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 Spelling and pronunciation
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Zully Ramirez-Gamboa, who is following the business English Internet course "Click here for English", wants to know about rules for pronunciation.

For example: 'Words of one syllable, ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, double the final consonant before a suffix beginning with a vowel. run -ing; running; big-est; biggest'

If the word ends with two or more consonants, or if the final consonant is preceded by two vowels instead of one, the rule does not apply: debt-or: debtor; yard-age: yardage; swear-ing: swearing. I would like to know other rules, because I will have an oral exam.

Roger replies:more questions
You raise two issues, Zully: spelling and pronunciation. Pronunciation in the stem syllable doesn’t change when the final consonant is doubled as in ‘run - running’, ‘big - bigger’, or ‘shop - shopping’. The doubling of the consonant is important. If the past tense forms of ‘shop’ were spelt ‘shoped’ or ‘shoping’ instead of ‘shopped’ or ‘shopping’ , they would have the same vowel sound as ‘hoped’ or ‘hoping’, and this would be confusing: ‘shoping in the supermarket’, rather than ‘shopping in the supermarket’.
In verbs like 'swear' or 'shout' or 'shoot', the two vowels together produce either a diphthong or a long vowel sound and it is therefore unnecessary to double the consonant in the past tense or past participial form.
Beware exceptions to the rule, though. Thus, while: 'He trailed her by five minutes' would be the norm, if we reverse the 'i' and the 'a' to produce ‘trial’ and we talk about trialling (= testing or piloting) an exam, then the 'l' is doubled, at least in British English: ‘We trialled the exam in South America.’

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