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What Are The Main Spelling Rules For Double Letters?

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Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
The most useful is probably the vowel + consonant rule (for one-syllable words.)

If a word ends in a single short vowel, followed by a consonant, the consonant is doubled when a suffix (ending) is added:

  • shop – shopping
  • fit – fitter
  • plan – planned

This doesn't happen if you have two vowels:

  • leap – leaping
  • plain – plainer

or a final "e" after the consonant:

  • hope – hoped
  • line – lining

There are some letters which are never doubled, no matter how the word is spelt. These are:

  • "v" (except in "revving" which isn't a real word)
  • "w"
  • "x"
  • "y".
  • "K" is possible but very rare ("trekking.")

However, this only applies to one-syllable words. With longer words, the best way is to think about how the word is pronounced; mostly, you double the letter where the word is stressed.

For instance:

  • OFFering
  • HAPPening

but

  • begINNing
  • preferring

There are many exceptions to this rule ( the main one is "l", which in UK English is always doubled in a prefix, as in "quarrelled"), but it generally works.

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