that should appear in italics should be underlined once, in small capitals twice, in capitals three times. After the copy has been completed, compare it word by word with the original, and if errors are found, copy the entire story again from beginning to end, and continue to copy it till the copy is perfect in every way.

2. When the story has been accurately copied with the original before the eyes, let some one dictate it, and copy from the dictation, afterward comparing with the original, and continuing this process till perfection is attained.

3. After the ability to copy accurately from dictation has been secured, write out the story phonetically. Lay aside the phonetic version for a week and then write the story out from this version with the ordinary spelling, subsequently comparing with the original until the final version prepared from the phonetic version is accurate in every point.

The questions may be indefinitely extended. After this story has been fully mastered, a simple book like “Black Beauty” will furnish additional material for drill. Mental observations, such as those indicated in the notes and questions, should become habitual.

 (For Dictation.)


(Once writers of novels were called liars by some people, because they made up out of their heads the stories they told. In our day we know that there is more truth in many a novel than in most histories. The story of Robinson Crusoe was indeed founded upon the experience of a real man, named Alexander Selkirk, who lived seven years upon a deserted island. Besides that, it tells more truly than has been told in any other writing what a sensible man would do if left to care for himself, as Crusoe was.)

1. A second storm came upon us (says Crusoe in telling his own story), which carried us straight away westward. Early in the morning, while the wind was still blowing very hard, one of the men cried out, “Land!” We had no sooner run out of the cabin than the ship struck upon a sandbar, and the sea broke over her in such a manner that we were driven to shelter from the foam and spray.

Questions and Notes. What is peculiar about writers, liars, know, island, straight, foam, spray? (Answer. In liars we have ar, not er. In the others, what silent letters?) Make sentences containing right, there, hour, no, strait, see, correctly used. Point out three words in which y has been changed to i when other letters were added to the word. Indicate two words in which ea has different sounds. Find the words in which silent e was dropped when a syllable was added. What is peculiar about sensible? cabin? driven? truly? Crusoe?

To remember the spelling of their, whether it is ei or ie, note that it refers to what they possess, theyr things―the y changed to i when r is added.


2. We were in a dreadful condition, and the storm having ceased a little, we thought of nothing but saving our lives. In this distress the mate of our vessel laid ho a boat we had on board, and with the help of the other men got her flung over the ship's side. Getting all into her, we let her go and committed ourselves, eleven in number, to God's mercy and the wild sea.

(While such a wind blew, you may be sure they little knew where the waves were driving them, or if they might not be beaten to pieces on the rocks. No doubt the waves mounted to such a height and the spray caused such a mist that they could see only the blue sky above them.)

3. After we had driven about a league and a half, a raging wave, mountain high, took us with such fury that it overset the boat, and, separating us, gave us hardly time to cry, “Oh, God!”

Questions and Notes. What words in the above paragraphs contain the digraph ea? What sound does it represent in each word? What other digraphs are found in words in the above paragraphs? What silent letters? What principle or rule applies to condition? having? distress? getting? committed? eleven? What is peculiar about thought? lives? laid? mercy? blew? pieces? mountain? league? half? could? Compare ei in height and i alone in high. Think of nothing as no thing. To remember the ie in piece, remember that pie and piece are spelled in the same way. Separate has an a in the second syllable—— like part, since separate means to “part in two.” You easily the word PART in SEPARATE, Observe that ful in dreadful has but one l.


4. That wave carried me a vast way on toward shore, and having spent itself went back, leaving me upon the land almost dry, but half dead with the water I had taken into my lungs and stomach. Seeing myself nearer the mainland than I had expected, with what breath I had left I got upon my feet and endeavored with all my strength to make toward land as fast as I could.

5. I was wholly buried by the next wave that came upon me, but again I was carried a great way toward shore. I was ready to burst with holding my breath, when to my relief I found my head and hands shoot above the surface of the water. I was covered again with water, and dashed against a rock. The blow, taking my breast and side, beat the breath quite out of my body. I held fast by the piece of rock, however, and then, although very weak, I fetched another run, so that I succeeded in getting to the mainland, where I sat me down, quite out of reach of the water.

Questions and Notes. In what words in the preceding paragraphs has silent a been dropped on adding a syllable? In what words do you find the digraph ea, and what sound does it have in each? How many different sounds of ea do you find? What is the difference between breath and breathe―all the differences? How many l's in almost?

In what other compounds does all drop one l? Why do we not have two r's in covered? (Answer. The syllable containing er is not accented. Only accented syllables double a final single consonant on adding a syllable.) What rule applies in the formation of carried? having? endeavored? buried? taking? although? getting? What is peculiar in toward? half? water? stomach? wholly? again? body? succeeded? of?

To remember whether relief, belief, etc., have the digraph ie or ei, notice that e just precedes f in the alphabet and in the word, while the i is nearer the l; besides, the words contain the word lie. In receive, receipt, the e is placed nearest the c, which it is nearest in the alphabet. Or, think of lice: i follows l and e follows a, as in the words believe and receive.

Observe the two l's in wholly,― one in whole; we do not have wholely, as we might expect. Also observe that in again and against ai has the sound of e short, as a has that sound in any and many.


6. I believe it is impossible truly to express what the ecstasies of the soul are when it is so saved, as I may say, out of the grave. “For sudden joys, like sudden griefs, confound at first.”

7. I walked about on the shore, my whole being wrapped up in thinking of what I had been through, and thanking God for my deliverance. Not one soul had been saved but myself. Nor did I afterward see any sign of them, except three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes.

8. I soon began to look about me. I had no change of clothes, nor anything either to eat or drink; nor did I see anything before me but dying of hunger or being eaten by wild beasts.

(Crusoe afterward cast up a sort of ledger account of the good and evil in his lot. On the side of evil he placed, first, the fact that he had been thrown upon a bare and barren island, with no hope of escape. Against this he set the item that he alone had been saved. On the side of evil he noted that he had no clothes; but on the other hand, this was a warm climate, where he could hardly wear clothes if he had them. Twenty-five years later he thought he would be perfectly happy if he were not in terror of men coming to his island——who, he feared, might eat him.)

Questions and Notes. How do you remember the ie in believe, grief, etc.? Give several illustrations from the above paragraphs of the principle that we have a double consonant (in an accented penultimate syllable) after a short vowel. Give illustrations of the single consonant after a long vowel. Make a list of the words containing silent letters, including all digraphs. What letter does true have which truly does not? Is whole pronounced like hole? wholly like holy? What is the difference between clothes and cloths? What sound has a in any? How do you remember that i follows e in their? What rule applies in the formation of dying? Point out two words or more in the above in which we have a silent a following two consonants to indicate a preceding long vowel. Give cases of a digraph followed by a silent e. (Note. Add silent e to past and make paste―long a.) Is the i in evil sounded? There were no bears upon this island. Mention another kind of bear. Observe the difference between hardware—— iron goods——and hard wear, meaning tough usage. What is peculiar about soul? impossible? ecstasies? wrapped? deliverance? sign? except? shoes? hunger? thrown? terror? island?


9. I decided to climb into a tree and sit there until the next day, to think what death I should die. As night came on my heart was heavy, since at night beasts come abroad for their prey. Having cut a short stick for my defense, I took up my lodging on a bough, and fell fast asleep. I afterward found I had no reason to fear wild beasts, for never did I meet any harmful animal.

10. When I awoke it was broad day, the weather was clear and I saw the ship driven almost to the rock where I had been so bruised. The ship seeming to stand upright still, I wished myself aboard, that I might save some necessary things for my use.

(Crusoe shows his good judgment in thinking at once of saving something from the ship for his after use. While others would have been bemoaning their fate, he took from the vessel what he knew would prove useful, and in his very labors he at last found happiness. Not only while his home-building was new, but even years after, we find him still hard at work and still inventing new things.)

Questions and Notes. There are two l's in till; why not in until?

What other words ending in two l's drop one l in compounds? What two sounds do you find given to oa in the preceding paragraphs? What is peculiar about climb? death? dies? night? heart? heavy? since? beasts? prey? defense? lodging? bough? never? harmful? weather? driven? bruised? necessary? judgment? others? happiness? build?

Use the following words in appropriate sentences: clime, dye, pray, bow, write, would. What two pronunciations may bow have, and what is the difference in meaning? What two sounds may s have in use, and what difference do they mark?

What two rules are violated in judgment? What other words are similar exceptions?


11. As I found the water very calm and the ship but a quarter of a mile out, I made up my mind to swim out and get on board her. I at once proceeded to the task. My first work was to search out the provisions, since I was very well disposed to eat. I went to the bread-room and filled my pockets with biscuit. I saw that I wanted nothing but a boat to supply myself with many things which would be necessary to me, and I glanced about me to see how I might meet this need.

12. I found two or three large spars and a spare mast or two, which I threw overboard, tying every one with a rope that it might not drift away. Climbing down the ship's side, I pulled them toward me and tied four of them fast together in the form of a raft, laying two or three pieces of plank upon them crosswise.

13. I now had a raft strong enough to bear any reasonable weight. My next care was to load it. I got three of the seamen's chests, which I managed to break open and empty. These I filled with bread, rice, five pieces of dried goat's flesh, and a little remainder of European grain. There had been some barley and wheat together; but the rats had eaten or spoiled it.

Questions and Notes. In calm you have a silent l; what other words can you mention with this silent l? Note the double e in proceed and succeed; precede has one e with the silent e at the end. Note that u is inserted into biscuit simply to make the c hard before i; with this allowance, this word is spelled regularly. What is the difference between spar and spare? What other word have we had pronounced like threw? Explain tying and tied. Did any change take place when ed was added to tie? Note that four is spelled with ou for the long o sound; forty with a simple o. How is 14 spelled? How do you remember ie in piece? What sound has ei in weight? Mention another word in which ei has the same sound. What other word is pronounced like bear? How do you spell the word like this which is the name of a kind of animal? In what three ways do you find the long sound of a represented in the above paragraphs? Make a list of the words with silent consonants?


14. My next care was for arms. There were two very good fowling-pieces in the great cabin, and two pistols. And now I thought myself pretty well freighted, and began to think how I should get to shore, having neither sail, oar, nor rudder; and the least capful of wind would have overset me.

15. I made many other journeys to the ship, and took away among other things two or three bags of nails, two or three iron crows, and a great roll of sheet lead. This last I had to tear apart and carry away in pieces, it was so heavy. I had the good luck to find a box of sugar and a barrel of fine flour. On my twelfth voyage I found two or three razors with perfect edges, one pair of large scissors, with some ten or a dozen good knives and forks. In a drawer I found some money. “Oh, drug!” I exclaimed. “What art thou good for?”

(To a man alone on a desert island, money certainly has no value. He can buy nothing, sell nothing; he has no debts to be paid; he earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, his business is all with himself and nature, and nature expects no profit, but allows no credit, for a man must pay in work as he goes along. Crusoe had many schemes; but it took a great deal of work to carry them out; and the sum of all was steady work for twenty-five years. In the end we conclude that whatever he got was dearly bought. We come to know what a thing is worth only by measuring its value in the work which it takes to get that thing or to make it, as Crusoe did his chairs, tables, earthenware, etc.)

Questions and Notes. What is peculiar in these words: cabin, pistols, razors, money, value, measuring, bought, barley, capful, roll, successors, desert, certainly? What sound has ou in journeys? Is this sound for ou common? What rule applies to the plural of journey? How else may we pronounce lead? What part of speech is it there? What is the past participle of lead? Is that pronounced like lead, the metal? How else may tear be pronounced? What does that other word mean? Find a word in the above paragraphs pronounced like flower. What other word pronounced like buy? profit? sum? dear? know? ware? What sound has s in sugar? Make a list of the different ways in which long e is represented. What is peculiar about goes? Make a list of the different ways in which long a is represented in the above paragraphs. What sound has o in iron? Is d silent in edges? What sound has ai in pairs? What other word pronounced like this? How do you spell the fruit pronounced like pair? How do you spell the word for the act of taking the skin off any fruit? What sound has u in business? In what other word has it the same sound? Mention another word in which ch has the same sound that it has in schemes. What other word in the above has ai with the same sound that it has in chairs?


16. I now proceeded to choose a healthy, convenient, and pleasant spot for my home. I had chiefly to consider three things: First, air; second, shelter from the heat; third, safety from wild creatures, whether men or beasts; fourth, a view of the sea, that if God sent any ship in sight I might not lose any chance of deliverance. In the course of my search I found a little plain on the side of a rising hill, with a hollow like the entrance to a cave. Here I resolved to pitch my tent.

(He afterward found a broad, grassy prairie on the other side of the island, where he wished he had made his home. On the slope above grew grapes, lemons, citrons, melons, and other kinds of fruit.)

17. Aft er ten or twelve days it came into my thoughts that I should lose my reckoning for want of pen and ink; but to prevent this I cut with my knife upon a large post in capital letters the following words: “I came on shore here on the 30th of September, 1659.” On the sides of this post I cut every day a notch; and thus I kept my calendar, or weekly, monthly, and yearly reckoning of time.

(He afterward found pen, ink, and paper in the ship; but the record on the post was more lasting than anything he could have written on paper. However, when he got his pen and ink he wrote out a daily journal, giving the history of his life almost to the hour and minute. Thus he tells us that the shocks of earthquake were eight minutes apart, and that he spent eighteen days widening his cave.)

18. I made a strong fence of stakes about my tent that no animal could tear down, and dug a cave in the side of the hill, where I stored my powder and other valuables. Every day I went out with my gun on this scene of silent life. I could only listen to the birds, and hear the wind among the trees. I came out, however, to shoot goats for food. I found that as I came down from the hills into the valleys, the wild goats did not see me; but if they caught sight of me, as they did if I went toward them from below, they would turn tail and run so fast I could capture nothing.

Questions and Notes. Are all words in -ceed spelled with a double e? What two other common words besides proceed have we already studied? What sound has ea in healthy? in pleasant? in please? How do you remember that i comes before e in chief? What sound has ai in air? Do you spell 14 and 40 with ou as you do fourth? What other word pronounced like sea? Note the three words, lose, loose, and loss; what is the difference in meaning? Why does chance end with a silent e? change? What other classes of words take a silent e where we should not expect it? What other word pronounced like course? What does it mean? How do you spell the word for the tool with which a carpenter smooths boards? Mention five other words with a silent t before ch, as in pitch. To remember the order of letters in prairie, notice that there is an i next to the r on either side. What other letters represent the vowel sound heard in grew? What two peculiarities in the spelling of thoughts? Mention another word in which ou has the same sound as in thought. How is this sound regularly represented? What other word pronounced like capital? (Answer. Capitol. The chief government building is called the capitol; the city in which the seat of government is located is called the capital, just as the large letters are called capitals.) What sound has ui in fruit? What other two sounds have we had for ui? Would you expect a double consonant in melons and lemons, or are these words spelled regularly? What is peculiar about the spelling of calendar? What other word like it, and what does it mean? What other word spelled like minute, but pronounced differently? What sound has u in this word? What other word pronounced like scene? Is t silent in listen? in often? Why is y not changed to i or ie in valleys? What other plural is made in the same way? Write sentences in which the following words shall be correctly used: are, forth, see (two meanings), cent, cite, coarse, rate, ate, tare, seen, here, site, tale. In what two ways may wind be pronounced, and what is the difference in meaning?


19. I soon found that I lacked needles, pins, and thread, and especially linen. Yet I made clothes and sewed up the seams with tough stripe of goatskin. I afterward got handkerchiefs and shirts from another wreck. However, for want of tools my work went on heavily; yet I managed to make a chair, a table, and several large shelves. For a long time I was in want of a wagon or carriage of some kind. At last I hewed out a wheel of wood and made a wheelbarrow.

20. I worked as steadily as I could for the rain, for this was the rainy season. I may say I was always busy. I raised a turf wall close outside my double fence, and felt sure if any people came on shore they would not see anything like a dwelling. I also made my rounds in the woods every day. As I have already said, I found plenty of wild goats. I also found a kind of wild pigeon, which builds, not as wood pigeons do, in trees, but in holes of the rocks. The young ones were very good meat.

Questions and Notes. What sound has ea in thread? What is peculiar in the spelling of liven? What is peculiar in the spelling of handkerchiefs? wrecks? What rule applied to the formation of the word heavily? What sound has ai in chair? Is the i or the a silent in carriage? (Look this up in the dictionary.) What sound has u in busy? What other word with the same sound for u? Is there any word besides people in which eo has the sound of e long? In what other compounds besides also does all drop one l? What sound has ai in said? Does it have this sound in any other word? What sound has eo in pigeon? ui in builds? What other word pronounced like hole? How do you remember ei in their?

Use the following words in appropriate sentences: so, seem, hew, rein, meet. What differences do you find in the principles of formation of second, wreck, lock, reckon? In what different ways is the sound of long a represented in paragraphs 19 and 20? What is peculiar in tough? especially? handkerchiefs? season? raised? double? fence? already? pigeon? ones? very? were?


21. I found that the seasons of the year might generally be divided, not into summer and winter, as in Europe, but into the rainy seasons and the dry seasons, which were generally thus: From the middle of February to the middle of April (including March), rainy; the sun being then on or near the equinox. From the middle of April to the middle of August (including May, June, and July), dry; the sun being then north of the equator. From the middle of August till the middle of October (including September), rainy; the sun being then come back to the equator. From the middle of October till the middle of February (including November, December, and January), dry; the sun being then to the south of the equator.

22. I have already made mention of some grain that had been spoiled by the rats. Seeing nothing but husks and dust in the bag which had contained this, I shook it out one day under the rock on one side of my cave. It was just before the rainy season began. About a month later I was surprised to see ten or twelve ears of English barley that had sprung up and several stalks of rice. You may be sure I saved the seed, hoping that in time I might have enough grain to supply me with bread. It was not until the fourth season that I could allow myself the least particle to eat, and none of it was ever wasted. From this handful, I had in time all the rice and barley I needed for food,―above forty bushels of each in a year, as I might guess, for I had no measure.

23. I may mention that I took from the ship two cats; and the ship's dog which I found there was so overjoyed to see me that he swam ashore with me. These were much comfort to me. But one of the cats disappeared and I thought she was dead. I heard no more of her till she came home with three kittens. In the end I was so overrun with cats that I had to shoot some, when most of the remainder disappeared in the woods and did not trouble me any more.

Questions and Notes. Why is g soft in generally? How do you pronounce February? What sound ha{ve the }s{'}s in surprised? Mention three or four other words ending in the sound of ize which are spelled with an s. What sound has ou in enough? What other words have gh with the sound of f? We have here the spelling of waste——meaning carelessly to destroy or allow to be destroyed; what is the spelling of the word which means the middle of the body? Is ful always written with one l in derivatives, as in handful above? Mention some other words in which ce has the sound of c as in rice. How do you spell 14? like forty? Why is u placed before e in guess? Is it part of a digraph with e? What sound has ea in measure? What sound has it in this word? What other word pronounced like heard? Which is spelled regularly? How many l's has till in compounds? Mention an example.

Use the following words in sentences: herd, write, butt, reign, won, bred, waist, kneaded, sum. What is peculiar about year? divided? equator? December? grain? nothing? contain? barley? until? each? there? thought? some? disappeared? trouble?


24. One day in June I found myself very ill. I had a cold fit and then a hot one, with faint sweats after it. My body ached all over, and I had violent pains in my head. The next day I felt much better, but had dreadful fears of sickness, since I remembered that I was alone, and had no medicines, and not even any food or drink in the house. The following day I had a terrible headache with my chills and fever; but the day after that I was better again, and went out with my gun and shot a she-goat; yet I found myself very weak. After some days, in which I learned to pray to God for the first time after eight years of wicked seafaring life, I made a sort of medicine by steeping tobacco leaf in rum. I took a large dose of this several times a day. In the course of a week or two I got well; but for some time after I was very pale, and my muscles were weak and flabby.

25. After I had discovered the various kinds of fruit which grew on the other side of the island, especially the grapes which I dried for raisins, my meals were as follows: I ate a bunch of raisins for my breakfast; for dinner a piece of goat's flesh or of turtle broiled; and two or three turtle's eggs for supper. As yet I had nothing in which I could boil or stew anything. When my grain was grown I had nothing with which to mow or reap it, nothing with which to thresh it or separate it from the chaff, no mill to grind it, no sieve to clean it, no yeast or salt to make it into bread, and no oven in which to bake it. I did not even have a water-pail. Yet all these things I did without. In time I contrived earthen vessels which were very useful, though rather rough and coarse; and I built a hearth which I made to answer for an oven.

Questions and Notes. What is peculiar about body? What sound has ch in ached? Note that there are t{w}o i's in medicine. What is peculiar about house? What other word pronounced like weak? Use it in a sentence. What is the plural of leaf? What are all the differences between does and dose? Why is week in the phrase “In the course of a week or two” spelled with double e instead of ea? What is irregular about the word muscles? Is c soft before l? Is it silent in muscles? What three different sounds may ui have? Besides fruit, what other words with ui? What sound has ea in breakfast? What two pronunciations has the word mow? What difference in meaning? What sound has e in thresh? How do you remember the a in separate? What sound has ie in sieve? Do you know any other word in which ie has this sound? What other sound does it often have? Does ea have the same sound in earthen and hearth? Is w sounded in answer? What sound has o in oven? Use the following words in sentences: week, pole, fruit, pane, weak, course, bred, pail, ruff.


26. You would have smiled to see me sit down to dinner with my family. There was my parrot, which I had taught to speak. My dog was grown very old and crazy; but he sat at my right hand. Then there were my two cats, one on one side of the table and one on the other. Besides these, I had a tame kid or two always about the house, and several sea-fowls whose wings I had clipped. These were my subjects. In their society I felt myself a king. I was lord of all the land about, as far as my eye could reach. I had a broad and wealthy domain. Here I reigned sole master for twenty-five years. Only once did I try to leave my island in a boat; and then I came near being carried out into the ocean forever by an ocean current I had not noticed before.

27. When I had been on the island twenty-three years I was greatly frightened to see a footprint in the sand. For two years after I saw no human being; but then a large company of savages appeared in canoes. When they had landed they built a fire and danced about it. Presently they seemed about to make a feast on two captives they had brought with them. By chance, however, one of them escaped. Two of the band followed him; but he was a swifter runner than they. Now, I thought, is my chance to get a servant. So I ran down the hill, and with the butt of my musket knocked down one of the two pursuers. When I saw the other about to draw his bow. I was obliged to shoot him. The man I had saved seemed at first as frightened at me as were his pursuers. But I beckoned him to come to me and gave him all the signs of encouragement I could think of.

28. He was a handsome fellow, with straight, strong limbs. He had a very good countenance, not a fierce and surly appearance. His hair was long and black, not curled like wool; his forehead was very high and large; and the color of his skin was not quite black, but tawny. His face was round and plump; his nose small, not flat like that of negroes; and he had fine teeth, well set, and as white as ivory.

29. Never man had a more faithful, loving, sincere servant than Friday was to me (for so I called him from the day on which I had saved his life). I was greatly delighted with him and made it my business to teach him everything that was proper to make him useful, handy, and helpful. He was the aptest scholar that ever was, and so merry, and so pleased when he could but understand me, that it was very pleasant to me to talk to him. Now my life began to be so easy, that I said to myself, that could I but feel safe from more savages, I cared not if I were never to remove from the place where I lived.

(Friday was more like a son than a servant to Crusoe. Here was one being who could under-stand human speech, who could learn the difference between right and wrong, who could be neighbor, friend, and companion. Crusoe had often read from his Bible; but now he might teach this heathen also to read from it the truth of life. Friday proved a good boy, and never got into mischief.)

Questions and Notes. What is the singular of canoes? What is the meaning of butt? How do you spell the word pronounced like this which means a hogshead? In what two ways is bow pronounced? What is the difference in meaning? What other word pronounced like bow when it means the front end of a boat? Encouragement has an e after the g; do you know two words ending in ment preceəded by the soft g sound which omit the silent e? Make a list of all the words you know which, like fierce, have ie with the sound of a long. How do you pronounce forehead? Mention two peculiarities in the spelling of color. Compare it with collar. What is the singular of negroes? What other words take es in the plural? What is the plural of tobacco? Compare speak, with its ea for the sound of e long, and speech, with its double e. What two peculiarities in neighbor? What sound has ie in friend? In the last paragraph above, how do you pronounce the first word read? How the second? What other word pronounced like read with ea like short a? Compare to lead, led, and the metal lead. How do you pronounce mischief? Use the following words in sentences: foul, reign, sole, strait, currant. What is peculiar in these words: parrot? taught? always? reach? only? leave? island? carried? ocean? notice? built? dance? brought? get? runner? butt? knock?

Derivation of words.

It is always difficult to do two things at the same time, and for that reason no reference has been made in the preceding exercises to the rules for prefixes and suffixes, and in general to the derivation of words. This should be taken up as a separate study, until the meaning of every prefix and suffix is clear in the mind in connection with each word. This study, however, may very well be postponed till the study of grammar has been taken up.

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Cody, Sherwin, 2007. The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language Word-Study. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved April 2022 from

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by Sherwin Cody @sherwincody.American writer and entrepreneur who developed a long-running home-study course in speaking and writing
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