Spelling Rule -ING

What is the rule when adding ‘ing’ to a word?

Here is a guide to the correct spelling of -ing forms of verbs and gerunds.

The general rule when changing a verb into its -ing form is just to add -ing to the end of the verb.

InfinitiveING form
to feelfeeling
to gogoing
to workworking
to sleepsleeping
  • She wasn’t feeling very well.
  • He is working on a new project.
  • The children are sleeping so be quiet.

1st Rule

If the verb ends in an ‘e’ we remove ‘e’ and add -ing.

InfinitiveING form
to liveliving
to havehaving
to makemaking
to taketaking

Some examples of above rule,

  • People are living longer now than they were 100 years ago.
  • We are making a chocolate cake.
  • He was taking his time to get ready.

2nd Rule

If the verb ends in a Consonant + Vowel + Consonant, we double the final consonant and add ‘ing’.

InfinitiveING form
to stopstopping
to sitsitting
to planplanning
to get getting
to swimswimming
  • The policeman is stopping the traffic.
  • We are planning a surprise party for our teacher.
  • I think I am getting a cold.

3rd Rule

If a two-syllable verb ends in a Consonant + Vowel + Consonant, we do not double the final consonant when the stress is on the first syllable.

InfinitiveING form
to happenhappening
to enterentering
to offeroffering
to suffersuffering
  • What is happening?
  • They are offering a discount.
  • Many people are suffering from lack of food and water.

4th Rule

But, we do not double the final consonant when the verb ends in W, X, or Y or when the final syllable is not emphasized.

InfinitiveING form
to fixfixing
to enjoyenjoying
to snowsnowing
  • He is fixing his bike.
  • We are enjoying this great weather.
  • It’s snowing outside.

If the verb ends in -ie we change it to -ying.

InfinitiveING form
to lielying
to diedying
to tietying
  • I know you are lying to me!
  • You should water your plant more because I think it is dying.
  • The little boy is tying his shoelaces.

5th Rule

If the verb ends in Consonant + Vowel + L, we normally double the final L and add -ing.

InfinitiveBritish EnglishUS English
to traveltravellingtraveling
to marvelmarvellingmarveling
  • I have been traveling around South America for 6 months.
  • He was marveling at her beauty.

6th Rule

If the verb ends in a stressed Vowel+R, we double the final R and add -ing.

InfinitiveING form
referreferring
deferdeferring
  • Are you referring to this one or that one?
  • They are thinking of deferring payment of their mortgage.

7th Rule

If the verb ends in an Unstressed Vowel + R, we do not double the final R and add -ing.

InfinitiveING form
to offeroffering
to suffersuffering
to whisperwhispering
  • I am offering you a special deal.
  • He is now suffering the consequences of his actions.
  • I wonder what he is whispering in her ear.
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