Spelling - Changing 'y' to 'i': Activity 2 Advanced

Sort the examples into two groups

CHANGE 'Y' to 'I'
merry + -ment → merriment
envy + -able → enviable
obey + -ed → obeyed
deny + -al → denial
annoy + -ance → annoyance
betray + -al → betrayal
rely + -ed → relied
enjoy + -ment → enjoyment
defy + -ance → defiance
employ + -able → employable


  • CHANGE 'Y' TO 'I' GROUP: merry + -ment → merriment, envy + -able → enviable, deny + -al → denial, rely + -ed → relied, defy + -ance → defiance
  • KEEP 'Y' GROUP: obey + -ed → obeyed, annoy + -ance → annoyance, betray + -al → betrayal, enjoy + -ment → enjoyment, employ + -able → employable

When do we change y to i and when do we keep it?

  • If there is a vowel letter before the y in the base word, we keep the y. So we keep the y in combinations like oy, ey, ay, where the two letters together represent a vowel sound.
  • Otherwise, we change y to i.

Did you notice that there are some examples where the same ending behaves differently with different base words?

  • betrayal, denial
  • obeyed, relied

There are numerous examples which obey the ‘keep y after a vowel letter’ part of this rule: stayed, annoyed, prayed ...

However, there are some exceptions to the rule: day → daily, gay → gaily, pay → paid, lay → laid, say → said

(Note that these are short words. The last three are also irregular because they don't end in -ed, so we just have to know the individual spellings.)

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