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Spelling Rules I: Adding -ing/-ed

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Writing is a representation of the spoken word. The spoken word is not a representation of writing. Accents and pronunciation can change easily and quite quickly, whereas what is written in books and dictionaries remains "fixed" for years.

For various historical reasons, there is often little correspondence between spoken English (pronunciation) and written English (spelling). English spelling therefore often appears to be illogical.

The following rules can help you to decode the mysteries of English spelling. But remember, even the best rules have their exceptions.

Adding -ing/-ed

Often we need to add -ing or -ed to a verb to make other forms of the verb, for example: I was talking when John Smith arrived.

Spelling Rule

Just add -ing or -ed to the end of the base verb:

• work > working > worked

• play > playing > played

• open > opening > opened

Exceptions

If the base verb ends in: Do this: And add: For example:
consonant + vowel + consonant


and a stressed syllable
double the final consonant -ing
-ed
stop > stopping > stopped

begin > beginning

tap > tapping > tapped

But, for example:

open > opening > opened

(because no stress on last syllable of open)
consonant + -e remove the -e -ing
-ed
phone > phoning > phoned

dance > dancing > danced

make > making

rake > raking > raked

dye > dying > dyed
-ie change the -ie to -y -ing lie > lying

die > dying
-ie nothing -d lie > lied

die > died

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About: My interests include geography, philosophy, good food and the arts. The complex art of communication fascinates me. I also enjoy my daily dose(s) of coffee!

Last Updated At Dec 07, 2012
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