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Sometimes [s] is Spelled <c>, Sometimes <sc>

1. The sound [s] is spelled <\mathrm{s}> or <ss> about eight times out of ten. The rest of the time it is usually spelled <c>.

The letter <c> spells the sound [s] only when it is followed by the letters <e>, \underline{<\mathrm{i}>}, or <y> . When the letter <c> spells the sound [s], it is called soft <c>.

2. Whenever <c> spells [s], there will be an <e>, <\mathrm{i}>, or <y> following it. But the problem is that often [s] is spelled with an <\mathrm{s}> with an <e>, <\mathrm{i}>, or <y> after it, too. Read the following pairs of words aloud and look at how [s] is spelled in each of them:

& \text{sell} && \text{cell} \\& \text{sent} && \text{cent} \\& \text{serial} && \text{cereal} \\& \text{site} && \text{cite} \\& \text{symbol} && \text{cymbal}

Words like the ones in each of these pairs are called homophones. Homo- means “same,” and phone means “sound.” Homophones are two or more words that have the same sound but different meanings and spellings. Can you think of a third homophone for sent and cent and a third for site and cite?

3. Underline the letters that spell [s] is each of the following words:

 & \text{per\underline{c}eive} && \text{\underline{c}ertainty} && \text{emergen\underline{c}y} && \text{redu\underline{c}e} \\& \text{i\underline{c}ily} && \text{prejudi\underline{c}e} && \text{de\underline{c}eption} && \text{i\underline{c}y} \\& \text{introdu\underline{c}ing} && \text{dependen\underline{c}e} && \text{conscien\underline{c}e} && \text{criti\underline{c}ism} \\& \text{re\underline{c}eipt} && \text{balan\underline{c}e} && \text{produ\underline{c}e} && \text{\underline{c}eiling} \\& \text{\underline{c}itizen} && \text{de\underline{c}ision} && \text{se\underline{c}ession} && \text{ac\underline{c}elerate} \\& \text{advan\underline{c}ing} && \text{jui\underline{c}y} && \text{assuran\underline{c}e} && \text{pie\underline{c}e}

4. Sort the words into these three groups:

Words with <c> followed by an ...
<e> <\mathrm{i}> <y>
perceive conscience icily juicy
receipt produce introducing emergency
certainty assurance citizen icy
dependence reduce advancing
balance ceiling decision
secession accerlerate piece
deception prejudice criticism

5. The <sc> spelling of [s] is very rare, but it does occur in a few common words. Underline all of the different spellings of [s] in the words below:

& \text{\underline{s}u\underline{sc}eptible} && \text{\underline{sc}issors} && \text{de\underline{sc}ent} && \text{\underline{sc}ien\underline{c}e} \\& \text{ab\underline{sc}e\underline{ss}} && \text{di\underline{sc}ipline} && \text{a\underline{sc}end} && \text{\underline{sc}enic} \\& \text{\underline{sc}ent} && \text{a\underline{sc}ertain} && \text{fa\underline{sc}inate} && \text{\underline{sc}ythe} \\& \text{\underline{sc}ientific} && \text{conde\underline{sc}ension} && \text{di\underline{sc}ern} && \text{fluore\underline{sc}ent}

6. Now sort the sixteen words into these three groups:

Words in which <sc> is followed by an ...
<e> <\mathrm{i}> <y>
susceptible descent scientific scythe
abscess ascend scissors
scent discern discipline
ascertain scenic fascinate
condescension fluorescent science

7. Four ways of spelling [s] are \underline{<s>} , <ss>, <c>, and <sc>.

Teaching Notes.

Item 3. Notice that the <c> at the end of critic is hard, [k], but when the suffix -ism is added, it is soft, [s].

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Feb 23, 2012

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