Spelling rules

ÉMC Rules and regulations

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  1. An official will read rules aloud before the beginning of each contest and, when the number of competitors has been reduced to two, he or she will read rules 16 to 17 unless those present agree unanimously to waive the reading of the rules.
  2. The Pronouncer, judge(s) and other officials will be in complete charge of the contest. Any questions or protests about the spelling(s) of a word or the running of the contests must be referred to the officials immediately (before the beginning of the next round). Their decisions will be final in all matters.


3.For each contest there will be an arbiter whose duty is to hear any protests as they arise and decide on them before the contest continues. The arbiter’s decision shall be final. If possible each contest should be videotaped or recorded so that any point of contention may be reviewed.

4.This competition is open to all contestants ages 6-8 (Primary), 9-11(Junior) and 12-14 (Intermediate).

5.In competition, all words will be chosen from official lists compiled from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (Larousse for Épelle-Moi Canada) and provided by Spelling Bee officials. The official list is the final spelling authority for the competition.

6.Preliminary Rounds will be held in each Region, using official wordlists, and the listed rules and regulations.

7.The competition will be oral; contestants must spell the words orally and the use of pens and/or pencils and paper will not be allowed.

8.Contestants may pronounce their words before spelling them, after spelling them, or not at all.

9.For all words with capitals, the speller must indicate the capital. For example Ottawa the speller must say “Capital O t-t-a-w-a”.

10. The participants must spell the word taking into consideration the French accent: accent aigu :

é; accent grave : à, è, ù; accent circonflexe : ê, â, û, î, ô; tréma: ï, ë, ü; trait d’union –grand-père; Ç: C cédille; o e collés ou e dans l’o ou o e liés ou o e ligaturés. oe ex. bœuf.

11. Once a contestant has begun to spell a word, he or she may not ask for a word to be pronounced again, defined or used in a sentence. Also, having started to spell a word, a contestant will not be given any opportunity to change letters already pronounced. A speller may retrace provided that letters and their sequence are not changed in retracing. Spellers are required to indicate capitals. Apostrophes and other punctuation are not required. Spellers participating in Épelle-Moi Canada are required to indicate accents .

12. If a word taken from the word list is unclear to a contestant, he or she may ask for the word to be re-pronounced, but will not be given a definition or a sentence, unless the word is a homophone in which case the Pronouncer must give the definition and an example sentence without being asked. The contestant must give the spelling of the word as defined, not a homophone of the word.

13. If a word has more than one acceptable spelling, any spelling listed in the word list, tie-breaker list or the Larousse Dictionary, for that word will be accepted.

Note: Rule 13 is for the tie-breaker rounds only (Please note that during the tie-breaker rounds, a new list of words is introduced. These words are not listed in the Official Study List).

14. If a tiebreaker word is unclear to a contestant, it is the responsibility of the contestant to request that the word be re-pronounced, defined and/or used in a sentence. The Pronouncer will grant the request(s) until the officials agree that the word has been made reasonably clear to the contestant. If a word is a homophone, the Pronouncer must give the definition and an example sentence without being asked.

15. Officials may disqualify any contestant who ignores a request to start spelling his or her word within a reasonable length of time. Also, A SPELLER WHOSE SPELLING OF A WORD IS NOT AUDIBLE TO THE OFFICIALS MAY HAVE HIS OR HER SPELLING RULED INCORRECT.

16. Officials may eject out of the competition parent who guide children while they are spelling word.

Consequently, the child will be disqualified from the competition

17. When a speller fails to spell a word correctly, the next contestant will be given the same word to spell. If every contestant in a round misspells the same word, all contestants will remain in the competition.

18. The elimination procedure changes when the number of contestants is reduced to two. At this point, when one contestant misspells a word, the other contestant will be given the opportunity to spell the same word.

19. If the second contestant spells the word correctly, plus the next word on the pronouncer’s list, then he or she will be declared champion. If the contestant misspells the word on the pronouncer’s list, then both spellers continue in the contest.

If both contestants misspell the same word, then both continue in the contest.