Spelling: Suffixes and 'e'

If an original word ends in a final e, as in manage,adding a suffix will sometimes require that you drop the final e in the root word.

  • Drop the final e: managing
  • Keep the final e: management

How do you know when to drop the final e?

First, consider the following examples, which either drop or keep the final e.

  • careless (keep)
  • careful (keep)
  • caring (drop)
  • cared (drop)
  • courageous (keep)
  • noticeable (keep)
  • noticing (drop)

Now take a look at the rules.

Rules

  1. Keep the e:
    1. if the suffix starts with a consonant;
    2. if the root word ends in −ge or −ce (e.g. courage) and the suffix starts with an o or an a (courage + −ouscourageous); or
    3. if the base form ends in −oe or −ee, unless the suffix begins with an e (to avoid a triple eee!).
  2. Otherwise, drop the final e.

Do the examples below follow the rules we’ve laid out?

  • manageable
  • serviceable
  • serviced
  • seeing
  • canoeing
  • freed

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