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Spelling rule: when to change 'y' to 'ies'

Remember this English spelling rule

Spelling rules: Changing 'y' to 'ies'

There are so many spelling rules and it can be difficult to learn and remember them all when you are learning English. Usually when you are talking about more than one item or thing, you add the letter ‘s’ on the end, however this isn’t always the case if the word ends in the letter ‘y’.

 

When do you change 'y' to 'ies'?

If you are writing about your day and you see a baby, you could write ‘Today, I saw a baby’, but if you saw more than one baby, you would write ‘Today, I saw two babies’.

 

The next day you might be writing about your day again, and you saw a donkey so you would write ‘Today, I saw a donkey’, but if you saw more than one donkey, you would write ‘Today, I saw two donkeys’.

 

Both words (baby and donkey) end in the letter ‘y’, so how come the first example removes the letter ‘y’ and adds the letters ‘ies’ to make it plural, whilst the second example only adds the letter ‘s’ to make it plural?

 

The spelling rule

The spelling rule is: when the word has a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) before the letter ‘y’, you add the letter ‘s’ and when the word has a consonant (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z) before the letter ‘y’, you remove the ‘y’ and replace it with ‘ies’.

 

So, when the word has a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) before the letter ‘y’, you add the letter ‘s’.

 

Examples:

·         Key = Keys

·         Delay = Delays

·         Holiday = Holidays

·         Annoy = Annoys

 

And when the word has a consonant (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z) before the letter ‘y’, you remove the ‘y’ and replace it with ‘ies’.

 

Examples:

·         Accompany = Accompanies

·         Emergency = Emergencies

·         Embassy = Embassies

·         Quality = Qualities


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