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6/5/2016 Spelling Rules for the Verb Tenses - Free English Grammar Guide - Learn English Grammar / English Grammar Rules / Grammar Check
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Learn English Grammar >
Forming the main verb in some English verb tenses
involves adding endings. Whenever a new element is
added to a word, there may be spelling changes
occurring as a result of phonological interaction
between the word’s final letters and the ending’s first
letter. To know more, read these sections of our review
on spelling rules for the English verb tenses.
1. Spelling rules for the Present Simple
2. Spelling rules for the Past Simple
3. Spelling rules for the Progressive tenses (forming
the Present Participle)
4. Special Cases
Make sure you apply these grammar rules, as these are
basic spelling issues. In order to know how to use each
of these tenses correctly, please click on each tense
above to read the related full article.
1. Spelling rules for the Present Simple
Spelling rules for adding s in the third person singular
 
 
 
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changes:  
• Add es to a verb which ends in a whistling sound (
 
• In verbs that end with y preceded by a consonant,
drop the y, replace it with i and add es. However, If the
y is preceded by a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) just add s.  You study – Dan studies English twice a week.  but:
 We play –Sharon plays football 3 times a week.
2. Spelling rules for the Past Simple
Spelling rules for adding ed  to regular past verbs
When adding the ed ending to a regular verb in the
Past Simple in English, there may be some spelling
changes:
• Add only d to a verb which ends in e.
change – Suzy changed her hairstyle last week.
create – Bach created an abundance of musical pieces.
• In verbs that end with y preceded by a consonant,
drop the y, replace it with i and add ed. However, If the
y is preceded by a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) just add ed.
study – Dan studied a lot for this test.
but:
 
 
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weekend.  
• The doubling rule: When a verb ends with a letter
sequence of consonant-vowel-consonant, double the
final consonant.  -If the verb is longer than one syllable, double only if 
the stress falls on the last syllable.  -The letters h,w,x,y are never doubled ( fix-fixed).
 
prefer (f=consonant, e=vowel, r=consonant, stress
falls on last syllable /fer/ -- double!) :  My friends prefe rr ed that we stay at home and not go
out.  
but:  visit (s=consonant, i=vowel, t=consonant, stress does
not fall on last syllable /sit/ -- don't double!) :  Donna visited her grandparents in New Jersey two
weeks ago.
tenses
the auxiliary verb to be and the present participle form
of the verb. Make sure you spell this form correctly
according to the following rules:
 
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Spelling rules for adding ing to a verb
When adding the ing ending to a verb in order to form
the present participle in English, there may be some
spelling changes:
• When a verb ends with e, drop the e before adding
ing.
[ is making is in the Present Progressive tense]
write – The professor was writing his new book when
he was asked to start working on a different project.
[ was writing is in the Past Progressive tense]
• In verbs that end with y add ing with no change !
study – Dan will be studying for the test tomorrow
afternoon.
[ will be studying is in the future progressive tense]
• When a verbs ends in ie, drop the ie, replace it with
y, and add ing.
die – dying, lie – lying, tie – tying, vie – vying
Susan was tying her shoe laces while she was lying on
her bed.
[ was tying, was lying are in the Past Progressive tense]
The reality show contestants will be vying for the first
prize.
 
 
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• The doubling rule: When a verb ends with a letter
sequence of consonant-vowel-consonant, double the
final consonant.  -If the verb is longer than one syllable, double only if 
the stress falls on the last syllable.  -The letters h,w,x,y are never doubled ( fix-fixing).
 beg (b=consonant, e=vowel, g=consonant, stress falls
on the last and only syllable /beg/ -- double!) :  Please believe me, I am be gging you !
 [ am begging is in the Present Progressive tense]  
but:  visit (s=consonant, i=vowel, t=consonant, stress does
not fall on last syllable /sit/ -- don't double!) :  Donna is visiting her grandparents this evening.
4. Special Cases:
either ed or ing, as explained below. We present here
the more common irregularities, as others are very rare
in usage. Whenever unsure about the spelling of a
specific verb form in question, you can rely on the
WhiteSmoke dictionary for a professional spelling
check.
• The letter l is doubled in British English even if the
final syllable is not stressed.
Rodney was traveling in the Swiss Alps, when he got
news of his newborn son.
[American English]
 
 
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Rodney was trave lling in the Swiss Alps, when he got
news of his newborn son.  [British English]
 
 
• Double the z in the verb quiz.  My teacher qui zzed us on the irregular verbs in
English.  
• Add a k after the final c in verbs such as to panic, to
traffic, to frolic, and to picnic in order to retain the
original /k/ sound of the letter c.  After he heard about the traffic king of drugs, he
completely panic ked.  
• Keep the final e in certain verbs ending with ge, in
order to retain the /j/ sound of the verb. For example,
to singe, to binge, to impinge.  Ron was bin geing all night long, sin geing his
mustache by mistake after trying to roast some
marshmallows on the stove.  
Singular and Plural Nouns
 
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The Verb To Be
The Irregular Verbs in English (Part 1)
The Irregular Verbs in English (Part 2)
The Verb Tenses in English
Spelling Rules for the Verb Tenses
Present Tenses:
Sentence Structure (Part 2) - Phrases
Sentence Structure (Part 3) - Clauses
Sentence Structure (Part 4) - Sentence Types
 
 
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