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ING-lish: Rule 4 For Adding -ING to Verbs in English

written by: Gillian Hendrie • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 11/30/2013

This final article in the series sets out the consonant doubling rule when adding -ing to verbs in English.

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    English Rules Learn how to spell the progressive (or continuous) form of verbs. As we have seen in the first article (ING-lish: Spelling the -ing Form of Verbs Correctly, Rule 1), forming continuous verbs is, unfortunately, not a simple matter of attaching -ing to the basic verb. These rules will help you to pick up on the "awkward" verbs and learn to spell these forms correctly.

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    Rule 4: Double Consonants after Short Vowels

    In verbs ending with consonant + vowel + consonant, you should double the final consonant before adding -ing.

    Examples:

    • run - Hurry up! We're running out of time.
    • hop - She's hopping on one leg.
    • beg - I'm begging you to come home.
    • swim - Let's go swimming tomorrow.
    • ship - The marines are shipping out next week.

    Note also the doubling in the verb put, even though the vowel is not short:

    • put - Isn't that sweet? He's putting his arm around his mother.
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    QU as a Consonant

    Verbs ending with qu + vowel + consonant follow the same rule. This is because the u is acting for the consonant sound /w/ in the verb.

    Examples:

    • quit - He says he's quitting his job next month.
    • equip - The coach is equipping the team with a new strip.
    • squat - We found them squatting behind the bushes.
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    Exceptions

    1. Verbs of more than one syllable do not double the consonant if the stress is not on the final syllable.

    • admit: The stress is on the final syllable, so we double the consonant. After admitting to the crime, the man was taken into custody.
    • visit: The stress is on the first syllable, so the consonant is not doubled. She's visiting her aunt on Sunday.

    2. The letters h,w, x and y are never doubled.

    • fix - She's fixing her broken stereo.
    • paw - The mad dog was pawing the ground.
    • watch - I'm watching you!
    • say - What are you saying?

ING-lish: Correct Spelling of Continuous Forms of Verbs

This series explains the spelling rules for adding -ing to verbs to create the continuous forms. It is split into three articles and four rules.
  1. ING-lish: Spelling Rules for Adding -ing to English Verbs
  2. English Verbs: When to Drop the IE and Add a K: Rules 2 and 3
  3. ING-lish: Rule 4 For Adding -ING to Verbs in English

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