Monday, 22 November 2010

Verb tenses: adding -ed and -ing

Verb tenses: adding -ed and -ing

The basic form of a verb is called the infinitive. It normally occurs with the word to as in ‘I want to ask you a question.’ Verbs may change their spelling according to which tense is being used.
The past tense refers to things that happened in the past. To make the past tense of regular verbs, the ending -ed is added to the infinitive ('I asked her a question'). The present participle refers to things that are still happening. To make the present participle, the ending -ing is added to the infinitive ('I am asking her a question').
Often there's no need to make any other spelling changes when you add -ed and -ing to the infinitive but there are some cases when it's necessary to do so. Here are some rules to help you get it right:                      
Verbs ending with a silent e
 
If the verb ends with an e that isn’t pronounced (as in bake or smile), then you need to drop this final -e before adding -ed and -ing:
 
verb
past tense
present participle
bake
baked
baking
smile
smiled
smiling
 
A very few verbs keep the final -e when adding -ing to distinguish them from similar words. For example, singe becomes singeing rather than singing (which is the present participle ofsing).
 
Verbs ending with a vowel plus -l
 
If the verb ends with a vowel plus -l (as in travel or equal), then you need to double the lbefore adding -ed and -ing in British English:
 
verb
past tense
present participle
travel
travelled
travelling
distil
distilled
distilling
equal
equalled
equalling
 
This rule doesn’t apply in American English: see more information about the differences between British and American spelling
 
Verbs ending with a single vowel plus a consonant
 
If the verb ends with a single vowel plus a consonant, and the stress is at the end of the word (e.g. refer), then you need to double the final consonant before adding -ed and –ing:
 
verb
past tense
present participle
admit
admitted
admitting
commit
committed
committing
refer
referred
referring
 
If the verb ends with a vowel plus a consonant and the stress is not at the end of the word, you don’t need to double the final consonant when adding -ed and -ing:
 
verb
past tense
present participle
inherit
inherited
inheriting
target
targeted
targeting
visit
visited
visiting
 
If the verb has only one syllable and ends with a single vowel plus a consonant (e.g. stop), then you need to double the final consonant before adding -ed and -ing:
 
verb
past tense
present participle
stop
stopped
stopping
tap
tapped
tapping
sob
sobbed
sobbing
 
 
Verbs ending with two vowels plus a consonant
 
If the verb ends with two vowels plus a consonant, you should generally not double the final consonant:
 
verb
past tense
present participle
treat
treated
treating
wheel
wheeled
wheeling
pour
poured
pouring
 
 
Verbs ending in -c
 
If the verb ends in -c (e.g. panic), you need to add a -k before adding -ed and -ing, and also -er.
 
verb
past tense
present participle
related noun
picnic
picnicked
picnicking
picnicker
mimic
mimicked
mimicking
mimicker
traffic
trafficked
trafficking
trafficker

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