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Verb Forms and Verb Tenses: Verb Forms and Verb Tenses (#8): Spelling Regular Past Forms

Dennis Oliver
Verb Forms and Verb Tenses (#8):

Spelling Regular Past Forms

English verbs have five basic forms: the base form, the - S form,
the ing form, the past form, and the past participle form. There
are two types of past forms--for 
regular and irregular verbs.

The past form of regular verbs ends in - d- ed, or - ied. Here are
some guidelines for spelling.


Add -d to the base form.

This happens when the base form ends in a vowel
one or more consonants plus e:

ached, baked, blamed, breathed, cared, cached,
d. diced, dozed, dyed, edged, fiddled, filed
d, grated, hated, hoped, joked, lived,
d, noted, paced, pasted, raced, raised,
d, spared, surprised, tasted, typed, whined.

This also happens when the base form ends in ue,
oe, or ie:

glued, rued, sued, hoed, toed, died, lied, tied


Change -y to -i and add -ed.

This happens when a verb ends in a consonant

apply / applied; bully / bullied; bury / buried;
carry / carr
ied; copy / copied; cry / cried;
dry / dr
ied; ferry / ferried; fry / fried;
hurry / hurr
ied; marry / married;
parry / parr
ied; pry / pried; query / queried;
rely / rel
ied; tarry / tarried; tidy / tidied;
try / tr
ied; vary / varied; worry / worried

This does not happen when a verb ends in a vowel

annoy / annoyed; bray / brayed; destroy / destroyed;
employ / employed; enjoy / enjoyed;
fray / frayed; gray / grayed; obey / obeyed;
play / played; pray / prayed; prey / preyed;
stay / stayed; stray / strayed; sway / swayed;
toy / toyed

Compare fray / frayed with fry / fried;
pray / prayed , prey / preyed and parry / parried
with pry / pried.


Double the final consonant and add -ed
if there is a single stressed vowel before
the final consonant.

ban / banned; can / canned; hem / hemmed;
mop / mop
ped; pin / pinned; sip / sipped;
trap / trap
ped; wad / wadded; whip / whipped;
compél / compél
led; confér / conférred;
prefér / prefér
red; refér / reférred


Compare cane / caned and can / canned; 
mope / moped and mop / mopped;
pine / pined and pin / pinned;
wade / waded and wad / wadded.

Also compare óffer / óffered and confér / conférred;
trável / tráveled and compél / compélled.

4. Add -ed to the base forms of all other
regular verbs.
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