GV Hawaii Adrift

Imagery and Language: Learning English; Adrift in Hawaii

Rules for Irregular Spelling of Verb Inflections

Posted by Josh on October 25, 2008


Verb inflections include any endings added to the base form of the verb. These include -s, -ing, and -ed. Spelling for the majority of verbs is regular, and the inflections are simply added to the base form. For a few verbs, though, the spelling does change, and the rules are outlined below. For more information on irregular verbs and verb tenses, please see the List of Irregular Verbs at this web site.


Doubling of Consonants 1. If the base form ends in a single consonant and the preceding vowel is stressed and spelled with only one letter, double the consonant before adding -ing and -ed

occur/occurring, swim/swimming, ship/shipping

2. If the preceding vowel is unstressed or spelled with two vowels, do not double the consonant

enter/entering, visit/visiting, develop/developing, dread/dreading, appeal/appealing, shout/shouting

3. If the base form ends in -c, change the -c to -ck

panic/panicking, picnic/picnicking

4. There are exceptions with some verbs ending in -l, -m, and -p

travel–traveling or travelling
program–programing or programming
worship–worshiping or worshipping


Deletion or Addition of -e 1. If the base form ends in an unpronounced -e, drop the -e before adding -ing and -ed inflections

create/creating, type/typing, bake/baking

2. For monosyllabic verbs ending in -ye, -oe, or -nge, keep the final -e before -ing, but drop it before -ed

dye–dyeing/dyed
hoe–hoeing/hoed
singe–singeing/singed

3. If the base form ends in -ie or -ee, drop the final -e before -ed

die/died, agree/agreed, tie/tied

4. If the verb ends in -s, -z, -x, -sh, and -ch, add -e before the -s ending

pass/passes, buzz/buzzes, coax/coaxes, wash/washes, watch/watches


Treatment of -y 1. If the base form ends in -y, change the -y to -ie

carry/carries, try/tries

2. If the base form ends in -ed, change the -y to -i

carry/carried, try/tried

3. Following a vowel or preceding -ing, the -y remains

stay/stayed, toy/toying, try/trying, carry/carrying

4. If the base form ends in -ie, change the -ie to -y before -ing

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