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Unit 29: Spelling the endings -ous and -us

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Unit 29: Word ending: -ous, -us

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Unit 29 - Spelling the word endings ous and us

Learn to spell English words ous and us Learn to spell English words ous and us
ous as in poisonous us as in cactus

Teaching point This unit examines the weak schwa sound in a final syllable: /Əs/.

Luckily, there is a clear rule which tells us whether to use ous or us (which can be applied most of the time):

If the word is an adjective (describes the qualities of a noun), use ous:
poisonous dangerous

If the word is a noun (people, places or things), use us:
cactus octopus

If you are unsure about nouns and adjectives, click here for help.

Some examples:

Learn to spell English words ous and us Learn to spell English words ous and us
ous as in venomous us as in octopus
Adjectives:
adventurous
anonymous
bigamous
boisterous
cancerous
disastrous
enormous
fabulous
famous
frivolous
generous
hazardous
intravenous
jealous
joyous
ludicrous
luminous
marvellous
(US marvelous)
miraculous
mischievous
momentous
monstrous
mountainous
nervous
numerous
ominous
prosperous
ravenous
ridiculous
tremendous
zealous
Nouns:
circus
crocus
focus
discus
exodus
fungus
surplus
bonus
sinus
rumpus
chorus
virus
census
cactus
lotus
status

abacus
consensus
exodus
genius
impetus
prospectus
stimulus
syllabus
terminus
tetanus
thesaurus
uterus
apparatus
asparagus
brontosaurus
hippopotamus
Learn the Words:
Learn the Words:
Rule breakers break spelling rules These words are all spelled with -us but do not always follow the rules (depending on their function within a sentence:
1) bogus (an adjective not a noun)
2) versus (a preposition not a noun)
3) minus (can be a noun but is mostly used as a preposition or an adjective)

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-ous and -us endings.

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