Selling Rules For Regular Verbs

1. Most regular verbs simply add -ed and -ing to the simple form (base form).


listen listened listening
work worked working

2. If a verb ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant (VC), and the vowel has a strong stress, the final consonant is doubled before adding -ed or -ing.

[Note: All words of one syllable have a strong stress on the vowel.]


stop stopped stopping
permit permitted permitting

If the verb ends in two vowels and a consonant (VVC), or one vowel and two consonants (VCC), we do not double the final consonant. In other words, we only double the final consonant when we have the VC pattern explained above.


rain rained raining
start started starting

Notice that in the case of a verb like travel we do not double the final consonant because the strong stress is on the first syllable, not the last. [American English rule]

travel traveled traveling

3. In the case of verbs that end in -e, we only add -d to form the past tense, and we omit the -e before adding -ing.


grate grated grating
hope hoped hoping

4. Notice the difference in pronunciation between these two words:

hop /hap/ hopped /hapt/  
hope /houp/ hoped /houpt/  

Notice how a verb that ends in a VC pattern has a short vowel sound (/a/ in this example), while a verb that ends in silent e (VCe) has a long vowel (/ou/ in this case). The silent e changes the pronunciation of the vowel before the consonant so that it is pronounced with its name. The names of the vowels are the long vowel sounds.

Notice also that the double consonant keeps the short vowel sound while the single consonant keeps the long vowel sound in the second example.

5. There are two rules for verbs that end in -y:

a. If the verb ends in a vowel plus y (Vy), we simply add -s, -ed, or -ing.


play plays played playing

b. If the verb ends in a consonant plus y (Cy), we change the y to i and add -es or -ed. In the case of -ing, we do not change the y.


study studies studied studying

6. Verbs that end in -c add -ked, -king.

mimic mimics mimicked mimicking
panic panics panicked panicking

7. Verbs that end in w, x, or y do not double the final consonant.

box boxed boxing
tow towed towing

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This page was last modified on 06/15/10

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