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1.4: Spelling

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 22, 2013 .


This resource deals with spelling.

Some of the multiple-choice questions will ask you to correct spelling errors. However, you are not required to know how to spell every word in the English language. The questions will be restricted to errors related to possessives, contractions, and homonyms.


A possessive demonstrates ownership of something. Use the following guidelines to correct spelling errors that involve possessives.

To create a possessive with a singular noun or a plural noun that does not end in s, add an apostrophe and an s. Remember that if you add only an s without an apostrophe, your reader will think the word is a plural noun rather than a possessive singular noun.

To create a possessive with a plural noun that ends in s, just add an apostrophe. This includes plural nouns that end in ies.

With possessive pronouns (his, hers, ours, yours, whose, theirs, its), you do not need to use apostrophes. When preceding a noun, his, her, our, your, whose, and their, you don’t need an s because they are already possessive.

Note: This error is very common. People often confuse the possessive its with the contraction it’s (see contraction section below). Just remember that its is possessive of something and it’s means it is.

Apostrophe exercise

Punctuate the following sentences with apostrophes according to the rules for using the apostrophe.
1. Whos the partys candidate for vice president this year?
2. The fox had its right foreleg caught securely in the traps jaws.
3. Our neighbors car is an old Chrysler, and its just about to fall apart.
4. In three weeks time well have to begin school again.
5. Didnt you hear that theyre leaving tomorrow?
6. Whenever I think of the stories I read as a child, I remember Cinderellas glass slipper and Snow Whites wicked stepmother.
7. We claimed the picnic table was ours, but the Smiths children looked so disappointed that we found another spot.
8. Its important that the kitten learns to find its way home.
9. She did not hear her childrens cries.
10. My address has three 7s, and Tims phone number has four 2s.
11. Didnt he say when he would arrive at Arnies house?
12. Its such a beautiful day that Ive decided to take a sun bath.
13. She said the watch Jack found was hers, but she couldnt identify the manufacturers name on it.
14. Little girls clothing is on the first floor, and the mens department is on the second.
15. The dogs bark was far worse than its bite.
16. The moons rays shone feebly on the path, and I heard the insects chirpings and whistlings.
17. Theyre not afraid to go ahead with the plans, though the choice is not theirs.
18. The man whose face was tan said that he had spent his two weeks vacation in the mountains.
19. I found myself constantly putting two cs in the word process.
20. Johns 69 Ford is his proudest possession.

Click here for exercise answers.

Homonym exercise

Some of the following sentences contain homonym errors. Identify and correct the errors. Note: not all sentences contain errors and some may contain multiple errors.

1. Ryan can’t accept that I’m not going too the dance with him.
2. You can put the flowers over there.
3. I’ve been trying really hard to keep the piece, but its been hard.
4. I’m not sure who’s sweater this is. Do you know?
5. My dad always says that its the principal that counts.
6. That poodle might be just a bit smarter then I am.
7. We can return all of the stuff accept for the things that are already opened.
8. I worry about my boyfriend’s past, but he tells me it shouldn’t effect our relationship.
9. Weather you want to admit it or not, it’s hard to predict the future.
10. Can you believe she ate that hole pizza?

Click here for exercise answers.

EI/IE spelling exercise

Complete the sentences with the correctly spelled words.

1. There are (eight, ieght) candles on the cake.
2. I have not (recieved, received) a letter since Saturday.
3. Have you ever been on a (sleigh, sliegh) ride?
4. Her (neice, niece) is going to come to (grief, greif).
5. She (shrieked, shreiked) in surprise when he dropped the ice cube down her back.
6. Drop that silver, you (theif, thief)!
7. He's the most (conceited, concieted) man I know.
8. I don't (beleive, believe) he is so (conceited, concieted).
9. As he was dying, the (cheif, chief) asked for a (preist, priest).
10. Leave the mouse a (peice, piece) of cheese.
11. Brevity is the soul of wit; therefore, be (breif, brief).
12. The (freight, frieght) train woke the (nieghbors, neighbors).

Click here for exercise answers.

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