Spelling Rules -ING

English Grammar Notes


The following 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.

Infinitive ING form
to feel feeling
to go going
to work working
to sleep sleeping

Spelling exceptions

The following exceptions exist when spelling words ending in ING:

1). If the verb ends in an E we remove the E and add ING.

Infinitive ING form
to live living
to have having
to make making
to take taking

2). If the verb ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant, we double the final consonant and add ING.

Infinitive ING form
to stop stopping
to sit sitting
to plan planning
to get getting
to swim swimming

3). 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.

Infinitive ING form
to happen happening
to enter entering
to offer offering
to suffer suffering

4). 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.

Infinitive ING form
to fix fixing
to enjoy enjoying
to snow snowing

5). If the verb ends in IE we change it to YING.

Infinitive ING form
to lie lying
to die dying
to tie tying

6). If the verb ends in consonant + vowel + L, we normally double the final L and add ING.

Note: In the United States (US) they do not double the L when the accent is on the first syllable.

Infinitive ING form
(UK)
ING form
(US)
to travel travelling traveling
to marvel marvelling marveling

7). If the verb ends in a stressed vowel + R, we double the final R and add ING.

Infinitive ING form
refer referring
defer deferring

8). If the verb ends in an unstressed vowel + R, we do not double the final R and add ING.

Infinitive ING form
to offer offering
to suffer suffering
to whisper whispering



Next activities

Check out our notes about adjectives ending in -ING and -ED.

These ING rules are similar when spelling words ending in -ED.


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