Adding -ed or -ing to a verb

We normally add -ing to a verb to form its present participle, and -ed to to form its regular simple past. When doing this, we sometimes double the last letter of the verb, as in these examples:

• refer ⇒ referred, referring

refered
refering

• stop ⇒ stopped, stopping

stoped
stoping

Sometimes, we don’t double the last letter, as with the verb visit:

• visit ⇒ visited, visiting

visitted
visitting

So when can we double a consonant before -ed or -ing to a verb exactly? Take a look at the table below:

    When to double a consonant before adding –ed and –ing to a verb
We double the final letter when a one-syllable verb ends inconsonant + vowel + consonant.* stop, rob, sit stopping, stopped, robbing, robbed, sitting
We double the final letter when a word has more than one syllable, and when the final syllable is stressed in speech. beGIN, preFER beginning, preferring, preferred
If the final syllable is notstressed, we do not double the final letter. LISten, HAPpen listening, listened, happening, happened


*Exceptions:

• We do not double the final letter when a word ends in two consonants: 
start – starting, started; burn – burn, burned.

• We do not double the final letter when two vowels come directly before it:
remain – remaining, remained.

• We do not double w or y at the end of words:
play – playing, played; snow – snowing, snowed.

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