4

The "bating" in "combating" is pronounced the exact same way as "batting". It doesn't make sense to me.

  • 3
    Combatting is spelled with two t's in British English. – Charl E Mar 24 '16 at 5:20
  • 1
    Bating (with a bat) would need to be disambiguated from bating (to set a trap), but with com in front of it, it needs nothing more. – Jim Mar 24 '16 at 5:41
  • 1
    @Jim - I never heard of bating a trap (baiting, yes), but I'm no hunter. – anongoodnurse Mar 24 '16 at 6:16
  • Have you seen English Language Learners? It's a great site for basic questions about the English language. – anongoodnurse Mar 24 '16 at 6:17
  • @medica- you are so right... If I'd come at that word from a different direction I would have known that.. let's go with "fluttering of a birds wings from fear or in an attempt to escape" instead. – Jim Mar 24 '16 at 6:36
4

Generally, if the base ends in a single consonant represented by a single consonant letter, the letter is doubled before suffixes beginning with a vowel, subject though to the base being stressed on its final syllable. Monosyllabic bases do of course have the stress on the final syllable and hence always satisfy that requirement: "fat"/"fatt.er"/"fatt.est" ; "bat"/ "batt.ed"/"batt.ing"and so on.

But the verb "combat" can be stressed on either syllable so the suffixed forms are spelled with or without doubling: "combated"/"combatted"; "combating"/"combatting".

2

Normally consonant doubling (CD) occurs after short stressed vowels, and after long stressed vowels + r (-ar/er/or/ur) as in to prefer, preferred, to star/starring, but to stare/staring.

CD with unstressed syllables is a kind of grey area. It occurs regularly after -el as in to travel, BrE travelling, AmE traveling, and after -al as in to signal, BrE signalling, AmE signaling.

Sometimes it occurs after p as in to kidnap/kidnapping, to worship/worshipping, but not in to develop/developing.

Unstressed syllables ending with -t normally have no CD. But to combat is a special case. Pons has to combat and combatting/combating. Perhaps the CD is occasional in analogy to to bat/batting. Oald, Collins, McMillan don't mention CD.

  • 1
    The verb "to combat" may be pronounced with stress on the second syllable. I assume that is why some dictionaries list the forms with consonant doubling. The vowels "ar/er/or/ur" are only long vowels phonetically; in the writing system, they are treated as short vowels followed by a consonant. With "kidnapping" and "worshipping," I'm not sure if the "p" is as relevant as the secondary stress. "Programming" also has consonant doubling and secondary stress on the last syllable. But from this point of view, it is odd that "combat" doesn't have doubling. – sumelic Mar 24 '16 at 10:31
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    Maybe people for some reason perceive "kidnap" and "worship" as compound words. There are derivatives of "kidnap" like "dognap." In English compounds, it seems like we often have CD even when the last syllable doesn't have the primary stress (e.g. "bullshitting"). – sumelic Mar 24 '16 at 10:49
0

Re combating vs combatting, Have not seen reference to fact that as a noun "combat" has stress on first syllable and as verb on second syllable, which is why the t should be doubled in combatting, Maybe BE doesn't distinguish difference?

  • BillJ's answer mentions this possibility. – sumelic Jan 13 '17 at 20:20

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