Adding Suffixes to Longer Words

Rule Breakers - these words break spelling rules NOTE: These rule-breakers apply to British spellings only. British English spelling rule breakers

If a word ends in one vowel + the letter l , we nearly always double the l when adding a vowel suffix, no matter which syllable is stressed. For example:

word lists
1st syllable stressed: 2nd syllable stressed:

travel + ing = travelling
signal + ed = signalled
quarrel + ing = quarrelling
marvel + ous = marvellous

propel + ed = propelled
enrol + ing = enrolling
control + ed = controlled
expel + ing = expelling
As before, words with two vowels do not double:
conceal + ing = concealing
prevail + ed = prevailed

Do not double if the suffix is -ity, -ise or -ize:
civil + ity = civility
legal + ise = legalise
formal + ize = formalize

(Note: in most cases you can use either -ise or -ize.)
word lists
word lists word lists

American English spelling rules American spellings stick to the rules and do not usually double when the final syllable of the root word is unstressed:

travel + ing = traveling equal + ed = equaled cancel + ing = canceling

For more on British and American spelling differences, please see Unit 36.

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Unit 34: Adding suffixes to longer words

Page 7 of 7

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