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The Final y Spelling Rule

Final y Spelling Rule

The Final y Spelling Rule

The Final Spelling Rule drives people crazy. I just typed in “final y spelling rule” into Google and 40,300,000 searches came back, so if you searched the same, you are not alone.

That final is one of the most adaptable letters. Of course you all remember that the vowels are a, e, i, o, and u…plus sometimes y. This “sometimes y” is true because, by definition, every English syllable has a vowel sound, and when follows a consonant at the end of a syllable or serves as the syllable itself, it produces the long /i/ vowel sound (when accented) or long /e/ vowel sound (when unaccented). Examples: by/pass, ba/by

Also, some words have in the middle of a syllable and it is pronounced as a short /i/ vowel sound. Examples: gym, mys/tic

However, the final spelling at the end of the syllable, when adding on a suffix, is the spelling that bothers most writers. When do you keep the and when do you drop it before adding on the suffix?


The Final y Spelling Rule

Keep the y when adding an ending if the word ends in a vowel, then a y (delay-delayed), or if the ending begins with an i (copy-copying). Change the y to i when adding an ending if the word ends in a consonant, then a y (pretty-prettiest).

Exceptions to the rule: daily, dryly, dryness, paid, said, shyly, shyness, slyly, slyness

Check out the song! The Final y Spelling Rule

Hickory Dickory Y

The Clock Struck One

(to the tune of “Hickory Dickory Dock”)

If a root ends in a vowel,

Hickory, dickory dock,

And after that a y.

The mouse ran up the clock.

Just keep the y—and then said I,

The clock struck one—the mouse ran down,

“Add on the suffix to end.”

Hickory dickory dock.

But if a consonant then

Hickory, dickory dock,

A y should end a word,

The mouse ran up the clock.

Just change the y into an i

The clock struck two—the mouse ran down,

Except if the suffix has i.

Hickory dickory dock.


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