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English Vocabulary

Doubling final consonants

The final consonant of a word is sometimes doubled before adding
–ed, -er, -est, -ing, -able, -y (or any ending that begins with a vowel).

stop – stopped
sit – sitting
big – bigger

Which consonants are doubled?

We double the following letters.

b: rub – rubbing
d: sad – saddened, sadder, saddening
g: big – bigger
l: travel – travelling
m: slim – slimming
n: win – winning
p: stop – stopped
r: prefer – preferred
t: sit – sitting


We only double consonants that come at the end of the word.


hop – hopping
hope – hoping
fat – fatter
late – later

We only double the final consonant when the word ends in a vowel + consonant.

fat – fatter
fast – faster
bet – betting
beat – beating

We only double final consonants in stressed syllables. We do not double final consonants in longer words that end in unstressed syllables.

up’ set – up’ setting
‘visit – ‘visiting
be’ gin – be’ ginning
‘open –opening

In British English, we double –l at the end of a word after one vowel letter, even in unstressed syllables.

‘travel – travelling
‘equal – equalled

In American English, words like this are normally spelt with one l: traveling


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