10

Why is transferred written with two R's? I am a native speaker of Dutch, and in my point of view this isn't logical; there are other words like coloured and endeavoured that only have -ed added after the verb.

17

The verb was borrowed into late Middle English as transferren, either from Old French transfer(r)er or directly from Latin transferre. It was stressed on the second syllable, as it is for many speakers today. Verbs ending in stressed [ɜ:] (non-rhotic varieties) or [ɝ] (rhotic varieties) typically double the final r in forming the past tense and the participles: occur ~ occurred, infer ~ inferred. Transferred is simply following the same rule.

The complete rules for doubling final consonants in this context are complicated and riddled with exceptions; I’ve mentioned only the one that is most relevant to this specific question. In general Middle English stress and vowel length are the most important factors, with doubling tending to occur after stressed short vowels but not after long ones. Of course not all verbs go back to Middle English; those that don’t are generally handled by analogy with those that do.

  • In mathematics one often hears the verb "transfer", "transfer(r)ed" stressed on the first syllable. Does that make the use of "transfered" legitimate? – Mikhail Katz Jan 26 '18 at 8:18

protected by RegDwigнt Dec 11 '13 at 18:33

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.