Confused by Verbs | Past Tense Verbs – Part 3: Verbs That Double Their Consonants

Hi everyone! In my previous post on verbs, I showed the various transformations of verbs ending with ‘y’ into the past tense. In this post, let’s take a look at other verbs and their transformations.

Confused by Verbs. Grammar

Let’s twin ’em!

You may have noticed that some verbs end with consonants and when transformed into past tense, these ending consonants are doubled, for instance, jogged and hopped. As an adult, you might know which verbs have the ending consonant doubled because you have used them so often that it becomes instinctive. However, have you ever wondered how to tell if a verb needs to have its end consonants doubled when it transforms to its past tense form? Actually, there are fixed rules for twinning the ending consonant for English verbs!

3 Criteria for Twinning Ending Consonants of Past Tense Verbs that End with ‘ed’

  • 1 syllable

  • 1 vowel

  • 1 ending consonant

You might wonder… What do these criteria refer to? Let me explain in detail:

  • 1 syllable = There is only one part to the pronunciation of the verb. (e.g. jog, hop, bat etc.)

    Verbs such as “decay” (2 syllables), “collect” (2 syllables) and “refrigerate” (4 syllables) have more than one part to their pronunciation.

  • 1 vowel = There is only 1 vowel in the centre of the verb (e.g, mop, tap, pat etc.)
    Verbs such as “steal”, “bounce” and “cook” have 2 vowels that constitute the centre of the words.

  • 1 ending consonant = There is no more than one consonant at the end of the verb. (e.g. jog, hop & bat etc.)
    Verbs such as “bath“, “knock” and “start” have 2 ending consonants each.

    Words that end with consonants ‘w’, ‘x’ and ‘y’ cannot be twinned. Therefore, these criteria do not apply to words that end with these three consonants.

X rowwed X boxxed X toyyed

Here are some examples that show how ending consonants are twinned in verbs that fulfil these criteria:

Like the previous blogs on Past Tense Verbs, here are two worksheets that will allow your child to put into practice what has been taught today.

As most children are not used to the routine of checking the spelling of words based on criteria, it might be good to do the first two or three questions with your child. Explain and repeat the criteria to help your child understand and commit them to memory. After a few tries and reminders, most children will be able to spot verbs that fit these 3 criteria easily.

Exception to the rule

However, there are actually two-syllable verbs that twin their ending consonant. This occurs for verbs that end with a vowel followed by a single consonant and the stress in pronunciation occurs in the second syllable. If the second syllable is not stressed, the ending consonant is NOT twinned.

As this might be a little too complicated for young English learners to understand, I have prepared a list of high frequency two-syllable verbs which doubled their end consonant for your easy reference.

Confused by Verbs. Grammar

That’s all for this week! I hope this series on verbs transformation has proved to be useful for you and your child. Do share in the comments section if you have any feedback regarding the posts as well as their accompanying worksheets. Till next we meet, take care!

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