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Spelling Rules. Adding –s, - es , - ing and - ed. Vowels: a, e, i , o, u Consonants: all other letters. Vowels and Consonants. 1. For most third-person singular (he, she, it) verbs and for plural nouns, add –s to the simple form : Verb: swim  swims Noun: lake lakes.

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spelling rules

Spelling Rules

Adding –s, -es, -ing and -ed

vowels and consonants
Vowels: a, e, i, o, u
  • Consonants: all other letters
Vowels and Consonants
spelling of verbs and nouns in s and es
1. For most third-person singular (he, she, it) verbs and for plural nouns, add –s to the simple form:
    • Verb: swim
      • swims
    • Noun: lake
      • lakes
Spelling of Verbs and Nounsin –s and -es
spelling of verbs and nouns in s and es2
3. If the simple form ends with a consonant + y, change y to I and add –es:
    • Verb: try
      • tries
    • Noun: baby
      • babies
  • Vowel + Y, add -s: toytoys
Spelling of Verbs and Nounsin –s and -es
spelling of verbs and nouns in s and es3
4. If the simple form ends with a consonant + o, add –s or –es. Some words take –s:
    • autoautos
    • photophotos
    • pianopianos
    • solosolos
Spelling of Verbs and Nounsin –s and -es
spelling of verbs and nouns in s and es4
4. If the simple form ends with a consonant + o, add –s or –es. Some words take –es:
    • dodoes
    • echoechoes
    • gogoes
    • heroheroes
    • potatopotatoes
    • tomatotomatoes
Spelling of Verbs and Nounsin –s and -es
spelling of verbs and nouns in s and es5
4. If the simple form ends with a consonant + o, add –s or –es. Some words take both –s or –es:
    • tornado tornados or tornadoes
    • volcano volcanos or volcanoes
    • zero zeros or zeroes
  • Vowel + o: radioradios, zoozoos
Spelling of Verbs and Nounsin –s and -es
spelling of verbs and nouns in s and es6
5. If the simple form ends in a single f or fe, change the f or fe to v and add-es.
    • knife
      • knives
    • shelf
      • shelves
  • Exceptions: beliefbeliefs, chiefchiefs, roofroofs, hoofhooves, scarfscarfs or scarves
Spelling of Verbs and Nounsin –s and -es
spelling of verbs ending in ing3
4. If the simple form of a one-syllable verbends in a single vowel + consonant, double the final consonant and add –ing.
    • hit
      • hitting
    • stop
      • stopping
  • Compare to two vowels + consonant: eatingeating
Spelling of Verbs ending in -ing
spelling of verbs ending in ing4
5. If the simple form of a verb with two or more syllables ends in a single vowel + consonant, double the final consonant if the stress is on the final syllable. Do not double the final consonant if the stress is not on the final syllable:
    • admit
      • admitting
    • begin
      • beginning
    • develop
      • developing
    • listen
      • listening
  • NOTE: the final l is always doubled in British English, but not in American English.

traveltravelling or traveling

Spelling of Verbs ending in -ing
spelling of verbs ending in ed
1. To form the simple past and V3 of most regular verbs, add –ed to the simple form.
    • brush
      • brushed
    • play
      • played
Spelling of Verbs ending in -ed
spelling of verbs ending in ed2
3. If the simple form ends with a consonant + y, change the y to I and add -ed.
    • bury
      • buried
    • dry
      • dried
  • Compare with vowel + y: play/played, enjoy/enjoyed
Spelling of Verbs ending in -ed
spelling of verbs ending in ed3
4. If the simple form of a one-syllable verb ends with a single vowel + consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed.
    • plan
      • planned
    • shop
      • shopped
Spelling of Verbs ending in -ed
spelling of verbs ending in ed4
5. If the simple form of a verb with two or more syllables ends in a single vowel + consonant, double the final consonant and add –ed only when the stress is on the final syllable. Do not double the final consonant if the stress is not on the final syllable.
    • prefer
      • preferred
    • enter
      • entered
  • The final l is always doubled in British English, but not in American English:
    • travel travel or travelled
Spelling of Verbs ending in -ed
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