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Unit 9: Adding suffixes: the spelling rules

Page 10 of 19

Unit 9: Suffixes: why we need to double letters, change them or drop 'e'

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Page 10 of 19

The Spelling Rules for Adding Suffixes:

When do you drop the letter e ?

think back to spelling teaching

Remember, a suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a root word to change its meaning.

A vowel suffix is a suffix that begins with a vowel.


Teaching point - learning to spell

If you are adding a vowel suffix to a word that ends in e, drop the e.

For example:


word lists word lists
date + ing = dating froze + en = frozen shine + y = shiny
word lists word lists

When do you keep the letter e ?

Teaching point - learning to spell

A consonant suffix is a suffix that begins with a consonant.

If you are adding a consonant suffix to a word that ends in e, you do not need to drop the e.

For example:


word lists word lists
hope + less = hopeless wise + ly = wisely tune + ful = tuneful
word lists word lists

The e at the end of words makes the first vowel sound long. For example, the e in the word hope stops it from sounding like the word hop.

If we removed the e when adding a consonant suffix, there would be nothing to do the important job of making the long vowel sound.

Let’s try it by adding the suffix -less:

If we take away the e, we would pronounce our new word hop-less. This has a very different meaning to the word hope-less!

Learn the Words:
Study this word list 'Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check' spelling exercise English spelling games spelling test

Can you use the above rule to work out when you need to drop the e and when you don’t?

For every spelling rule, there are some rulebreakers.

Add the suffix to the root word.

Type the whole word:

make + ing
close + ness
Dane + ish
arrive + ed
nice + ly
shame + ful
fame + ous
smoke + y
excite + ment
tune + ful
care + ing
care + less


Skip this exercise and go to the next part of this unit: Suffixing rule-breakers. *

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