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Adding Suffixes to Root Words (-ed)

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Basics on the topic Adding Suffixes to Root Words (-ed)

Suffixes in the English Language

English is a language rich in morphology, where word formation is often achieved through the addition of prefixes and suffixes. Suffixes, in particular, play a vital role in creating tenses, comparing adjectives and forming nouns. Among these, the -ed suffix stands out due to its significance in making past tense for regular verbs.

Basic Rules for Adding -ed – Regular Verbs

Regular verbs are verbs that keep the root of the word in different tenses.

They are called regular verbs because they follow simple rules when being changed to different tenses, simply taking on the -ed suffix in their past tense form.

Three ways to use the -ed suffix for regular verbs are:

1 Most verbs will simply take the -ed without any alteration, like "play" becoming "played."

Let’s take a look at some examples :

Present tense Past tense
play played
look looked
kick kicked

2 If the verb ends with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel and the stress is on the last syllable, you'll need to double the final consonant before adding the suffix -ed. For instance, "admit" becomes "admitted."

Let’s take a look at some more examples :

Present tense Past tense
hop hopped
stop stopped
rub rubbed

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3 Verbs ending with a silent 'e' will drop that 'e' before taking the -ed suffix. Thus, "dance" turns into "danced."

Let’s take a look at some more examples :

Present tense Past tense
name named
close closed
tire tired

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4 When a word ends with a vowel before y, keep the y and add -ed. For example, enjoy ends with a vowel before the y, so add -ed to make the word enjoyed.

Let’s take a look at some more examples :

Present tense Past tense
enjoy enjoyed
stay stayed
play played

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6 When a verb ends in a consonant then y, replace the y with an i, then add -ed. For example, carry ends with a consonant then y, so replace the y with an i, and add -ed to make the word carried.

Let’s take a look at some more examples :

Present tense Past tense
carry carried
try tried
copy copied

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Basic Rules for Adding -ed – Pronunciation

Adding the suffix -ed doesn't always mean the pronunciation will sound like "ed." There are three distinct pronunciations are:

/t/ as in "watched" /d/ as in "played" /ɪd/ as in "wanted"

The preceding sound of the root verb determines which pronunciation is used.

Basic Rules for Adding -ed – Irregular Verbs

This might be the most challenging aspect about the past tense for many English learners.

Whilst regular verbs in English language simply use the -ed suffix to change into past tense, irregular verbs do not use any predictable patterns for past tense forms. They can change in unpredictable ways, like "go" to "went" or "see" to "saw." To learn more about irregular verbs please watch the video about irregular verbs in the past tense.

Basic Rules for Adding -ed – Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Adding suffixes to words will inevitably present you with some potential mistakes. However, you can easily overcome them if you are aware of where these mistakes are likely to occur. Some common errors include:

  • 1 Overgeneralising the -ed rule and applying it to irregular verbs. Always check if the verb is regular or irregular, and only apply the suffix -ed to regular verbs.

  • 2 Incorrectly doubling consonants or dropping the silent 'e'. For any regular verb, check which of the three rules from above list apply. With some practice and recall, you will quickly remember which rule applies to the regular verbs. Another suggestion is to read a lot. Seeing words in their correct form helps reinforce the right spelling.

Basic Rules for Adding -ed – Conclusion

The -ed suffix, though seemingly simple, has its intricacies. By understanding its rules and exceptions, learners can navigate the waters of past tense verbs with ease. There is an adding suffixes worksheet to help you get more practice, and see what different root words to add suffixes to there are!

Basic Rules for Adding -ed – Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't all verbs take the -ed ending in the past tense?
How do I pronounce the -ed ending of "watched"?
Are there exceptions to the doubling consonant rule before -ed?
How can I remember the difference between regular and irregular verbs?
Can I use the -ed ending with adjectives?
What are some common mistakes made by learners with the -ed ending?
1 comment
1 comment
  1. Very nice

    From Izzabella, over 1 year ago

Adding Suffixes to Root Words (-ed) exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Adding Suffixes to Root Words (-ed).
  • What is the past tense verb?

    Hints

    The image provides an example of how to use the rule.

    The image provides another example of how to use the rule.

    Solution

    The sentence uses this rule:

    • You need to double the final consonant (p) and add -ed
    • The past tense of skip is skipped

    Coco and Pip skipped to the shopping centre.

  • Complete the sentences.

    Hints

    The image provides an example of how to use the rule in the first sentence.

    The image provides an example of how to use the rule in the second sentence.

    Solution

    The first sentence uses this rule: Verb ends with a vowel before y, keep the y and add -ed.

    • You need to keep the y and add -ed
    • The past tense of play is played

    The second sentence uses this rule: Verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed.

    • You need to double the final consonant and add -ed
    • The past tense of pop is popped
  • What are the past tense verbs?

    Hints

    • Here is the rule for bake:
    When a verb already ends with an 'e', drop the 'e' and add -ed.

    • Here is the rule for plan:
    When the verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed

    • Here is the rule for try:
    When the verb ends in a consonant then y, replace the y with an i, then add -ed.

    Solution
    • Baked follows this rule:
    When a verb already ends with an 'e', drop the 'e' and add -ed.
    • Planned follows this rule:
    When a verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed.
    • Tried follows this rule:
    When a verb ends in a consonant then y, replace the y with an i, then add -ed.
  • Using suffixes.

    Hints

    Here is an example of a rule:

    • walk --> walked uses this rule:
    • Verb ends in two consonants, add -ed

    Here is another example:

    • annoy --> annoyed uses this rule:
    • Verb ends with a vowel before y, keep the y and add -ed

    Here is another example of a rule:

    • stop --> stopped uses this rule:
    • Verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed
    Solution
    • jumped uses this rule:
    • Verb ends in two consonants, add -ed
    • planned uses this rule:
    • Verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed
    • excited uses this rule:
    • Verb already end in an e, drop the e and add -ed
    • enjoyed uses this rule:
    • Verb ends with a vowel before y, keep the y and add -ed
  • Verb tenses.

    Hints

    Here is an example of adding the suffix -ed to a word:

    • We hopped over the hole.
    • Which tense does hopped use?

    Did it happen in the past (before now), present (right now) or future (after now)?

    Solution

    Verbs are changed to past tense by adding the suffix -ed.

  • Past tense verbs.

    Hints

    Here are the first two rules:

    • Rule 1: Verb ends in two consonants, add -ed.
    • Rule 2: Verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed.

    Here are the next three rules:

    • Rule 3: Verb already ends with an e, drop the e and add -ed.
    • Rule 4: Verb ends with a vowel before y, keep the y and add -ed.
    • Rule 5: Verb ends in a consonant then y, replace the y with an i, then add -ed.

    Here is an example:

    (enjoy) I enjoyed the ride.

    • The simple past tense of enjoy is enjoyed.
    Solution

    • (try) We tried to buy some ice cream.
    Tried follows this rule: Verb ends in a consonant then y, replace the y with an i, then add -ed.

    • (close) The shop was closed.
    Closed follows this rule: Verb already ends in an e, drop the e and add -ed.

    • (hop) Pip fell on the ground because he hopped so high.
    Hopped follows this rule: Verb ends in a short vowel sound and a single consonant, double the final consonant and add -ed.

    • (help) Coco helped him up.
    Helped follows this rule: Verb ends in two consonants, add -ed.