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8.3: Doubling the final consonant

  • Page ID
    152037
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    Have you ever noticed that sometimes when adding a suffix the last letter in the base word will double and sometimes it does not double? The structure of many of the words used in the Robert Frost poem lend themselves to investigating the doubling convention.

     

    Activity

    First, read and enjoy the poem. Then go back to the poem and look at the highlighted words. Can you determine the base words and the prefixes and suffixes?

    Examine the words in the charts below and see if you can figure out the patterns for doubling and not doubling.

    “Acquainted with the Night”

    I have been one acquainted with the night.

    I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.

    I have outwalked the furthest city light.

    I have looked down the saddest city lane.

    I have passed by the watchman on his beat

    And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

    I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

    When far away an interrupted cry

    Came over houses from another street,...

    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.

    I have been one acquainted with the night.

    Words not doubled

    Word sum

    Base word

    Pattern from the vowel

    walked

    outwalked

    walk+ed

    out+walk+ed

    walk

    VCC

    looked

    look+ed

    look

    VVC

    passed

    pass+ed

    pass

    VCC

    unwilling

    un+will+ing

    will

    VCC

    interrupted

    inter+rupt+ed

    rupt

    VCC

    proclaimed

    pro+claim+ed

    claim

    VVC

    Words doubled

    Word sum

    Base word

    pattern from the vowel

    stopped

    stop(p)+ed

    stop

    VC

    saddest

    sad(d)+est

    sad

    VC

    dropped

    drop(p)+ed

    drop

    VC

    When a one syllable base word ends with a single vowel and a single consonant (VC) and you add a vowel suffix such as -ing, -ed, -er, -est, the final consonant will double. The words from the Frost poem stopped, saddest, dropped are all examples of this convention. When a base word ends with a vowel and two consonants (VCC) or two vowels and a consonant (VVC), the final letter will not double when adding a vowel suffix.

    A group of curious 5th graders in Marybeth Stevens’ classroom wanted to understand why the plural of bus is buses and not busses. Read how the students with the help of Marybeth investigated if the word buses was an exception to the doubling convention in her blog “Is this the Right Bus?’ https://mbsteven.edublogs.org/2019/12/09/is-this-the-right-bus/


    8.3: Doubling the final consonant is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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