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8.3: Words With < tle > and < ttle >

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Words With <tle> and <ttle>

1. Words like battle that end with the letters <le> right after a [t] sound are a special group. In the words below underline the letters that spell [t]:


2. Now sort the words into this matrix:

Words in which the [t] comes right after
a consonant: a long vowel: a short vowel:
Words with [t] spelled <t>








Words with [t] 'spelled <tt>










3. In words that end with a [t] sound with <le> right after it, if the [t] comes right after a consonant or long vowel sound, the [t] is spelled <t>. But if the [t] comes right after a short vowel sound, the [t] is spelled <tt>.

5. The long vowels in words like title may seem to be exceptions to the VCC pattern. But the pattern for words that end <tle> is true for words that end with any consonant followed by <le>. Since there is always a long vowel in every word that ends with a single consonant followed by <le>, we can treat these long vowels not as exceptions, but rather as the result of a smaller pattern within a bigger pattern. We can call it the VCle# pattern. VCle# is another pattern that marks long vowels, like VCV and Ve#.

If there is a short vowel sound right in front of the [t], we use a double <tt> to spell [t] in front of the <le>. We can think of this as another smaller pattern within the bigger VCC pattern. We can call it the VCCle# pattern, which is another pattern that marks short vowels, like VCC and VC#.

In the VCCle pattern the vowel is short, but in the VCle pattern the vowel is long.

6. Sort the words with short vowels into these two groups:

Words with short vowels in which [t] is spelled ...
<t> <tt>
mantle battle bottle
gentle little settle
startle kettle cattle
turtle rattle shuttle

If there is a consonant between the short vowel and the [t], we only need a single <t> because the other consonant will fill out the VCCle pattern, as in words like gentle and mantle. But if there is no other consonant, we need both <t>’s, as in words like bottle and little.

Word Changes. Remember to follow the directions carefully and write the words you make in the column on the right. The shaded boxes will contain words with which you worked in Item 1 of this lesson. All of the words will end in either <tle> or <ttle>. As you form each word, decide whether it should be spelled with a single or a double <t>:

1. Write the word battle - battle

2. Change the first consonant in the word to the twentieth letter in the alphabet - tattle

3. Change the first consonant back to <b> and change the <a> to <ee> - beetle

4. Change the first consonant in the word to the fifth consonant in the alphabet and change the second <e> to the fourteenth letter in the alphabet - gentle

5. Change the first letter in the word to <m> and change the first vowel in the word to the first vowel in the alphabet - mantle

6. Move the second consonant in the word to the front, delete the <m>, and change the <a> to an <e> - nettle

7. Change the first consonant in the word to the fourteenth consonant in the alphabet, and change the <e> back to an <a> - rattle

8. Change the first letter in the word to the letter that comes right after it in the alphabet, make the second letter in the word a <c>, and change the <a> to the twenty-first letter of the alphabet - scuttle

9. Change the first two letters of the word to <br> and change the <u> to <i> - brittle

Teaching Notes.

The VCle# and VCCle# patterns, though quite modest in their extension, are important and very reliable. Notice that though the ending is spelled <le>, it is pronounced [əl]:the letters and sounds are reversed. In terms of sound, then, the VCle# and VCCle# patterns fit the VCV and VCC patterns. For more on the <le> ending see AES, pp. 149-51.

Item 6. The short vowel in startle is [o]. The short vowel in turtle is the [u] in [ur], though there is admittedly very little [u] coloring left in most pronunciations of [ur].

Word Changes. Be sure the students understand that they must decide whether the words are spelled <tle> or <ttle>. The directions don't mention that aspect of the spelling. If students get fuddled trying to count letters and consonants and vowels in the alphabet, the table “Letters of the Alphabet” may be helpful. Notice that <u>, <w>, and <y> are counted as both vowels and consonants.

Letter Vowel Consonant
a 1st 1st
b 2nd 1st
c 3rd 2nd
d 4th 3rd
e 5th 2nd
f 6th 4th
g 7th 5th
h 8th 6th
i 9th 3rd
j 10th 7th
k 11th 8th
l 12th 9th
m 13th 10th
n 14th 11th
o 15th 4th
P 16th 12th
q 17th 13th
r 18th 14th
s 19th 15th
t 20th 16th
u 21st 5th 17th
V 22nd 18th
w 23rd 6th 19th
X 24th 20th
y 25th 7th 21st
z 26th 22nd

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
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