Each month a 'Linguistic Moment' will be written by Miss Lévy, Modern Foreign Language teacher and published on this webpage to highlight an aspect of the English Language and others. This aims to further develop our students understanding of English, which will in turn, support the language development of our students in Modern Foreign Languages.
Here is the latest Linguistic Moment of the Month (previous moments will be archived):
I'm writing to complain about the letter you wrote asking for information that I've already written to you about.
I've written lots of books and now I'm writing another one but I need lots of time to write it.
People seem to have lots of problems with spelling the word 'writing.'
So we're going to look at the spelling rules around this word and write, written and wrote.
Write is a verb: to write, I write, he writes, she writes, they write...
Notice the "i" is a long sound and says its alphabet name "eye". This is because of the silent 'e' at the end of the word which makes the vowel sound long.
We have the short vowel sound in writ and when we add the silent "e" it makes it a long vowel sound write
When we add -ing to write we drop the 'e' (remember drop the 'e' with -ing rule)
write + ing so drop the 'e' = writing
Writing still keeps its long vowel sound.
We also drop the 'e' in writable, a rewritable DVD
The past tense of write is wrote: I wrote, you wrote, she wrote, he wrote...
Notice again the silent 'e' magic 'e' makes the vowel long and say its name "oh"
Let's look at written
Written is a past particle - I've written to the bank, she's written, they've written to me.
It's also an adjective - the written word, written records
Written has a short vowel sound - the "i" is short that's why we have a double "t" to indicate this short sound.
Double letters after a vowel usually indicate a short vowel sound which helps with reading, spelling, speaking. It was introduced centuries ago.
Double letters dropped out of fashion at the end of most words but when we add a vowel suffix ending we double up the end consonant to keep, or make a short vowel sound:
put - putting
sit - sitter
jog - jogging
quiz - quizzical
writ - written
So we have a long vowel sound for write and when we add -ing we drop the 'e' to make writing.
We have a short vowel sound in writ and double up the "t" to make written.