Writing Word Focus

Writing Word Focus


Writing Word Focus

Workbook 3SpellingSection 4


There are some confusing words which sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. These words are called homophones. Lots of people find it really hard to know which word to use when.

Homophones are words like:

If you are trying to learn which word to use, it’s best not to look at the confusing words together. Learn one before dealing with the other.

The following pages deal with only certain homophones.

You may like to think of, and investigate, others.


There is a word to do with place.

There is a word that’s used a lot.

There has the same letter pattern as other place words like where and here.

Exercise 1

Try to put the right ‘place word’ in the gaps below:

It could be there, where or here.

“Did you put the presents …..……… I told you to?” she asked.
“Yes they are over …………… on the table, but I didn’t know
…………… you wanted me to put the cards,” he said.
“Well, if you bring them over …………… I’ll have a look and see
if ……………is room in my bag for them.”

Exercise 2

See if you can write five of your own sentences using the word there somewhere in each one of your sentence.


Their means “belonging to them”.

Their is the plural form of his, her or its.

Exercise 3

Try to put these sentences into the plural.
Example: The boy shouted at the top of his voice.
Becomes: The boys shouted at the top of their voices.
The child played with her toy.
The children ……………………………………………………………
The dog barked at his owner.
The dogs ……………………………………………………………….
She was angry because her house had been broken into.
They were ………………………………………………………………
Has the cat had its tea yet?
Have the cats …………………………………………………………..

Exercise 4

Now write five of your own sentences using the word their.







They’re always means they are.

There’s is short for there is.

There are other shortened words with the same pattern like you’re and we’re.

You’re is short for you are and we’re for we are.

Exercise 5We’re, They’re, You’re

Write out the following passage and put the highlighted words into their shortened form.

Take care with your handwriting.

We are going to see a local group play tonight. They are doing a charity show so it’s free if you are there before eight o’clock. You are welcome to come with us if you can. We are meeting Sam and Kate there and they are really looking forward to it.

Exercise 6They’re

Write five of your own sentences using the word they’re somewhere in each of your sentences.



To is used when we want to describe an action.


I went to the shops.

I went to India.

I wanted to find him.

We also use it to tell people what we will do.


I am going to watch a video.

When I get home I am going to have a relaxing bath.

Exercise 7

Write five of your own sentences using the word to somewhere in each one of your sentences.



Too is used when there is too much of something.

Too is also used to mean as well.


I was far too hot.

There was a storm and it was raining too.

Exercise 8

Write five of your own sentences using the word too somewhere in each of your sentences.



Two is only used when we need to write the number 2.


There are two brothers and two sisters in my family.

We had two hours to travel to the wedding.

Exercise 9

Write five of your own sentences using the word two somewhere in each of your sentences.


Make sure your writing is legible.

Exercise 10To, Two or Too

Now, decide which word to, two, or too is the correct one to fill in the gaps below.

I wanted ……….take my car but my brother wanted ………take his. In the end we decided ………take ……… cars so that we could travel ……… London. The journey was ……… long and we all felt ……… tired by the time we got there. All we wanted ……… do was go ……… sleep.

Remembering how important it is to produce work in legible handwriting with no alterations, write out the passage with the correct spellings.

InformationIt’s, Its

It’s is used when we want to shorten it is. The i of the word is, is replaced with an apostrophe. (You may want to look at the workbook called ‘Punctuation’ to see what an apostrophe is and how it is used.)


It’s a lovely day.

What happens if it’s raining?

Its sounds exactly the same but has no apostrophe. It is used to describe something belonging to someone or something.


The dog was sleepy. Its face looked old and tired.

My house is cold because its central heating system does not work.

Exercise 11

Remembering how important it is to produce work in legible handwriting with no alterations, write five of your own sentences using the words it’s or its somewhere in each of your sentences.



Here is used when we want to write about places or where things are.


Here are the books you gave me.

The library is over here, to your right.

The police are here.

Exercise 12

Write five of your own sentences using the word here somewhere in each of your sentences.



Hear is used to describe listening. You can remember how to spell this by putting h in front of ear.


I can hear you.

If you can’t hear the tutor ask her to repeat things.

I could hear the rain hitting the window.

Exercise 13

Write five of your own sentences using the word hear somewhere in each of your sentences.


Informationi Before e

This is a very useful rule.

Put i before e, except after c, when the sound rhymes with bee.


  • piece
  • niece
  • thief


  • seize
  • counterfeit
  • weir
  • weird
  • neither

Exercise 14

Read the following words.

brief / height / rein / shield
priest / deceive / veil / receipt
thief / believe / ceiling / pier
leisure / piece / weight / conceit

Put a tick by each word in which the ie or the ei rhymes with bee.

Look through the words you have ticked, underline any of them containing ei.

Do you notice anything they have in common?

InformationHard and Soft c and g

The letters c and g are usually hard when they come before the vowels a, o, and u.


  • musical
  • apricot
  • cushion
  • regards
  • gospel
  • figure

They are usually soft when they come before i, e and y:

  • rejoicing
  • receive
  • encyclopedia
  • regiment
  • gymnasium

Except for some words beginning with gi e.g. give, girl, gift.

When adding a suffix to a word ending in ge or ce we need to retain the e before a suffix beginning with a, o or u to keep the g or c soft.



  • drop the e before a suffix beginning with i e.g. manag-ing
  • keep the e before a suffix beginning with a e.g. manage-able

Exercise 15

What happens to these words?

courag ous / spac ous
precis ion / chang able
notic able / servic able
gorg ous / outrag ous
pric ing / grac ous
peac able / pag ant
manag able / pronounc able
veng ance

InformationDoubling the Last Letter

a)One syllable words ending with a vowel and a single consonant, double the consonant when adding - ed, - ing, - er.


  • run-running
  • stop-stopped / stopping
  • wet-wetting


  • grunt-grunting (it ends in 2 consonants)

b)One syllable words ending in a silent e do not double the consonant.


  • plane-planingbutplan-planning
  • fine-finedbutfin-finned

c)Words of more than one syllable and with stress on the end of the word, double the consonant.

  • refer-referred / referring / referral

d)If the stress is not on the final syllable, the consonant is usually not doubled.


  • profit-profiting
  • gossip-gossiped
  • benefit-benefited


  • worship-worshipping
  • handicap-handicapped

Exercise 16Adding Suffixes to Verbs

Write out the following with the appropriate form of verbs given in brackets.

(Run) to catch the train, she nearly (trip) over a small boy who was (hop) from one side of the platform to the other. In her haste she had (pass) the ticket barrier without (notice) the ticket collector, who, not (believe) that she (possess) a ticket, (call) her back to him, (stop) her from (get) on the train. While searching through her handbag for the ticket, she suddenly remembered her two suitcases and (hurry) back to the ticket office, where she thought she had left them. Bitterly she remembered the long walk up the hill from the bus stop, (carry) two heavy cases, several carrier bags – she had been (shop) on the way – and an umbrella: now she (regret) not having (travel) in a taxi! Her luggage had gone: worse still she had (omit) to check if it had been (label) correctly. She was not (surprise) to see the train (leave) the platform on her return from the lost property office.

Use a word processor to produce a copy of this text complete with the correct spelling of the verbs in brackets.

(Dispute) the management’s decision, the union wanted to explore other possibilities. (Compare) the foreman’s conduct with that of other employees, the management thought their complaints were (exaggerate), and (decide) to replace him with a trainee, (believe) that this would settle the dispute. (Fascinate) by the advertisement, and (prefer) a job demanding some responsibility, she (apply) for the vacancy and was successful. On her first day she was (accompany) by the manager, who (introduce) her to her new colleagues. Although at first a little (embarrass), and often (confuse) their names, she (persevere) and was soon (satisfy) that in (choose) to leave her previous job she had made the wisest decision of her career.

InformationAdding Suffixes Beginning With a Vowel

A suffix is something which is added to the end of a word.

Common suffixes are:

  • -ed;
  • -ing;
  • -ful.

This exercise is about adding vowel – suffixes (-ed, -ing, etc.) and concerns only words of one syllable that do not end in w, x, or y.

The rule is: when you are adding a vowel suffix, double the last letter if it follows immediately after a single vowel.


  • stop, stopped;
  • wet, wetting;


  • leap, leaped;
  • wet, wetness.

Exercise 17

Make two (or three) words from each of the following words, using the suffixes shown in the brackets. Do not use your dictionary until you have finished; then check your answers and correct any mistakes.

step (-ed, -ing) / read (-able, -er) / drop (-ed, -ing) / rob (-ed, -er)
dread (-ed, -ing, -ful) / hot (-er, -est) / hop (-ed, -ing) / flat (-en, -er)
sad (-er, -est, -ness) / greet (-ed, -ing) / brim (-ing) / hat (-ed, -less)
sharp (-en, -est, -ly) / thin (-er, -est) / break (-able, -ing) / sin (-er, -ing, -ful)
big (-er, -est) / great (-er, -est, -ly) / red (-est, -ish, -ness) / fat (-er, -est)

InformationAdding Suffixes

The rules for adding suffixes to words ending in y are as follows:

If the letter before the y is a consonant, change the y to i when adding suffix – except when the suffix is –ing.


  • beauty-beautiful
  • happy-happiness
  • tidy-tidier, tidiest, tidily, but - tidying

If the letter before the y is a vowel, keep the y when adding a suffix.

  • play -player, played, playing

Exercise 18

Obeying the above rules, supply the missing words in the following sentences, using the words in brackets as clues.

a)Have you …………………… yourselves? (enjoy)

b)We were …………………… by fog. (delay)

c)The story has been shortened and …………………… ( simplify)

d)I am …………………… to solve this puzzle. (try)

e)And there I …………………… a fair pretty maid. (espy)

f)Three shops were …………………… by fire. (destroy)

g)He was disqualified for not …………………… the rules. (obey)

h)She is now …………………… biology. (study)

i)The factory gives …………………… to many people. (employ)

j)They turned and …………………… to the Queen. (curtsy)

k)The notices were prominently …………………… (display)

l)Is my dog …………………… you? (annoy)

m)The land has not yet been …………………… (survey)

n)They stood firm, …………………… all attempts to move them. (defy)

o)He bolted the door and …………………… us admission. (deny)

InformationSuffixes –able and –ible

From the word prevent we get preventable, spelt with a, but convert gives us convertible, with an i. There is not easy rule for deciding whether to use –able or –ible when making adjectives of this kind; your best plan is to learn each word as you meet it, and to use a dictionary whenever you are not sure.

Exercise 19

With a coloured pen, write in the missing letters.

a) / What makes him so irrit ble?
b) / This is a sens ble suggestion.
c) / He would make an admir ble prefect.
d) / Is the disease cur ble?
e) / Smoking is not permiss ble in this hall.
f) / Do you think it advis ble for us to go without coats?
g) / The frost did a neglig ble amount of damage.
h) / Her stockings are almost invis ble.
i) / Strong boots are indispens ble for rock climbing.
j) / She is a very excit ble girl.
k) / I hold you respons ble for the safe keeping of this book.
l) / His insulting manner was contempt ble.
m) / They told us an almost incred ble story of hardship and danger.
n) / The village is not approach ble from the north.
o) / The village is easily access ble from the west.
p) / Is it poss ble for man to reach Mars?

Now check your spellings in a dictionary.

Exercise 20Investigating Doubling the ‘l’

Using a dictionary to help, see what happens to the final letter in all these words when –ed or –ing are added.

ROOT WORD / + -ed / + -ing

Exercise 21

Make two lists of the root words: one which doubles the ‘l’ and one which doesn’t.

Highlight the two letters before the l.

Double l / Single l

What do you notice?

Can you make up a rule to help you remember when you double the ‘l’ and when not to?

InvestigatingDoubling the ‘t’

Exercise 22

Now try a similar exercise with the following words and see what happens to the ‘t’.

jot, seat, coat, plot, knot, treat, bat, get, put, hoot.

Double t / Single t

Now write a rule to help?

Investigate if this happens with any other consonants.

Make a note of some examples of them here.


  1. Simple Plurals

The most common way of forming a plural noun from a singular noun is to add s:


  • hat, hats;
  • coat, coats.

2. Nouns ending in s, z, sh, ch or x

Add –es:


  • gases, brushes, churches, watches;
  • boxes, topazes (precious stones), businesses;
  • careful with quiz = quizzes.

3. Nouns ending in f or fe

Either change the f to v and add es or s – or simply add s.

You have to learn which is which. Here is a list of common words:













4. Nouns ending in y

If the letter immediately before the y is a consonant (there are 21 consonants in the alphabet) change the y into i and add –es.


  • penny-pennies;
  • industry-industries;
  • company-companies.

If the letter immediately before the y is a vowel a, e, i, o u) simply add s.


  • valley-valleys;
  • monkey-monkeys.

5. Nouns ending in o

If ‘o’ is preceded by a vowel, simply add ‘s’.


  • radio - radios;
  • cameo -cameos;
  • studio - studios;
  • zoo- zoos.

If the ‘o’ is preceded by a consonant, some nouns take ‘s’, some take ‘es’.

You need to learn the common examples.


  • piano-pianos;
  • solo-solos;
  • soprano-sopranos.


  • echo -echoes;
  • hero -heroes;
  • cargo -cargoes;
  • volcano -volcanoes;
  • mosquito-mosquitoes;
  • tomato -tomatoes.

6.Some words are the same in the plural as in the singular.


  • deer;
  • sheep;
  • salmon;
  • trout;
  • corn;
  • wheat.

7.Some words are always plural.


  • scissors;
  • measles;
  • trousers.

Exercise 23Plurals

Taking care to make your handwriting legible, write the plurals of these words.

1 / alley / 26 / half
2 / apology / 27 / handkerchief
3 / article / 28 / housewife
4 / badge / 29 / inquiry
5 / balcony / 30 / knife
6 / berry / 31 / lady
7 / box / 32 / leaf
8 / branch / 33 / licence
9 / bridge / 34 / lorry
10 / brush / 35 / notice
11 / bus / 36 / patch
12 / butterfly / 37 / pedal
13 / ceremony / 38 / piece
14 / chimney / 39 / quantity
15 / cigarette / 40 / query
16 / cliff / 41 / shelf
17 / colliery / 42 / storey
18 / company / 43 / story
19 / difficulty / 44 / thief
20 / dress / 45 / tornado
21 / factory / 46 / turkey
22 / ferry / 47 / valley
23 / fox / 48 / volcano
24 / grocery / 49 / wife
25 / guarantee / 50 / wolf

Exercise 24Plurals

Using a word processor to present your work, put every noun in the following sentences into the plural. Be careful, you may have to change other words in the sentences as well for it to still make sense.

  1. This valley would be suitable for making the film.
  1. The ship’s cargo has to be inspected at the custom’s shed.
  1. A new firm has been employed to repair the roof of this house.
  1. I have heard that John now has a stepchild.
  1. The team has a real problem at the moment as so many of the players have an injury.
  1. The removal man was not too pleased at having to move such a large piano.
  1. The army is on manoeuvres in the desert.
  1. A glass was broken during the party.
  1. Diane’s son has broken a tooth.
  1. The farmer has planted a field of wheat.
  1. The bristles on this new brush are not very good.
  1. My brother-in-law is coming to stay for three days.
  1. Chris suspects that he has a mouse in the cellar.
  1. The police caught a thief last night breaking into a house.
  1. I have lost a watch recently.
  1. The recipe said, “Take a handful of rice”.
  1. I have a busy schedule today. I have to visit a business in town.
  1. The secretary had to deal with a difficult query.
  1. There is a volcano in the Philippines which is always likely to explode.
  1. That lorry was pulled up with faulty brakes.