How Do You Spell Children — a Quick Spelling Guide

Spellings and grammar rules in English can sometimes seem random.…

Spellings and grammar rules in English can sometimes seem random. This is because many of the English words have been derived from other languages.

The change in spellings from Old English to Modern English occurred over time. Therefore, it can be confusing why a word is spelled in a particular way or how the grammar rule works.

One such case arises with the word “child.” How do you spell children? And why can’t you write “childs” instead of children? This article discusses the reasons behind the confusion in the spelling of children.

How Do You Spell Children?

“Children” has two vowels and six consonant letters. The phonetic transcription of children is /chIldrUHn/, and it sounds like chil·druhn in both American and British English. The way to correctly spell the word is to split it into its syllables.

“Children” is a 2-syllable word: chil-dren with the stress on the first syllable. To spell the word correctly and easily, you can simplify it even more.

Break it down into chil + d + ren, which then makes each portion of the word easier to spell out without any mistakes.

Another way to spell children correctly is to break it down into the base word plus suffix, which looks like:

Child (root word) + ren (plural suffix) = Children

The plural suffix -ren is derived from Old English to form the plural form of some irregular nouns.

A red apple placed on a pile of books.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Why Is Children the Plural, Not Child’s?

Some of the nouns in Old English, which followed a specific pattern, didn’t form their plurals with the typical “s” ending. These irregular nouns were pluralized by adding “-n” at the end, for example, eyen (eyes), shoen (shoes), and housen (houses).

The “-ren” is a typical plural ending for many irregular words derived from the early phases of the English language. It was never a single suffix but a plural suffix that combined traditionally used plural suffixes “-re/-er” plus “-en.”

In Middle English, the -en ending was so common that it was even added to existing irregular plurals. As a result, the word childer (dialectal plural for “child”) became children in regular English.

Definition of Children With Example Sentences

“Children” is a noun, and it is the plural form of “child.” It refers to a young person who has not reached puberty yet or is under the legal age of maturity. Sometimes, children could also mean a son or daughter of any age. Below are its formal definitions with examples.

  • The children went to play in the park.
  • They are planning to adopt two children.
  • It’s a difficult emotion for the parents when children leave home to study.

Can We Write Childrens?

No, we cannot write childrens. The word “children” is already in its plural form. Regular words add “s” at the end to form plurals. And to form the possessive, you only need to add an apostrophe at the end without doubling the “s.”

For example, cats become cats’, not cats’s. Since “children” is already a plural noun, we cannot write childrens. Also, the possessive form of children is childrens’, not childrens’s.

To Wrap Up

There’s nothing called hard and fast rules for English spellings. While there are numerous grammar rules to follow, there are dozens of exceptions as well.

You may ask if the plural of a boy is boys, then why a child cannot be pluralized to childs? The answer lies in the etymology of the word and how it was derived from various languages.

So, how do you spell children? This article discusses some tricks to spell the word right with some grammatical details. 

Frequently asked questions

How do I teach my 6 year old spelling words?

  • Spelling train
  • Flash cards. Place your child’s words on the front of the index card and its definition on the back of the card.
  • Stair steps. Write the words as if they were stairs, adding one letter at a time.
  • Trace, Copy, Recall
  • Memorization

Why is my child struggling with spelling?

Language learning weaknesses explain spelling problems, as well as reading problems. Therefore, spelling reversals of easily confused letters like b and d, or sequences of letters, such as word for go, are signs of underlying language learning weaknesses, rather than visual ones.

How well should a 7 year old spell?

7-8-year-olds are spelling words they read and use frequently. Children are spelled many high frequency words (words we see used regularly) correctly by this age. Additionally, they correctly spell a list of personal words including their suburbs, family members, friends, and pet names.

What causes poor spelling?

Many spelling problems arise from one or more areas of processing that aren’t functioning as efficiently as they should and should. Two primary systems make your ability to spell words more difficult. The visual and auditory systems are among them.

How do you help a poor speller?

  • Initiate mastery of the sight words.
  • You want your student to understand the different sounds letter combinations make.
  • Make sure your child recognizes word families.
  • Make your child remember common spelling rules.
  • Practice, practice, practice

How can I help my 5 year old with spelling?

Practise phonics. At the start of primary school, your child will learn to spell using your phonetic system. You can use phonics in your child’s life by encouraging them to spell a word by breaking it into individual sounds and then matching those sounds to the letters in the alphabet.

What part of the brain controls spelling?

Reading and spelling share specific left hemisphere substrates in the mid-fusiform gyrus and in the inferior frontal gYrus/junction. More recently, the results indicate that the left mid-fusiform substrates are specifically involved in lexical orthographic processing.

How can I help my child with spelling?

  • Aim for auditory and vocal skills. If you’re a good speller, you are usually a great reader and a best speaker, and vice versa.
  • Experience stories. Let your child write about what he likes.
  • Write letters
  • Trace words
  • Finger paints are messy, but they are always helpful.

What are the 4 spelling strategies?

Spellers employ a variety of strategies to ensure their spelling is correct. Phonetic, rule-based, visual, and morphemic strategies are the most common strategies.

How do you make easy spelling?

  • Highlight the hard part. It is common for your child to see one part of a word that gets your attention every time.
  • Make sure you stick with the spelling.
  • Break it down
  • Remind yourself of it, copy it, and recreate it.
  • Imagine yourself in a picture.
  • Keep it as you like it.
  • Become an acrostic
  • Your palm

How well should a 9 year old spell?

Writing lists will be developed by a 9-to-10-year-old. These children will know which topics address difficult-to-spell words as well as being able to identify ‘tricky’ words or words that do not follow English spelling rules.

What is the best way to teach spelling?

  • Let them have fun.
  • Write words by hand.
  • Encourage reading
  • Let’s talk it out loud.
  • Keep your words on display.
  • Practice through games
  • Teach typing
  • Explain mnemonics

What is the fastest way to memorize spelling words?

  • Make sure to spell mnemonics that use words. “Rhythm = Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move,” for example.
  • Develop brief phrases for complicated words. “Necessary = 1 collar and 2 socks (to remember one ‘c’ and two’s’s).”.
  • Make up rhymes
  • Compose nonsense stories

How do you teach a 3rd grader to spell?

  • Distribute enough dictionaries for each student or small groups of students.
  • List of commonly misspelled words in English.
  • Students should read the correct spelling next to every misspelled word as they look up the word.

What are the 5 stages of spelling development?

  • Phonetic stage
  • Precommunicative stage
  • Semiphonetic stage
  • Correct stage
  • Transitional stage
How Do You Spell Children — a Quick Spelling Guide

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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