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Re: English: no rule for making "ing" verbs?

On 12/07/2017 04:45 PM, David E. Ross wrote:
On 12/7/2017 3:33 PM, Balaco wrote:
In English, is there a rule for knowing when we need or not to duplicate
the last letter of a verb, when writing it in the present participle?

Begin => beginning
Know => knowing

Every now and then I miss them. And the rule for this, that I learned in
scholl, is: "if the last letter is consonant, duplicate it". But I found
many exceptions for that, so I basically know this rule as something
that does not work. When I need it to be correct and have some doubt, I
use a dictionary - but that is a pain to do, if for everything I write,
and also sometimes unfeasible.

Unfortunately, there is no rule that is absolute.  In general, the last
letter is doubled if it is a consonant AND the letter before it is a

And: An e after a consonant makes the preceding vowel say its name: name, game, rate, rite, (pay no attention to "right", which seems wrong no matter how you look at it), etc. I would suppose that that rule works both ways -- a long vowel preceding the consonant requires an e after it. If the preceding vowel is short, the consonant is doubled.

Many of the rules depend on which language a word was stolen from. I think 'right' came from the German 'richtig' which is pronounced "ree<strangle sound>..."

FWIW, my English teacher told us that Chaucer's middle English was pronounced according to German pronunciation rules. Good to know if you're ever called upon to recite.

However, your own example with "know" versus "knowing" shows
that this rule is not absolute.

I am a native speaker of English, born in California to parents who were
born in Chicago (all in the U.S.).  I have spoken English, written it,
and read it for over 70 years.  Yet I must often refer to a dictionary
or spell-checker to determine if I have written a word correctly.

I never used to have to use a dictionary, but more and more I see words that, even though correct, just "don't look right" and I have to check. My command of grammar is still good, but I see more and more argument possibilities with certain constructions.

Just another nasty consequence of growing up :-(

Cheers, Bev
   "I love to go down to the schoolyard  and watch all the
    little children jump up and down and run around yelling and
    screaming...They don't know I'm only using blanks."   --Emo

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