Lawless English

Dropping the final -e

Whether to drop the final e on English words before adding a suffix can be confusing for some English speakers.

When the suffix begins with a vowel then the final e is usually dropped.

suffix stem new word
-able define definable
-age store storage
-ed save saved
-est sure surest
-ing joke joking
-ion illustrate illustration
-or orate orator
-ory mandate mandatory
-ous fame famous
 
exceptions
-able* trace traceable (when the letter before e is c or g)
-ous courage courageous

When the word ends in two vowels, the final –e is usually not dropped.

double vowels
-ed shoe shoed
-ing flee fleeing
 
exception
-ing argue arguing

When the suffix begins with a consonant the final e is usually not dropped.

suffix stem stem+suffix
-ly time timely
  sure surely
  late lately
 
-ment atone atonement
manage management
base basement
 
-ness sedate sedateness
like likeness
bare bareness

Except for words that end with ue, which drop the –e.

-ly true truly
due duly
-ment argue argument

 
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