Verb -ing Spelling Changes (Continuous Tenses)

With the continuous (progressive) tenses as there are some -ing spelling changes so you need to be careful. Let's look at these changes in detail.

Verb-ing Spelling Changes:  Verbs that end with one -e

For verbs that end with one -e, drop the -e and add -ing.  Note that these verbs the -e sound  at the end is silent. (e.g., believe, bake, take, move).

  • achieve — achieving        
  • mate — mating        
  • live — living        
  • take — taking      
  • strike — striking
  • bike — biking
  • make — making
  • have  — having
  • dance — dancing


With verbs ending with a long -e sound, add -ing as you normally would:

  • see — seeing
  • be — being
  • flee — fleeing
  • agree — agreeing

Spelling:  Short one-syllable verbs ending in CVC

If the verb has one syllable and ends with CVC (a consonant + vowel + consonant), we double the final consonant before adding the -ing ending:

  • sit — sitting      
  • get — getting       
  • pet — petting    
  • plan — planning     
  • run — running  
  • put   — putting
  • stop — stopping
  • trim — trimming
  • win  — winning

Spelling: verbs ending in w, x and y

Notice these verbs end in CVC (consonant vowel consonant). However, do not double the consonant for verbs that end in w, x or y.

  • blow — glowing       
  • row — rowing     
  • plow — plowing      
  • stay — staying       
  • tax — taxing

Spelling:  Two or more syllable verbs

When verbs ending in ending in CVC (consonant vowel consonant) have two or more syllables, double the last consonant if the last syllable is stressed.

  • begin — beginning (be / GIN = the last syllable is stressed)
  • forget  — forgetting (for / GET = the last syllable is stressed)
  • upset — upsetting
  • regret — regretting
  • prefer  — preferring
  • admit  — admitting

However, when the last syllable is not stressed, just add -ing as usual.

  • benefit — benefiting ( be / NE / fit  = second syllable is stressed not  the last)
  • happen — happening (HAPP / en = first syllable is stressed not  the last)
  • open — opening
  • listen — listening
  • shiver  — shivering

Spelling:  Verbs ending in -ie

If a verb ends in -ie change 'ie' to 'y' then add -ing.

  • die — dying   
  • lie — lying  
  • tie — tying  

Click here to learn how to form  the present continuous, past continuous, future continuous, present perfect continuous, past perfect continuous and future perfect continuous tenses.

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