English Daily Workout: Present Continuous: Spelling Rules for Adding -ING to One-Syllable Verbs

Present Continuous: Spelling Rules for Adding -ING to One-Syllable Verbs

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

Except in the case of the final consonants wx 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 Vowels                                                      Long 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 wx 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:

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

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

Infinitive                              Present 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:

Infinitive                                 Present Participle
  to rain                                 raining
  to read                                  reading
  to meet                                  meeting
  to soak                                 soaking


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.


Answers: 
1. am cutting 2. is floating 3. are winning 4. are wrapping 5. is growing 6. is looking 7. am knitting 8. are sawing 9. is cleaning 10. are scrubbing 11. am fixing 12. is sipping 13. are trimming 14. are feeding 15. is nodding