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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/525258
Rated: E · Book · Educational · #1299892
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#525258 added August 1, 2007 at 11:58pm
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Spelling Patterns and Pronounciations
Silent 'e' with Long Vowels

Many words end with an unpronounced letter e – commonly called “silent e”. Actually, the silent e is a key to pronunciation, as the following pairs of words illustrate.

Van/vane
Gap/gape
Spit/spite
Forbid/abide
Lop/elope
Dot/dote
Occur/cure
Sum/consume


The word pairs show that silent e follows a stressed (accented) syllable with a long vowel, a vowel that requires the muscles in the mouth to tense during pronunciation.

ee in theme
oo in rude
oh in hope
ay in mate
iy in bite

The e may attach to a single syllable word or to a word stressed on the last syllable.
The absence of the e on a stressed (accented) syllable indicates a short vowel. Short vowels like the following allow the muscles in the mouth to remain lax during pronunciation.

it in fit
eh in bet
uh in cup
aw in bought
ah in spa
aeh in mat

The pattern is as follows.

*Bullet* Stressed syllable with long vowel: silent e (tape, ride)
*Bullet* Stressed syllable with short vowel: no e (tap, rid)

The rule does not apply when the stressed final syllable has

*Bullet* More than one vowel in a row (boom, appear)
*Bullet* More than one consonant in a row (comb, dodge)

Silent 'e' with Suffixes

When a suffix is added to a word that ends in silent e, the e

*Bullet* Drops if the suffix begins with a vowel
*Bullet* Remains if the suffix begins with a consonant
Table 1.1 for Spelling Patterns

EXCEPTION: Three common exceptions to this pattern are truly, argument, and judgment.

EXCEPTION: The letter c may represent the hard sound /kuh/ as in cup or the soft sound /s/ as in supper. The letter g may represent the hard sound /guh/ as in gum or the soft sound /juh/ as in gentle. With the suffixes – able and –ous, silent e is retained in two situations.

*Bullet* After soft c: service/serviceable
                   Notice/noticeable
*Bullet* After soft g: outrage/outrageous
                   Advantage/advantageous

Doubled Consonants with Verbs

With regular verbs, the past tense and past participle are made by adding –d or –ed to the base form. The spelling pattern is as follows.

*Bullet* When the verb ends in a stressed syllable and a single consonant, the consonant is doubled and –ed is added (pin/pinned, uncap/uncapped).
*Bullet* When the verb ends in a stressed syllable and a silent e, a –d is added to the base (dine/dined, escape/escaped).
Table 1.2 for Spelling Patterns

The present participle is made by adding – ing to the base form of the verb. The spelling pattern is as follows.

*Bullet* When the verb ends in a stressed syllable and a single consonant, the consonant is doubled and –ing is added (pin/pinning, uncap/uncapping).
*Bullet* When the verb ends in a stressed syllable and a silent e, the e is dropped and –ing is added (dine/dining, escape/escaping).
Table 1.3 for Spelling Patterns


Doubled Consonants with Prefixes, Suffixes, and Compounds

When a prefix ends with the same consonant that the base begins with, both consonants are retained:

dis + satisfied                               dissatisfied
over + rate                               overrate
un + necessary                               unnecessary

When a suffix begins with the same consonant that the base ends with, both consonants are retained.

mental + ly                               mentally
stubborn + ness                               stubbornness
heel + less                               heelless

When the first part of a compound word ends with the same consonant that the second part begins with, both consonants are retained.

book + keeper = bookkeeper
beach + head = beachhead
room + mate = roommate

'I' before 'E'


Almost everyone knows the "i before e" school rhyme.

I before e except after c
or when the vowel sounds like a as in neighbor and weigh.


The rule in this rhyme works with many ie words.

achieve                     relief
believe                     thief
friend                     view


It also works with many c plus ei words.

ceiling                     deceive
conceit                     perceive
conceive                     receive


And ei does appear in words that sound like weigh.

eight                     neighbor
feign                     sleigh
freight                     veil


But many words without the c or the weigh sound are spelled with ei.

either                     neither
foreign                     seize
height                     weird


The rhyme does cover words like believe and receive, but it is not completely reliable. The best solution to the ie/ei problem is the dictionary.

-Cede, - Ceed, - Sede

Since -sede, -ceed, and -cede are pronounced identically, writers sometimes confuse them, spelling proceed, for example, as procede. Mastering the "cede" words, however, is a simple matter of memorizing the spelling of four words: supersede, exceed, proceed, and succeed.

Supersede ends in -sede.
Exceed, proceed, and succeed end in -ceed.
All the rest end in -cede: recede, secede, concede, and so on.







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