Spelling Rules for Adding -s and -ing

By Matt Baker email   Updated 8 Jan 2013

The first chart outlines the spelling rules for adding an -s to nouns (to make them plural) as well as to verbs (when used with he/she/it in the simple present). The second chart outlines the spelling rules for adding -ing to verbs (for the continuous tenses).

Adding -s

Types of Words Rule Examples

most words

just add -s

cat = cats
hit = hits
buy = buys

words ending in:
ch, sh, s, ss, x, z, zz, o

add -es

watch = watches
dish = dishes
kiss = kisses
fix = fixes
buzz = buzzes
do = does

words ending in f or fe

drop the -f or -fe and add -ves

shelf = shelves
knife = knives

* some exceptions:

belief = beliefs
roof = roofs

words ending in:
any consonant + y

drop the -y and add -ies

study = studies

have

change to has

have = has

Adding -ing

Types of Words Rule Examples

most words

just add -ing

do = doing
work = working
play = playing

words ending in e

drop the -e and add -ing

dance = dancing
make = making

words ending in ie

drop the -ie and add -ying

die = dying
lie = lying

words ending in a short vowel followed by a single consonant

double the consonant and add -ing

stop = stopping
begin = beginning

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