Writing - part 2

Dropping and adding letters

When we change the form of a verb or a noun, there is usually a dropping and adding of letters. There are many rules for that.

The final -e

We often drop the final -e when a suffix beginning with a vowel is added to a word:

approve + -al → approval

hope + -ing → hoping

fame + -ous → famous

invite + -ation → invitation

hate + -ed → hated

note + -able → notable


We keep the -e in dyeing (from dye) and singeing (from singe) to differentiate them from similar words e.g. dying (from die) and singing (from sing).

When a suffix begins with a consonant (e.g. -less, -ful, -ly, -ment) we do not normally drop the -e:

definitely excitement forceful hopeless lately widely

Sometimes we do drop the -e:

argue  argument

true  truly

due  duly

whole  wholly

Some words have alternative forms with or without an -e: for example, acknowledgement or acknowledgment, and judgement or judgment.

The suffix -ally

The suffix -ally is added to adjectives ending in -ic to form adverbs:

basic → basically

realistic → realistically

tragic → tragically


BUT: publicly

Changing -y to -i

When we add a suffix to a word ending in a consonant + -y, we normally change -y to i:

amplify + -er → amplifier

happy + -ly → happily

busy + -ness → business

hurry + -s → hurries

day + -ly → daily

purify + -cation → purification

easy + -ly → easily

reply + -ed → replied

fury + -ous → furious

spy + -s → spies


Some words with one syllable keep the -y before a suffix: dryness, shyness, slyness.

We keep -y before -ing: studying, worrying.

We keep -y before ’sthe fly’s wings, Andy’s house.

We usually keep the -y in most words that end in a vowel + -y:

buy → buyer

destroy → destroys


BUT: day → daily

Doubling consonants (Prev Lesson)
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