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Suffixes: Spelling Review Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Suffix Rule #4: Doubling Consonants

When a one-syllable base word ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant combination, double the final consonant when adding a suffix that begins with a vowel.

Examples
  • ship + -ing = shipping
  • hot + -er = hotter
  • rot + -en = rotten

Do not double the final consonant when adding a suffix that begins with a consonant, as in shipment or hotly.

Exceptions to this rule are words that end in -w or -x, such as saw (sawing) or fix (fixable).

Suffix Rule #5

When a base word of more than one syllable ends in the consonant + vowel + consonant combination and the accent is on the final syllable, double the final consonant when adding a suffix that begins with a vowel.

Examples:
  • transmit + -er = transmitter
  • begin + -ing = beginning
  • excel + -ent = excellent

Exception: Add a -k after the -c when adding certain suffixes to words that end in -c. For example, panic + -y = panicky. The -kis added as a pronunciation guide.

CAUTION!

THE EXAMPLES MAYmake it seem like you can add any suffix to any word, as long as you know the spelling rules. This is not the case. You can add the suffix -ment to the verbs abandon, entertain and punish, to make them into nouns, but if you stuck this suffix on the end of the verbs smile or climb, you'd end up with a pile of nonsensical mush. Make sure that the word you're creating with your new spelling knowledge actually is a word before you use it in a sentence!

Suffix Rule #6

When a base word ends in any other combination of vowels and consonants, do not double the final consonant when adding a suffix.

Examples:
  • seat + -ing = seating
  • breath + -able = breathable
  • deduct + -ible = deductible

INSIDE TRACK

I HAVE NOT said a thing about spelling with prefixes yet, and this is a good thing. The reason why I haven't discussed prefixes is there is only one rule for prefixes, and it is consistent (almost) all the way across the board: When adding a prefix to a base word, the base word does not change.

Two vowels in a row? No problem! Re- + arrange = rearrange, pre- + order = preorder, and co- + operate = cooperate. What about two of the same consonants in a row? Go for it! Dis- + similar = dissimilar, il- + logical = illogical, and mis- + spell = misspell.

There is only one minor exception to know when it comes to prefixes, and it is the cause of many unnecessary spelling errors. Drop the second l when adding the prefix all-. Examples: all- + together = altogether, all- + ways = always, all- + mighty = almighty.

CROSSING THE FINISH LINE

In this lesson, we learned the six major rules for adding suffixes to base words, which are:

  1. If a suffix begins with a consonant, it can usually be attached to base word that ends in a consonant or a silent e with no change to the base word or the suffix.
  2. If a base word ends in a silent e and the suffix begins with a vowel, drop the silent e when adding the suffix.
  3. When base words end in a consonant + -y combination, change the -y to an i when adding suffixes. If the base word ends in a vowel + -y combination, keep the final y.
  4. When a one-syllable base word ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant combination, double the final consonant when adding a suffix that begins with a vowel.
  5. When a base word of more than one syllable ends in the consonant + vowel + consonant combination and the accent is on the final syllable, double the final consonant when adding a suffix that begins with a vowel.
  6. When a base word ends in any other combination of vowels and consonants, do not double the final consonant when adding a suffix.

We also learned the rules for adding the adverb suffix -ly to adjectives, present participles, and past participles:

  1. When the base word ends in -able or -ible, drop the final e and replace it with a -y.
  2. When the base word ends in -ic, add -ally.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Suffixes: Spelling Review Practice Exercises

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