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English Tip of the Week
Adding Suffixes: To Double or not to Double Consonants
Do you ever wonder if you should double a letter when adding a suffix? For example, why does shop become shopping, not shoping since hope becomes hoping, not hopping?
This week's tip will help you spell correctly when adding suffixes. We have Lawrence K. to thank for sending this suggestion as well as for many of the examples.
Tip: When adding a suffix, double the final consonant if the preceding vowel would otherwise change from short to long.
Example: shop / shopping
Explanation: Without the additional "p," the pronunciation would rhyme with hoping.
Example: bat / batted
Explanation: Without the additional "t," the pronunciation would rhyme with gated.
Of course, what kind of English rule would we have without exceptions? (A consistent one?)
According to the tip, transit and profit should both have their consonants doubled when adding a suffix. Otherwise, the "i" becomes long. However, this is not the case.
transit / transited / transiting
profit / profited / profiting
In an effort to make us feel even less secure with our spelling, some words are spelled correctly by either doubling the consonant or not.
Example: travel / traveling OR travelling (British preference)
The moral of the story is that we often have no choice but to look these words up or rely on spell checkers that don't always catch these exceptions.
Due to the E-Newsletter's large readership, we are unable to respond to individual English usage questions.
Scroll down to view answers to the pop quiz.
1. I am writing / writting my memoirs.
2. I need a new fited / fitted sheet for my bed.
3. She felt traped / trapped in her job.
4. The boat was propeled / propelled by jet fuel.
5. This document needs formating / formatting.
6. The announcer recaped / recapped the plays.
7. Her remains were intered / interred at the nearby ceremony.
8. His book still hasn't been edited / editted.
9. She hoped that meditating would help her become enlightened / enlightenned.
10. Labeling / labelling your files thoughtfully will help you find them again later.
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Candidate for a Pullet Surprise
by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar
More than an exercise in homophonous humor, "Candidate for a Pullet Surprise" endures as a cautionary tale for all those who place too much trust in spell checkers.
I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it's weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to bee a joule
The checker poured o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.
Be fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if were lacks or have a laps,
We wood be maid to wine.
Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite,
Of none eye am a wear.
Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.
Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft ware for pea seas,
And why I brake in two averse
By righting wants too pleas.
Pop Quiz Answers
1. I am writing my memoirs.
2. I need a new fitted sheet for my bed.
3. She felt trapped in her job.
4. The boat was propelled by jet fuel.
5. This document needs formatting.
6. The announcer recapped the plays.
7. Her remains were interred at the nearby ceremony.
8. His book still hasn't been edited.
9. She hoped that meditating would help her become enlightened.
10. Labeling or Labelling your files thoughtfully will help you find them again later.
Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.