Learn English - Basic rules to improve your spelling

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To be or not to be? [Laughs] Spelling bee. In North America, we have this competition

called "spelling bee". It's where children take words -- adults give children words,

long words, and the children have to spell them correctly. Now, if you're from Saudi

Arabia or Japan or Korea or other countries, right now, you're going, "Oh, my God, no!"

Because you have to do this in English, and your alphabet is not ours. Latin speakers

tend to go, "Oh, we'll do very well", and you're bad as well. And you want a secret?

I'm bad at spelling. So just share it between you and the other hundred thousand people

watching this, okay? So I'm bad at spelling. You're bad at spelling. But I have to teach

the rules at school, and I do. I actually do. And if you ask me something, I'll tell

you the rule. But you might catch me spelling it incorrectly. So this lesson is for you

and for me. And I call it Spelling 101.

English is not a phonetic language. It makes it very difficult to learn how to spell. So

I'm going to give you English or Spelling 101, which are two little rules that will

help you spell when dealing with English vowels. "The long and the short of it", I like the

call this lesson. It's a joke in there. The long and the short. Whatever. Okay. Let's

go to the board.

Are you hoping -- and "hope" is when you pray. You know? You say, "Please let me win the

lottery. Really. I want to win the lottery. Please let me win the lottery. Please let

that beautiful girl think I'm nice. Please let me pass the test. I hope. I hope. I hope.

I wish. I pray." Or are you "hopping"? Are you hopping, like boink, boink, boink? Like

a little bunny rabbit. Are you hopping? You notice one has a P, and one has two Ps. Some

of you would have written this because you'd say, "Well it's more than 'hope'. It's long,

right?" Because "hop" looks like this, h-o-p. "Hope" looks like this. And anybody from a

natural language would probably say, "Well, E -- this must be the correct one." I would

think so. It's the longer word. But not in English, no. We don't work like that. The

shorter word gets it, and the longer word gets this. When I was I kid, I was always

told: Short words, you double it. That's what it was. Okay. It made sense. But there's something

a little more to it, and today, I'm going to make it easy for you.

Now, there's a lesson that has been done called "The Magic E". Go check that out. That will

help you -- you know, it's a longer lesson that gives you more examples. But just to

give you an idea of long versus short, okay? The magic E states this: If you have -- let's

look over here. "Wipe", for instance. This is an I, a long vowel sound. There's a consonant

and then, an E. If the E is on the end of a word, you have a consonant and then, a long

vowel sound. Okay? The E actually causes it to be "wipe", not "wip". Right? So here's

how we change it. Because we know this E helps to modify this, we have to drop the E. Okay?

Because it's actually silent. You think "wipe", so it looks like this. That's what it looks

like. "Wipe", not "why-ppe". Sorry, people from Brazil. No "why-ppe". No "why-ppe" here.

Okay? That's part of the problem. Nobody tells you this stuff. But I do. Okay. So it's not

"why-ppe" or "ray-tte" or "ho-ppe", just "hope", "rate", and "wipe".

Now, the magic E helps us because we see this, and we know it's a long vowel sound. Yay!

But when we're adding is it like, "wipes" or "wiping", "rate" or "rated", hoped or hoping,

we have to drop that E. We're told, "Drop the E." It's silent. It's not doing anything,

anyway. It's like your unemployed brother in your basement. He's not doing anything.

Get rid of him. So "wipe" becomes "wiped" or "wiping". Drop the extra E. Not "wipeed".

All right? "Rate" becomes "rated". Oops. Sorry. It becomes "rated". Just add the ED. Or "hoping",

in the case up there, it becomes "hoping". We get rid of the extra E. We know it's the

long vowel because there's only one consonant. Right? One consonant. One consonant. So we

know this must be "wiped", "rated", "hoping". It could even be "hoped". "I hoped you would

come." Okay? Don't double the consonant. Don't add two E's. It's just single, single. Easy?

Easy. The magic E. Now, we know how it creates a sound. And now, we know how to change it.

That's the long of it. The long vowel. You like that?

Let's go to the short vowel. Ready? Hold on. It's a long walk. The board's long. Okay.

Now, we're here. Okay, so we're on the other end of the board. Short vowel syndrome. Well,

in North America we have Short Man Syndrome. Why are you looking at me? I'm incredibly

tall. Can't you see? Where's the worm? Mr. E is this tall. He's very sad about it. I

am of course, taller than E. That's all we need to know. Moving on. Okay. Short Man syndrome.

In North America, we say "Short Man Syndrome" -- like Napoleon, if you're small. They say

short men like to feel big, so they buy big cars. Okay? They wear big shoes. Okay? Or

they wear big clothes to make them seem bigger. Okay? So a short man will make himself try

to look bigger to be more impressive. Funny enough, this is what happens with our short

vowels. When you have a word that -- like "hop" -- has a shorter vowel sound, like the

short man, he doesn't like that "hope" is longer. So he tries to be bigger. So when

"hope" adds ING, he goes, "No. I'm not 'hope'. I'm 'hoping'." And he makes more consonants.

So when we have a short vowel sound, we double the consonants. So if it ends in a P and this

is a short vowel, you've got to double that consonant. Okay?

Let's get some more examples because I know it sounds confusing. But look: "ship". It's

not "shipe". If you're Scottish, it's "shite". No. It's not "shipe", it's "ship". It's with

a short I. So unlike here where it's long and there's no E -- there's no magic E -- we

have to add another P. Short vowel syndrome. And you can say, "It was shipped last week."

And now, look how big that word is. See? Small. Big. Short to tall. That's good. Okay?

What up, pin? A little pin. Very little pin. Not much of a prick to it, is there? Anyway.

Listen up. "Pinned". "It was pinned to a shirt." "Pinned." See? Once again, the little short

man makes himself big. Short vowel syndrome. And how about this? Well, this is a -- I would

say a fitting end to this conversation. You have to double the T. See? "Fit." "Fit", not

"fite". "Fite" is different. "Fit". It's "fitting". "Pinned" and "shipped". Compare these ones

to these ones. These words are longer [whispers] except this one. Don't look there. But these

are longer. One. This is shorter. Short vowel syndrome. You know how it goes, Baby.

So simple lesson. The long and the short of it. If it's a long vowel with one consonant

and followed by an E -- the magic E -- drop the E, and add on your ending. ING, ED, just

add it right on. If it's a short vowel sound with one consonant, double the consonant;

then, add on your ending. This doubling of the consonant tells us it's a short sound

so we know how to speak. So not only did I teach you spelling, you got pronunciation.

Now -- sorry. We have more work to do. I almost forgot. But I haven't.

Here are some examples, my little short friend. Let's go to the board. "I ask -- something

-- my friend to taste my pie, and he rat -- it the best in the world." If I had rat pie,

I would not be happy. So what do you think he said? I think he "asked" my friend to taste

my pie, and he ra -- rate. That's a long sound. So we're going to go, "He rated it. Rated

it." Okay? "The best in the world."

What about the second one? "Was the whip -- cream" -- I've never seen a whip whip cream. But

this is different. When you take milk or cream and you do this, it becomes sort of like ice

cream. It's called "whipped". There's no whip involved, really. That would be weird.

[Makes whipping sounds.] Anyway. So, "Was the whipped cream wip -- up off the floor?" So "whip",

"whip". That's short, right? Short. What did we say about the short? Look he's not even

happy. He's sad. Yeah. That's right. We're going to make it big. The "whipped" cream.

Now, "wipe", I -- that's long. So "wiped" up off the floor. Yeah? I think so, too. I

think it was "wiped up off the floor."

So that's the long and short of our lesson. But there is one more. Here's the problem.

I wasn't going to talk about it because it said -- the message on the board was, "Go

to EngVid for the answer." That means you've got to go to the quiz because on the quiz,

that question will be there. And then, I'll tell you. But if you don't go, you won't know.

So where do you have to go? You have to go to www.engvid.com, "eng" as in "English",

"vid" as in "video", where you can see myself, the other teachers, go over this lesson, go

check out the magic E, and get the answer to this particular question. And I know you're

dying to find out what happened to the beautiful Persian cat. Anyway. E and me gots to go.

Have a good day. And see you soon. Okay?

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