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Spelling rules for endings with verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs

The tables below summarize the basic spelling rules for endings with verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.

Rule Word -s -ed -er -est -ing
For most words, simply add –s, -ed, -er, -est, or –ing without making any other changes. Clean Cleans Cleaned Cleaner Cleanest Cleaning
Cool Cools Cooled Cooler Coolest Cooling

However, spelling changes occur in the following situations:

Rule Word -s -ed -er -est -ing
For words ending in a consonant +y, change the y to i before adding –s, -ed, -er, or –est. Do NOT change or drop the y before adding -ing. Carry Carries Carried Carrier Carrying
Happy Happier Happiest
Lonely Lonelier Loneliest
Study Studies Studied Studying
Worry Worries Worried Worrier Worrying
For most words ending in e, drop the e before adding –ed, -er, -est, or –ing (there are exceptions*) Dance Danced Dancer Dancing
Late Later Latest
Nice Nicer Nicest
Save Saved Saver Saving
Write Writer Writing
For many words ending in one vowel and one consonant, double the final consonant before adding –ed, -er, -est, or –ing. This rule is applied to one syllable words and words with stress on the final syllable. Begin Beginner Beginning
Hot Hotter Hottest
Mad Madder Maddest
Plan Planned Planner Planning
Occur Occurred Occurring
Refer Referred Referring
Run Runner Running
Shop Shopped Shopper Shopping
Win Winner Winning
In the words ending in one vowel and one consonant, do not double the final consonant if the last syllable is not stressed. There are exceptions** Enter Entered Entering
Happen Happened Happening
Open Opened Opener Opening
Travel Traveled Traveler Traveling
Visit Visited Visiting
For most words ending in -f or -lf change the f to v and add –es. There are exceptions *** Half Halves Halved Halving
Loaf Loaves
Shelf Shelves Shelved Shelving
For words ending in ch, sh, s, x, z, and sometimes o, add –es. There are some exceptions **** Church Churches
Wash Washes
Class Classes
Fix Fixes
Quiz Quizzes
Tomato Tomatoes
Zero Zeroes

*Exceptions
agree – agreeing
canoe – canoeing

**Exceptions
bus – busses – bused – busing
fix – fixed – fixer – fixing
play – played – player – playing
sew – sewed – sewer – sewing

***Exceptions
belief – beliefs
chief – chiefs
proof – proofs
roof – roofs
safe – safes

****Exceptions
dynamo – dynamos
ghetto – ghettos
monarch – monarchs
piano – pianos
portfolio – portfolios
radio – radios
studio – studios

Irregular Noun Plurals

Singular Plural
Person People
Child Children
Man Men
Woman Women
Foot Feet
Tooth Teeth
Deer Deer
Fish Fish
Goose Geese
Ox Oxen
Series Series
Species Species

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