• 2-minute read
  • 30th October 2012

Spelling Tips: When to Drop the Letter ‘E’

One of the most common spelling mistakes concerns the letter ‘e’. When a word ends with an ‘e’, we sometimes drop it when adding a suffix (e.g. ‘-ing’). This article will explain when it is necessary to drop the letter ‘e’ and when to keep it.

When to Drop the Final ‘E’ in a Word

When a suffix that begins with a vowel (e.g. -ous, -able, -ing) is added to a word that ends with the letter ‘e’, we usually drop the final letter. For example:

fame famous

quote quotable

shave shaving

However, when a word ends with -oe, -ye or -ee, the final ‘e’ is not left out:

agree agreeing

canoe canoeist

And for this rule, ‘y’ counts as a vowel suffix (e.g. Ice → Icy or Laze Lazy).

There are also some words where the ‘e’ is optional when it comes before the suffixes ‘-age’ or ‘-able’. For example:

move mov(e)able

like lik(e)able

However, even when two spellings are accepted, one may be more common. For example, ‘likeable’ occurs much more in British English than in American English.

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As such, you may want to check which spelling is more common in the dialect you are using when writing for a specific audience.

When to Keep the Final ‘e’:

The letter ‘e’ is not usually dropped when it comes before a suffix that begins with a consonant. For example:

definite definitely

tune tuneful

close closeness

There is an exception to this rule, which is when a word ends with ‘ue’. For example:

argue argument

Nor do we drop the ‘e’ when adding a suffix that begins with an ‘o’ or an ‘a’ in words that end in ‘ce’ or ‘ge’. For example:

courage courageous

manage manageable

We hope that you have found this article useful. However, if you struggle to remember these rules, you should get your essay proofread by the experts.

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