Spelling -ED Ending Rules

English Grammar


The following is a guide to the correct spelling of words ending -ED.

Remember: Not all words that end in -ED are verbs in the past tense. Sometimes they are Past Participles or they could even be Adjectives ending in -ED. For now we will mostly use verbs in the Past Tense as examples though the same rules apply to all words ending in -ED

The general rule when changing a word (or verb) into its -ED form is just to add -ED to the end of it.

Infinitive ED form
to play played
to wait waited
to work worked
to rain rained

Spelling Exceptions

The following exceptions exist when spelling words ending in ED:

1). If a word ends in an E we just add the D to the end.

Infinitive ED form
to live lived
to love loved
to smile smiled
to dance danced

2). If the word ends in a Consonant + Vowel + Consonant, we double the final consonant and add ED.

Infinitive ED form
to stop stopped
to admit admitted
to plan planned
to refer referred
to commit committed

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 ED form
to happen happened
to enter entered
to offer offered
to suffer suffered

4). BUT, we DO NOT double the final consonant when the word ends in W, X or Y or when the final syllable is not stressed.

Infinitive ED form
to fix fixed
to enjoy enjoyed
to snow snowed

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

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

Infinitive ED form
(UK)
ED form
(US)
to travel travelled traveled
to marvel marveled marveled


Next activities

Read our guide about the pronunciation of words ending in ED.

See our notes about Adjectives ending in -ED, the Past Tense and Past Participles (which normally end in ED).

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


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