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Final <e> and Ve# Stems That End <ee> and <ie>

1. Here are some words with Ve# stems that end <ee>. Your job is the same as it was with the <oe> stem words in the previous lesson:

Word = Stem + Suffix Did final <e> deletion occur?
seeing = see + ing No
foreseeable = foresee + able No
agreeable = agree + able No
agreeing = agree + ing No
refereed = refer\cancel{e} + ed Yes
refereeing = referee + ing No
freest = fre\cancel{e} + est Yes
seer = se\cancel{e} + er Yes
guaranteeing = guarantee + ing No
foreseeable = foresee + able No

2. When you add a suffix that starts with a vowel to a stem that ends <ee>, you do NOT delete the final <e> if the suffix starts with the letters \underline{<i>} or \underline{<a>}.Otherwise, you do delete the final <e>, just as the Final <e> Deletion Rule says.

3. Ve# stems that end with <ie> do something special when we add certain suffixes to them. For instance, here is what happens when we add -ing to the stem lie:

l\cancel{i}\cancel{e}+ y + ing = lying.

The final <e> is deleted, as the rule says it should be. But notice that if we stopped there, we'd get l\cancel{i}\cancel{e} + y + ing = *liing. English avoids <ii> , so * liing is an unacceptable spelling. But we can't just delete one of the <\mathrm{i}>s, because that would lead to *ling, which doesn't look at all like the sound of the word it is meant to spell.

So we make use of the fact that <\mathrm{i}> and <y> are a two-letter team. You've already seen that in a number of words we change a <y> to an <\mathrm{i}> when we add a suffix. For example: try + ed =tr\cancel{y} + i + ed =tried and lady + es = lad\cancel{y} + i + es = ladies. When we want to add -ing to a word like lie, we do just the opposite: We change the <\mathrm{i}> to <y>:l\cancel{i}\cancel{e} + y + ing = lying.

However, this <\mathrm{i}> to <y> change only occurs when the suffix starts with <\mathrm{i}> . With other suffixes we just delete the final <e>:lie + ed = li\cancel{e} + ed = lied and lie + ar = li\cancel{e} + ar = liar.

4. Analyze each of the following words into its stem with <ie> and suffix. Show any changes of <\mathrm{i}> to <y>:

Words = Stem + Suffix Did the <l> change to <y>?
lying = l\cancel{i}\cancel{e} + y + ing Yes
lied = li\cancel{e} + ed Yes
lies = lie + s No
tied = ti\cancel{e} + ed Yes
tying = t\cancel{i}\cancel{e} + y+ ing yes
ties = tie + s No
died = die + s No
dying = d\cancel{i}\cancel{e} + y + ing Yes
pies = pie + s No

5. When you add a suffix that starts with the letter \underline{<i>} to a stem that ends <ie>, you change the \underline{<i>} to a <y> and delete the <e>. Otherwise, you just delete the final <e>.

Teaching Notes.

Item 2. If a question comes up about suffixes that start with <o>, <\mathrm{u}>, or <y>, which are not mentioned in this lesson, we have not found any cases of stems ending in <ee> and taking suffixes starting with <o> or <\mathrm{u}>. The only case found so far of a stem ending in <ee> and taking a suffix starting with <y> is the rare treey, (tree + y), defined by the OED2 as “Abounding in trees; well wooded.” All in all, it seems a safe bet that what is said in this lesson about suffixes starting with <\mathrm{a}> or <\mathrm{i}> is also true of suffixes starting with <y> and would be true of suffixes starting with <\mathrm{u}> or <o>, if we could find any instances.

A helpful way to think about it is that we only delete the final <e> in stems ending <ee> if the suffix starts with an <e>, and then the motivation is surely to avoid the <eee> produced by simple addition. For more on the avoidance of triplets in English spelling see AES, p.77.

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

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Apr 29, 2014
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