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Verb Forms and Verb Tenses (#4): Spelling the - S Form, by Dennis Oliver

Verb Forms and Verb Tenses (#4):

Spelling the - S Form

 

English verbs have five basic forms: the base form, the - S form,
the - ing form, the past form, and the past participle form.

The - S form is very commonly used for main verbs and auxiliary
verbs in the
simple present tense when the subject is or means
he, she, or it. The - S form is also very commonly used as a full
(has) or contracted ('s) auxiliary verb in the
present perfect tense
when the subject is or means he, she, or it.

For be, the - S form is is. For have, it is has. For other verbs,
there are three different spellings: -
s, - es, and - ies:

1.  

Add - s to the base form.

This is the most common spelling for the -S form and
is the spelling used for most verbs.

Notice, especially, that - s is added when the base form
ends in one or more consonants + e:

aches, bakes, breathes, cares, caches, dives,
edge
s, fiddles, files, glares, hates, hopes, jokes,
live
s, makes, notes, pastes, races, spares, surprises,
taste
s, types, writes

Notice that - s is also added when the base form ends
in one or more consonants (but without e):

adds, bets, beats, calls, claps, cheats, cleans, digs,
drop
s, eats, fills, finds, fits, gets, grabs, hops, kills,
knit
s, links, lists, means, needs, opens, puts, quits,
rob
s, rings, rips, sends, stops, tells, trusts, voids,
want
s, works, zips

In addition, notice this spelling is used with the small
number of verbs ending in two vowels (including
- ie):

agrees, argues, boos, coos, flees, glues, moos,
see
s, shoos, shoes, tees, woos

dies, lies, ties, vies

     
2.  

Add - es to the base form.

This happens in two situations:

a.  

when the base form ends in the vowel o:

does, goes, soloes

     
b.  

when the base form ends in ss, sh,
(t)ch, zz, and x:

assesses, blesses, caresses, fusses,
kiss
es, misses, passes, tosses;

blushes, dashes, flashes, gnashes,
hush
es, lashes, mashes, pushes, rushes,
splash
es, stashes, washes, wishes;

catches, ditches, etches, flinches,
hitch
es, itches, marches, mooches,
patch
es, reaches, searches,
scratch
es, teaches, touches, watches;

buzzes, fizzes;

boxes, coaxes, faxes, fixes,
relax
es, vexes, waxes.

     
3.  

Change y to i and add - es.

This happens when a verb ends in a consonant + y:

apply / applies; bury / buries;
carry / carr
ies; copy / copies; cry / cries;
dry / dr
ies; fly / flies; fry / fries;
hurry / hurr
ies; marry / marries; pity / pities;
ply / pl
ies; pry / pries; tidy / tidies; try / tries;
worry / worr
ies.

Verbs that end in a vowel + y do not change the y
to i and then add - es, however:

buy / buys; employs / employs; enjoy / enjoys;
flay / flay
s; lay / lays; pay / pays; play / plays;
say / say
s; slay / slays; spray / sprays; stay / stays;
sway / sway
s;

Important:

Compare flay / flays, play / plays, and pray / prays
with fly / fl
ies, ply / plies, and pry / pries to see
how these spelling rules work for verbs ending in
s.

 

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Next:
the -ing form

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