Same with "bleeding" and "bleedding". We say "swimming", so why not "bleedding"?

closed as too broad by tchrist, Kris, Ronan, user66974, Chenmunka Sep 16 '14 at 10:31

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    There's no predicting English spelling (orthography). Don't bother trying. Just get a good dictionary and find inner peace. – Dan Bron Sep 16 '14 at 0:29
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    @DanBron I feel this is overstating the matter to the point of misrepresenting it. We do have rules for many of these things, and it verges on disingenuous to pretend otherwise. That’s why even if you had never heard of—or seen written about—a lapelled shirt with a stiffened collar made of some circumducing material whose garlicky aroma is so strong that it jellies your knees, you’d still be sure that all those must be spelled correctly because that’s the way the morphology works. Each demonstrates a little subrule that is regular in its own right, and which is fully predictable. – tchrist Sep 16 '14 at 4:05
  • @tchrist, you don't need to convince me that English orthography has rules (I am already convinced), you have to convince our guest here who is learning English as a second language, and those who come after him. Generally speaking, they'll be a more skeptical audience. The decision to engage with their questions in sufficent, satisfactory detail, or advise them to take it as it is, is, of course, a personal one. – Dan Bron Sep 16 '14 at 4:09
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    This question may perhaps be asked on English Language Learners – Kris Sep 16 '14 at 5:53
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    @DanBron "There's no predicting English spelling:" Not so. At least in this case, there's a clear logical explanation. It's overly simple to see here. – Kris Sep 16 '14 at 5:55

English orthography, while far from exhaustively consistent, can explain these constructions.

Produce has a long U, indicated by the silent E at the end. Adding a C in the suffix -ing (produccing) would indicate a short U. Also, while a C followed by an E, I, or Y is softened to an S sound, the first of a double C is usually pronounced as K (as in succeed) regardless of the softening of the second C. So produccing would sound like "pro-DUCK-sing" /pro ˈdʌk sɪŋ/.

Swim has a short I, since no vowel comes after it to lengthen it. When the suffix -ing is added, an additional M is necessary, or else the first I is lengthened (i.e. swiming would be pronounced "SWYE-ming" /ˈswaɪ mɪŋ/).

Bleed has a long E, indicated by a double E (you can think of it as the first E being lengthened by the second silent E). Adding -ing does not change the pronunciation of the original, no no additions are necessary.

As a general rule, when you add -ing to a verb, the result should be spelled so that the verb root is pronounced the same as before you added the suffix.

  • I... don't think the swimming theory is entirely true. I mean, you already can imagine that swim is pronounced "swye-m" like in dice. Adding an additional m doesn't seem to add real value in how you pronounce it – Raestloz Sep 16 '14 at 2:31
  • @Raestloz: No - if swim were pronounced "swye-m" like in dice, it would probably be spelled swime (or swyme). – FumbleFingers Sep 16 '14 at 2:49
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    @Raestloz If you're familiar with the Ghostbusters franchise, or the Nickelodeon television network, you'll note that "to slime" is to dump slime on someone, and that doing is called "sliming". You're right that English spelling doesn't always make sense, but there are quite predictable patterns, and this is a case where the pattern isn't broken. – Joshua Taylor Sep 16 '14 at 3:40
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    There is absolutely no word in English that ends in ∗-ccing because that combination does not and “cannot” occur. Putative ∗produccing is wrong because if there actually were a verb spelled “to produc” (although there is not), then it would have to become producked and producky and producking when those suffixes were applied. That’s because (those few) words in English which end in bare -c (rather than -ck) mandatorily add a k before they gain any inflection beginning with an e, an i, or a y. Bivouacked, havocking, demosaicked, picnicky, etc. – tchrist Sep 16 '14 at 4:19
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    @tchrist: You may not like the "word" (I've no idea), but I don't see how you can deny the existence of "speccing". To me, a short form of specifying (computer system requirements, etc.) - but I see from the first of several hundred Google Books results there that in the world of lawyers, it's also slang/jargon for working on a speculative basis (no win, no fee). – FumbleFingers Sep 16 '14 at 12:20

I am not sure if this is official English rule, but it exists and it is called a C-V-C rule - Consonant-Vowel-Consonant: when the last three letters of the verb form a CVC then you need to duplicate the last letter before adding the suffix. Let see your examples.

  • Bleed - VVC - no doubling
  • Swim - CVC - double 'm'

Remember not to apply this rule for suffixes starting with a consonant, for example if you form an adjective with -ful or -less, e.g.

  • RegreTTing, but not regreTTful
  • This doesn't explain the CVC "produce", though. We don't say "produccing". – Daniel Sep 16 '14 at 0:52
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    because prodUCE ends in VCV not CVC. Even with this being correct, I am not completely sure that there are no exceptions to this rule. – Arsen Y.M. Sep 16 '14 at 0:55
  • That's true. At best, any "rule" we can cite is just an approximation of what already exists, and only secondarily a determinant. – Daniel Sep 16 '14 at 1:00
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    Good rule! I don't remember ever hearing it phrased exactly that way before. ... ... I seem to recall seeing a (short) list of exceptions just a few weeks ago -- it may even have been on this site -- but it may have been in a comment, as I can't find it now. I do recall one of them, though: "worshiping" (although "worshipping" may also be acceptable). – Scott Sep 16 '14 at 1:56
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    In England, worshiping is the preferred spelling, with worshipping an acceptable alternative; it's the other way around in the US. Brits using travelling while Americans use traveling. On both sides of the pond we use focusing, visiting, developing, and galloping. – David Hammen Sep 16 '14 at 2:16

The first rule for consonant doubling is that the simple vowels a e i o u are stressed and spoken short as in fat fatter, get getting, sit sitting, hop hopping, put putting, and shut shutting.

The logic of this rule is clear. Since English drops the final mute -e as in to hope, when you add an ending such as -ing you should spell it hoping and NOT hopeing. So with consonant doubling of one single consonsant after a simple stressed and short vowel we can distinguish hoping (to hope) from hopping (to hop).

This rule does not apply when stressed vowels are spoken long as in "to feel" (feeling) or if you have two consonants.

There is a second rule for consonant doubling: after long vowels, compare "to star", starring and "to stare", staring.

The third rule concerns simple final consonants in unstressed syllables. Compare "to travel", travelling (BrE). AmE doesn't observe this rule and spells it traveling.

A good grammar should have the rules for consonant doubling.

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