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Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
Doubling the final consonant before adding –ed or –ing
Tuesday December 1st 2015
Question
When do you double the consonant at the end of a verb, before adding –ed or –ing?  — Pasam G, Tanzania
Answer

SPELLING RULES FOR VERBS WITH -ING AND -ED ENDINGS

When a verb ends in a consonant, sometimes the consonant is doubled before adding the –ed or ing ending, like this:

stop --> stopped, stopping         

  • Lucy stopped the car.
  • Why was Lucy stopping the car?

And sometimes the final consonant is not doubled, like this:

shift --> shifted, shifting             

  • Sandy shifted the gears.
  • Sandy was shifting the gears too much. 

To know when to double the final consonant, follow the rules below. 

RULES

  1. In a word with 1 syllable, double the final consonant ONLY if the word ends in 1 vowel + 1 consonant. 
  2. In a word with 2 or more syllables, double the final consonant ONLY if the word ends in 1 vowel + 1 consonant AND the final syllable is stressed. 
  3. At the end of a word, don’t count w, x, or y as a consonant.

APPLYING THE RULES

These verbs get a doubled final consonant:

  • tip / He tipped the waiter. /He isn't tipping the waiter. 
  • cram / The students crammed for the test. /The students were cramming for the test. 
  • regret / Carl regretted the things he had said. /Carl was regretting the things he had said.

These verbs do not get a doubled final consonant:

  • vote --> voted, voting (vote ends in a vowel)
  • instruct --> instructed, instructing (instruct ends in 2 consonants)
  • listen --> listened, listening (listen has 2 syllables and the final syllable is not stressed)

 

 

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