English Daily Workout: Formation of Present Participle: Spelling rules of Verbs (Lesson & Exercises)

Formation of Present Participle: Spelling rules of Verbs (Lesson & Exercises)











Present Continuous
3. Spelling rules for the formation of the present participle
 
Some verbs change their spelling when the ending ing is added to form the present participle.

a. Verbs ending in a silent e

When a verb ends in a silent e, the silent e is dropped before the ending ing is added. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to close                                                                              closing
  to dine  dining
  to leave  leaving
  to move  moving

However, when a verb ends in an e which is not silent, the final e is not dropped before the ending ing is added. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to be                                                                                    being
  to see  seeing

b. Verbs ending in ie

When a verb ends in ie, the ie is changed to y before the ending ing is added. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to die                                                                                  dying
  to lie  lying

When a verb ends in y, no change is made before the ending is added. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to fly                                                                                flying
  to play  playing

Exercise 2

Using the Present Continuous tense, fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the verbs shown in brackets. For example:
      They _____________ the lemons. (to squeeze)
      They are squeezing the lemons.

      It ________ on the sidewalk. (to lie)
      It is lying on the sidewalk.

      I ___________ the groceries. (to carry)
      I am carrying the groceries.

c. One-syllable verbs ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel

Except in the case of the final consonants w, x and y, when a one-syllable verb ends in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, the final consonant must be doubled before the ending ing is added. The reason for this is to reflect the fact that the pronunciation of the single vowel does not change when the ending ing is added.

English vowels have a variety of pronunciations. For instance, each English vowel has two contrasting pronunciations, which are sometimes referred to as short and long. Vowels which are followed by two consonants, and vowels which are followed by a single consonant at the end of a word, are generally pronounced short. In contrast, vowels which are followed by a single consonant followed by another vowel are generally pronounced long.

In the table below, the underlined vowels in the left-hand column are pronounced short; whereas the underlined vowels in the right-hand column are pronounced long. For example:

Short VowelsLong Vowels
  fat                                                                                                      fate
  tapping  taping
  let  delete
  win  wine
  filling  filing
  not  note
  hopping  hoping
  flutter  flute

Thus, in the case of most one-syllable verbs ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, the vowel is pronounced short. In order to reflect the fact that the vowel is also pronounced short in the corresponding present participle, except in the case of w, x and y, the final consonant must be doubled before the ending ing is added.

In the following examples, the consonants which have been doubled are
underlined. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to nod                                                                                nodding
  to dig  digging
  to run  running
  to clap  clapping
  to set  setting

When a verb ends in w, x or y preceded by a single vowel, the final consonant is not doubled before the ending is added. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to draw                                                                                      drawing
  to fix  fixing
  to say  saying

It should also be noted that when a verb ends in a single consonant preceded by two vowels, the final consonant is not doubled before the ending is added. The reason for this is that two vowels together are generally pronounced long. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to rain                                                                                         raining
  to read  reading
  to meet  meeting
  to soak  soaking

Exercise 3

3. Using the Present Continuous tense, fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the verbs shown in brackets. For example:
      We ___________ to come. (to plan)
      We are planning to come.

      They _________ the lawn. (to mow)
      They are mowing the lawn.

      It __________. (to rain)
      It is raining.




d. Verbs of more than one syllable which end in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel
When a verb of more than one syllable ends in a single consonant other than w, x or y preceded by a single vowel, the final consonant is doubled to form the present participle only when the last syllable of the verb is pronounced with the heaviest stress.

For instance, in the following examples, the last syllables of the verbs have the heaviest stress, and the final consonants are doubled to form the present participles. In these examples, the syllables pronounced with the heaviest stress are underlined. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to expel                                          
  expelling
  to begin  beginning
  to occur  occurring
  to omit  omitting

When a verb of more than one syllable ends in w, x or y, the final consonant is not doubled before the ending ing is added. In the following examples, the syllables pronounced with the heaviest stress are underlined. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to allow                                   
  allowing
  to affix  affixing
  to convey  conveying

When the last syllable of a verb is not pronounced with the heaviest stress, the final consonant is usually not doubled to form the present participle. For instance, in the following examples, the last syllables of the verbs do not have the heaviest stress, and the final consonants are not doubled to form the present participles. In these examples, the syllables pronounced with the heaviest stress are underlined. For example:

InfinitivePresent Participle
  to listen                                 listening
  to order  ordering
  to focus  focusing
  to limit  limiting

If necessary, a dictionary can be consulted to determine which syllable of a verb has the heaviest stress. Many dictionaries use symbols such as apostrophes to indicate which syllables are pronounced with the heaviest stress.

Exercise 4

4. Each of the following sentences is preceded by a bare infinitive, the most heavily stressed syllable of which is underlined. Paying attention to whether or not the final consonant should be doubled before ing is added, fill in the blanks with the present participles corresponding to the bare infinitives. Use the American spelling for verbs ending in

l. For example:
      whisper: They are __________ to their friends.
      They are whispering to their friends.

      refer: I was _________ to your letter.
      I was referring to your letter.

1. open  2. display    3. submit  4. limit  5. permit
6. sharpen  7. confer 8. focus   9. repel   10. shovel
11. destroy 12. dispel   13. squander 14. prefer  15. color
16. unravel  17. propel  18. flower 19. infer  20. listen




It should be noted that British and American spelling rules differ for verbs which end in a single l preceded by a single vowel. In British spelling, the l is always doubled before the endings ing and ed
are added. However, in American spelling, verbs ending with a single l follow the same rule as other verbs; the l is doubled only when the last syllable has the heaviest stress. In the following examples, the syllables with the heaviest stress are underlined. For example:


Infinitive                                      Present Participle
American SpellingBritish Spelling
 to signal                                 signaling  signalling
 to travel  traveling  travelling
 to compel  compelling  compelling
 to propel  propelling  propelling

From these examples it can be seen that the American and British spellings for verbs ending in a single l differ only when the last syllable does not have the heaviest stress.