I keep on finding exceptions that doesn't fit into the rule that a grammar book suggests. One of them is about changing regular verbs to past simple. It says, if the verb ends in a vowel + a consonant, you double the consonant and add -ed. i.g. stop > stopped, plan > planned, mop > mopped.

However, I found 'play' also ends in a vowel + a consonant, still it doesn't double the consonant. Same as 'slow' and 'screw'. I recently learned about syllables, and 'y' at the end of word is considered to be a vowel too, not as a consonant. I wonder if these are the similar cases.

closed as unclear what you're asking by RegDwigнt Oct 26 '14 at 16:28

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  • You're noticing that diphthongs (ay, oo, oh) are addressed the same as normal vowels? Interesting. – SrJoven Oct 26 '14 at 16:07
  • As Kris says, none of the words end in a consonant. Slow and screw end in a vowel, and play ends in a glide. So they don't break the rule. More to the point, a random rule in an unspecified book is under no obligation to be exhaustive or indeed at all correct. And orthography has nothing to do with grammar anyway (there is not a single letter in speech). – RegDwigнt Oct 26 '14 at 16:33
  • The "rule" as explained here (it's not exhaustive but as an introduction, it's good enough) speakspeak.com/resources/english-grammar-rules/… – Mari-Lou A Oct 26 '14 at 16:46
  • Normally the rule you refer to is formulated as " after a stressed, short vowel a single consonant is doubled ..." – rogermue Oct 26 '14 at 18:46

None of the words mentioned ends in a "consonant sound." So, that explains, I guess.


Yes, w, like y is a consonant with vowel-like properties (a semi-vowel, so to speak); at the end of a word, it does not get doubled. In fact, you will rarely see it doubled.

We were wowed by his raw talent. The teacher cowed the students. They slowed down the traffic. He mowed the lawn.

They had a pow-wow.


"Y" and "w" are never doubled. With two syllables or more e.g. "omit" where the final syllable is stressed, the rule also applies, but in e.g. "prohibit", where it is not, the "t" is not doubled. There is a difference between words ending in "L" where British English always doubles the "L" but American English does not unless it conforms to the rules above.

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