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.
Rule 4: Double Consonants after Short Vowels
In verbs ending with consonant + vowel + consonant, you should double the final consonant before adding -ing.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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?
This post is part of the series: ING-lish: Correct Spelling of Continuous Forms of Verbs
- ING-lish: Spelling Rules for Adding -ing to English Verbs
- English Verbs: When to Drop the IE and Add a K: Rules 2 and 3
- ING-lish: Rule 4 For Adding -ING to Verbs in English