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The Final e Spelling Rule

The silent final at the end of a syllable is a holdover from Middle English. It sometimes serves three purposes.

  1. For one, it usually indicates that the preceding vowel will be a long sound if a single consonant, but not a double consonant, is placed between the vowel and the e. Examples: stove, gazelle
  2. It also ends English words ending in and Examples: pave, argue
  3. Lastly, the final softens the preceding /c/ and /g/ sounds. Examples: nice, cage

    Silent Final e Phonics

    Silent Final e Sound-Spellings

Yes, there are plenty of exceptions which must be memorized. Most of the exceptions are high frequency words. In fact the top 100 non-phonetic words, in terms of frequency, include 8 of them: were, where, there, some, come, gone, sure, lose

However, the single syllable silent final words are not the spelling problem for most students. It’s the multi-syllabic words in which as suffix is added on the ending silent final e that creates the spelling challenges, so that’s what the following spelling rule addresses.

Final Silent e Spelling Rule

Final e Spelling Rule

The Final e Spelling Rule

Drop the e (have-having) at the end of a syllable if the ending begins with a vowel. Keep the e (close-closely) when the ending begins with a consonant, has a soft /c/ or /g/ sound, then an “able” or “ous” (peaceable, courageous), or if it ends in “ee”, “oe”, or “ye” (freedom, canoeing, eyeing).

Exceptions to the rule: acknowledgment, acreage, argument, awful, duly, judgment, mileage, ninth, noticeable, outrageous, simply, truly, wisdom

Check out the Chant! The Final e Spelling Rule

Final e Memory Chant

Drop the final e

When adding on an ending

If it starts with a vowel up front.

Keep the final e

When adding on an ending

If it starts with a consonant.

Also keep the e

When you hear soft c or g

Before “able” or “o-u-s”

Mostly keep the e

When the ending is “y-e”,

“e-e”, or even “o-e”. YEO!

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Want a concise list of all eight conventional spelling rules with corresponding songs? Click HERE.

Want a list of the 10 English Accent Rules to help you teach the conventional spelling rules? Click HERE.

Want a list of the 20 Advanced Syllable Rules to help you teach the conventional spelling rules? Click HERE.

Want the 104-word Diagnostic Spelling Assessment with audio file and recording matrix? Click HERE and download at the end of the article.

One great way to practice the rule is with worksheets targeted to the results of the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment. Download the FREE Double the Consonant Spelling Pattern Worksheets at the end of this article to help you check out the quality of Our Pennington Publishing spelling programs. Each worksheet sound-spelling example words, a spelling sort, rhymes or book searches, word jumbles, a short writing application, and a brief formative dictations assessment.

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