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Topic: Doubling the last letter in English words
Many of you know that when you
compare 2 things in English, you add –er to one syllable words.
John is smart. Nancy
is smart, too. Nancy is smarter
But, what happens when you have
a word like “hot?” Take
The stove is hot. The
oven is hot. The stove is hotter
than the oven.
Did you notice that “hot”
became “hotter?” And
did you notice that the “t” in “hot” was doubled and became
“tt?” Many English students struggle with this doubling rule.
fact, this doubling-letter rule is also in other parts of grammar.
I like to swim.
I am swimming, right now.
We have a great rule to help
you remember when to double the last letter and when NOT to (and this
rule is NOT in most textbooks)! Take
the quiz below and then look at the answers and explanations below.
Use the correct form of the word in parentheses to fill in the
After my umbrella broke, I was _______ than when I come out of a
We couldn’t take pictures of the museum because we had ______
the camera. (forget)
Last year, we _______ Europe to see the most famous
historical sites. (visit)
In 1989, a deadly earthquake _______ in San Francisco,
Margaret is ________ all over the city for a new computer. I hope
she finds one that suits her needs.
Warren has been to over 150 countries of the world!
He is a real world ________.
Richard is so ________. He would forget his head if it were not
The best way to remember when
to double the last letter is to remember the “C-V-C rule.”
The C-V-C says that if you are adding a suffix (letters added to
the end of a word, like the –ed in happened) to a word, first look at
the last three letters of the word.
If those three letters are consonant-vowel-consonant, then double
the last letter of the word.
The consonants are: b, c, d,
f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y (sometimes),
are: a, e, i, o, u
So let’s do an example:
The word is SHOP
What are the last three
letters in the word “shop?” H-O-P
the consonant/vowel chart above, is this “H” a consonant? YES
the consonant/vowel chart above, is this “O” a vowel? YES
the consonant/vowel chart above, is this “P” a consonant? YES
The last 3 letters in the word
“SHOP” have a C-V-C combination.
Therefore, double the “P” when adding a suffix.
Hence, you write
the answers to our quiz above are:
wetter 2.) forgotten 3.)
visited 4.) occurred 5.)
traveler 7.) forgetful (see
rule 1 below!)
Rules to Remember!
This C-V-C rule can be used only
if the first letter of the suffix (the letters you are adding) is a
vowel. For example:
Add the suffix –ed, and we get
regretted (double t).
Add the suffix –ful, and we get
regretful (NOT a double t).
Because the first letter in –ed is “e” which is a vowel, double the “t.” The
first letter in –ful is “f” which is a consonant, so the “t”
is NOT doubled.
There are quite a few exceptions
to memorize. The following
words never double the last letter, regardless of the suffix:
The following letters are rarely
or never doubled when adding a suffix:
H, Q, W, X, Y
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