Master that spelling forever: Drop or retain the last 'e' in a word

Commonly, the last letter ‘e’ in a word is dropped when the word changes tense or, for another part of speech (parts of speech are nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and etcetera).

Commonly, the last letter ‘e’ in a word is dropped when the word changes tense or, for another part of speech (parts of speech are nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and etcetera).

The word ‘hope’ drops the ‘e’ in hoping; ‘e’ is also dropped in ‘driving’ from ‘drive’, ‘taste’ also drops the last ‘e’ in tasting and many more.

Such spelling changes do not just happen; there are spelling rules that govern last letter ‘e’ and if you master the rules you can never be confused again.

The general rule for dropping the ‘e’ is that if a word ends in silent ‘e’, drop the ‘e’ when adding any suffix that begins with a vowel (remember a suffix is the ending which is added to a word and a vowel is one of the letters such as ‘a e i o u’).

The examples are such as the ones we have seen above, for example, ‘write’ drops the ‘e’ when changing to ‘writing’ or ‘come’ to ‘coming’, ‘desire’ to ‘desirable’, ‘advise’ to ‘advisory’, ‘close’ to ‘closure’.

But when the letters behind the silent ‘e’ are ‘c’ or ‘g’ and the suffix does not begin with ‘i’ or ‘e’, the root word maintains the ‘e’. For example, ‘e’ is dropped in ‘managing’ (from manage) because of the suffix that begins with ‘i’ (ing) but retains the ‘e’ in ‘manageable’ because the suffix does not begin with ‘i’ or ‘e’.

Notice also that ‘notice’ loses the ‘e’ in ‘noticing’ but is retained in ‘noticeable’.

The ‘e’ is also maintained when the suffix begins with a consonant (all other English alphabetic letters apart from the vowels).

For example, when changing ‘hope’ to ‘hopeful’, ‘blame’ to ‘blameless’, ‘sincere’ to ‘sincerely’, ‘polite’ to ‘politeness’, etc.

But when the suffix with begins with consonant ‘y’, ‘e’ is dropped because letter ‘y’ sounds like a vowel.

This is why ‘noise’ drops the ‘e’ in ‘noisy’, ‘ease’ in ‘easy’, ‘bone’ in ‘bony’, ‘smoke’ in ‘smoky’, ‘juice’ in ‘juicy’, and etcetera.

The only exception in this rule is ‘mate’ which retains the ‘e’ in ‘matey’.

The ‘e’ is also dropped when it is preceded by ‘u’ to form ‘ue’ in a word. For example, ‘true’ drops the ‘e’ in ‘truth’, ‘continue’ in ‘continuing’ or ‘continuity’, ‘argue’ in ‘arguing’ or ‘argument’, etcetera.

The ‘e’ is also maintained when the word ends in ‘ee’, ‘oe’ or ‘ye’ such as in ‘flee (fleeing)’, ‘see (seeing)’, ‘canoe (canoeing)’, ‘dye (dyeing)’, etcetera.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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