How to Spell Professional — a Quick Guide to Spelling Correctly

Words with double consonants in the English language almost invite you to spelling mistakes. However, a list of rules and exceptions can help direct you to the correct spelling of a word. How do you spell professional?

Origin of the Word Professional

Professional was derived from Middle English profes, an adjective which refers to “having professed one’s vows.” It was derived from Late Latin professus, which is the past participle of profitri, meaning “to profess.” Professionals were individuals who ‘claimed’ their skill to others and ‘vowed’ to practice their trade to the highest standard possible.

How Do You Spell Professional?

Spelling errors can be common when you write “professional”, as a lot is going on with this word. It contains a prefix, a suffix, and a mid-section with double consonants. We understand the reason for the misspelling. However, breaking it down and applying the rule can help spell the word correctly.

Professional has 4 syllables: “Pro-fes-sion-al” with a stress on the second syllable. However, the word Professional was derived from the Middle English word “profes” which has two syllables, Pro-fes with the stress on the second syllable.

The doubling rule states that the word must have:

  • More than 1 syllable
  • 1 consonant in the end that follows a vowel
  • The final vowel bears the primary stress.
  • Then, you double up the last consonant before adding a suffix. 

Apply the rule to “profes” to turn it into the root word “profession.”

  • Two syllables: Pro-fes.
  • Ends in the consonant “s,” which follows the vowel “e.
  • The stress is on the final vowel “e” of the stressed syllable “-fes.
  • Therefore, you double the last consonant “s” to make it “profess” before adding the suffix “-ion.”

So, it stands to be: Profess + ion + al. That is the correct spelling.

A professional digital artist in green garment is working on her laptop.
Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Dictionary Definition of Professional With Examples

A profession is a practice of skills and services that people need and will pay for. And a professional is the person doing that service.

Professional can function as a noun and adjective and has multiple dictionary definitions. The following examples will help clarify the meaning and its use in sentences.

Professional As a Noun

1. A person engaged in a profession or is qualified to do so.

He was an amateur basketball player who recently became a professional.

2. A person who engages in a specific activity, especially a sport, as a primary source of income rather than as a recreational activity.

You should paint your house by a professional.

Professional As an Adjective

1. Pertaining to or belonging to a profession.

The professional coders were ready for the coding competition.

2. Involved in a specified activity as one’s main occupation for income rather than as a pastime.

You should consult a professional lawyer.

To Wrap Up

According to the English dictionary, professional can serve as a noun and adjective with slight differences in the meaning. Any time you run into confusion with this word, try breaking it down into syllables to help you spell the word correctly.

If that doesn’t work, there are grammar rules to follow. So, how do you spell professional? Don’t forget the double “s” in the word; otherwise, the readers will not consider your writing to be professional.

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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