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Activity 3

6 Minute Vocabulary

Words with double letters

Spelling in English can be hard, and one of the trickiest areas is double letters. Is the place where you stay acommodation, accomodation or accommodation? That's what we're looking at in this programme, and we have good news - there are some special techniques to help you remember how to spell all those difficult words!

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Catherine
Hello! And welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me, Catherine…

Finn
…and me Finn. In this programme, we’re looking at spelling.

Catherine
And the area of spelling we’re looking at today is words with double letters.

Finn
Let’s start by listening to David. He’s a student welfare officer at a university. He’s welcoming a new student to the campus.

Catherine
And while you listen to David, here’s a question for you.

Finn
What word means: the rooms, flats and houses that people live in? Here’s David.

INSERT
David
Congratulations on getting a place at our university. It’s a brilliant opportunity and I’m sure that you will be happy and successful here. I’m here to help you find accommodation. We’ve got rooms, flats and houses all over the city, but I recommend that you apply as soon as possible so you’re not disappointed. Here’s a list of addresses.

STING

Catherine
David there. And we asked: what’s the word for rooms, flats and houses that people live in?

Finn
And the answer is: accommodation.

Catherine
It is and accommodation is one of our words with double letters. So, Finn do you spell accommodation?

Finn
a-double c-o-double m-o-d-a-t-i-o-n.

Catherine
Well done, Finn. Now listen to this clip. Which 6 words have double letters?

INSERT 1 CLIP 1   
Congratulations on getting a place at our University. It’s a brilliant opportunity and I’m sure that you will be happy and successful here! 

Finn
So we had getting – with double t, brilliant with double l, opportunity with double p, will with double l, and also happy with double p and successful – with double c and double s.

Catherine
Correct! Let's take a look at some spelling rules. The first rule is about verbs. If the final three letters of a verb are consonant, vowel, consonant, we double the final consonant before we add i-n-g or e-d. So get, spelt g-e-t becomes getting with double t, and begin ends in g-i-n so it becomes beginning with double n. Now our next rule is to do with short vowel sounds. Finn can you demonstrate some short vowel sounds please?

Finn
a, o, i, e, a, u...

Catherine
Fantastic. That's enough, thank you. And now some long vowel sounds?

Finn
u, e, a, ei...

Catherine
Ok, so, when there is a short vowel sound before a consonant, like a in happy, we often double the consonant after it. The short a in happy gives us a double p. The short o in opportunity gives us another double p, the short i in brilliant gives us double l.

Finn
And this can happen more than once in the same word. So in the word successful, we get u double c and e double s, and in accommodation we get a double c and o double m. Easy!

Catherine
Exactly. And lots of short words like summer, coffee and apple and will follow this general rule.

Finn
So let’s listen to another clip and put this general rule to the test. Listen carefully…

INSERT 1 CLIP 2
But I recommend that you apply as soon as possible so you’re not disappointed. Here’s a list of addresses

Catherine
So: following the rule, we’ve got recommend with o double m, possible with o double s and disappointed with a double p.

IDENT          
6 Minute Vocabulary from BBC Learning English

Catherine
And we’re talking about words with double letters.

Finn
Right, quiz time! Number one: Is there a double n in the verb happening?

Catherine
No, there isn’t.

Finn
Well done! Number two: Are there any double letters in the word immediately?

Catherine
Yes, there’s a double m.  

Finn
Very good! Number three: Which of these words have a double c? occasion, accident, succeed?

Catherine
And the answer is – they all do! They all have a short vowel sound followed by a double c. That's a Finn trick question.

Finn
It was indeed. And that’s the end of the quiz. You’re brilliant with double l if you got all of those questions right!

Catherine
And now here’s a top tip for vocabulary learning. If you’re struggling to learn the spelling of a word, get a keyboard and type it a hundred times. Your fingers might learn the spelling more quickly than your brain! What do you think Finn – would that work for you?  

Finn
My fingers are much quicker than my brain, Catherine! It's a good idea, a very good tip. There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again soon for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Bye!

Download

You can download 6 Minute Vocabulary from our Unit 30 downloads page (size: 14.1MB). Remember to subscribe to our podcast version!

Vocabulary points to take away

For verbs ending in a consonant, vowel, consonant like get and begin double the final consonant before –ing and –ed:

I’ve stopped sitting in the sun because it’s beginning to get too hot.

BUT If the final syllable of the verb is not stressed, don’t double the consonant:

They’ve been listening to what’s happened on the news.

When there is a short vowel sound before a consonant, we often double the consonant:

He sent me a message asking me to collect him at the station.

BUT this is only a general guide, so you need a technique for learning how to spell these words:

Cheerful Charlie and Mad Mary share accommodation.

End of Session 1

And that's it for this session. We hope you've learned some useful new vocabulary. In the next session we meet some incredible people and animals who can live in tough conditions, like the heat of the desert.

 

Session Vocabulary

  • Here are some of the words with double letters from the programme:

    getting
    brilliant 
    opportunity
    happy
    successful
    accommodation
    recommend
    apply
    possible
    disappointed
    addresses