Endings beginning with vowels

The endings -able, -ion, -er, -or, -ance, -ence, -ous, -ish, and -al are generally used to form adjectives and nouns. Here are some guidelines about how they affect the spelling of the word to which they're added:

  • When you're adding one of these endings to a word that ends with a consonant, the spelling is often straightforward:

adapt, adaptable

addict, addiction

mountain, mountainous

black, blackish


  • If you add one of the endings to a word that ends in an e that isn't pronounced, drop this final e:

inflate, inflation

advise, advisable

dance, dancer


  • The exceptions to this rule are words that end with a ‘soft’ ce or ge sound:

notice, noticeable

courage, courageous

advantage, advantageous


  • When you add one of these endings to verbs ending in a vowel plus l, you need to double the l:

counsel, counsellor

excel, excellent


  • Double the final consonant when adding these endings to verbs that end with a single vowel plus a consonant, when the stress is at the end of the verb:

refer, referral

begin, beginning

forget, forgettable


  • Don't double the final consonant, if the word ends with a single vowel plus a consonant, and the stress is not at the end of the word:

visit, visitor

common, commoner

develop, developer


  • If the word only has one syllable and ends with a single vowel plus a consonant, double the final consonant:

stop, stoppable

dim, dimmer

rob, robber


  • Don't double the final consonant if the verb ends with two vowels plus a consonant:

sleep, sleeper

treat, treatable

clean, cleanish


  • In British English, when you add the endings -ous, -ious, -ary, -ation, -ific, -ize, and -ise to a word which ends in -our, you need to change the -our to -orbefore adding the ending:

humour, humorous

glamour, glamorize

labour, laborious


  • But when you are adding other endings, the -our spelling stays the same:

colour, colourful

favour, favourite

odour, odourless

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Nouns ending in -acy and -asy

Words ending in –acy and –asy can be tricky, particularly as the suffixes sound the same. Here’s a list of familiar nouns, to help you get it right.

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Nouns ending in -er, -or, and -ar

Learn the difference between nouns ending in –er, –or, and –ar, from caller and cooker to collar and cellar, via captor and calculator.

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Verbs ending in -ize, -ise, -yze, and -yse

Don’t know what’s right when you lay eyes on a word that ends in -ize, -ise, -yse, or -yze? Our video and guide will help you see what the difference truly is.

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Words ending in -able or –ible

It can be tricky to remember which words end in –able and which end in –ible: here are some tips, along with some commonly encountered examples.

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Words ending in –ance and –ence

It can prove difficult to remember which words end in –ance and which in –ence: here are some tips, along with some commonly encountered examples.

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Words ending in -ancy and -ency

It can be tricky to remember which words end in –ancy and which in –ency: these tips should help, along with some frequently seen examples.

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Words ending in -ant and -ent

Permanent or permanant? Assistant or assistent? Here is a selection of everyday words ending in –ant or –ent: make sure you know the correct spellings.

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Words ending in -ary, -ory, and -ery

It’s not always easy to recall whether a word ends in –ary, -ory, -ery: here are some tips that will help you remember the correct spellings.

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Words ending in -efy and -ify

Liquify or liquefy? Exemplify or exemplefy? If you find words ending in –efy or –ify sometimes stupefy you, this page will help demystify the issue.

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Words ending in -ence/-ense

Words ending in either –ence or –ense can get confusing, particularly if you are moving back and forth between British and American English.