BlogELA for KidsWhat Are Double Consonant Words - Rules & Examples

What Are Double Consonant Words – Rules & Examples

Double consonant words are a crucial part of the English language, as they contribute significantly to understanding both the sound and meaning of individual words. Acquiring a command of these consonants might be challenging at times, particularly for younger children, yet, doing so is essential for the development of excellent reading and writing abilities. 

This article will discuss the fundamentals of double consonants, including their description and usage. We will also offer advice and exercises for parents and teachers to assist children in learning and practicing double consonants efficiently.

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Now that we understand the importance of double consonants, let’s dive into the basics by defining what a double consonant is and exploring some examples of words with double constants. Understanding the concept of double consonants is crucial for mastering English spelling and pronunciation, so let’s get started.

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What Is a Double Consonant?

Double consonants are a feature of certain words in the English language, where two consecutive consonant letters that are the same are present. For instance, words like “puppet,” “summer,” and “wellness” contain two successive identical consonants in a row. 

“Double consonants are often used to indicate emphasis, as well as to differentiate between words that might otherwise be pronounced identically.” – Merriam-Webster 

The usage of double consonants is essential for improving one’s pronunciation and spelling abilities, as recognizing when they appear in words is a crucial part of mastering them. Although it may seem like a minor detail, learning to pronounce and spell words correctly is vital.

Research conducted by Ruth Altmiller, Rebecca Treiman, Brett Kessler at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has shown that even native speakers of English are sensitive to the rule for double consonants in words, even if they are not consciously aware of the rule. Using eye-tracking technology, the study measured participants’ reaction times to words containing double consonants.

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the many kinds of double consonants that may be found in words written in English. Geminate and intervocalic double consonants are the two forms that can be distinguished among double consonants. Geminate consonants are formed when two identical consonants are located close to one another within a word, but intervocalic consonants are formed when two vowels are between them.

Although it can be tough to remember when to utilize double consonants, doing so is necessary for perfect spelling and pronunciation. The upcoming section will cover the double consonant rules that regulate the use of these consonants in English words.

Related Reading: Best English Games to Help Kids Practice & Master the Language Quickly

3 Rules for Double Consonants

In English grammar, double consonants indicate pronunciation and distinguishing words. Here are some guidelines to apply the correct double consonant rules.

1. Doubling Consonants After a Short Vowel Sound (H3)

When a short vowel sound precedes a consonant, that consonant is usually doubled to show that the vowel sound is short. This is because a double consonant changes the sound of the preceding vowel from long to short. For example, in the word “kitten,” the double “t” indicates that the “i” sound is short.

2. Doubling Consonants When Adding Suffixes (H3)

When adding certain suffixes, such as “-ed,” “-ing,” or “-er,” to words that end in a consonant, the consonant is often doubled. This is done to keep the original sound of the word. For example, in the word “swim,” the final “m” is doubled when adding the suffix “-ing” to make “swimming.” This rule also applies to words that end with a silent “e,” such as “hop” becoming “hopping.”

3. Doubling Consonants to Distinguish Between Words (H3)

Sometimes, double consonants differentiate between two words that would otherwise be spelled the same. For example, “petal” and “pettle” have different meanings, so the double “t” is used in “pettle” to differentiate it from “petal.” Other examples include “manner” and “manner” or “slender” and “slander.”

Following these general rules, you can better understand when and why double consonants are used in English words. This knowledge can improve your spelling and pronunciation skills, making you a more confident and effective communicator.

“The use of double consonants can also vary depending on the dialect or regional accent of the speaker.” – Oxford English Dictionary

Now that you understand the rules for using double consonants, it’s time to apply your knowledge. Next, we will explore when children usually start learning to read and spell words with double consonants.

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When Do Children Begin to Learn to Read and Spell Double Consonant Words?

Mother and Children Learning

Learning how to read and spell double consonant words is an essential milestone in young children’s language development. Based on a report by US News, it is commonly observed that children typically start comprehending and identifying double consonants at approximately 6 or 7 years of age. At this stage, children are usually introduced to phonics and spelling rules, including the basic rule for double consonants. As children practice reading and spelling double consonants, they develop their phonological awareness, which is critical for their future success in reading and writing. To further assist parents and educators in helping children develop their phonological awareness and improve their spelling and reading skills, it is important to have access to a comprehensive list of the double consonants to practice with.

List of 20 Double Consonant Words

Double consonant examples are crucial in English spelling, indicating a short vowel sound and creating a “closed” sound for the preceding vowel. It’s worth noting that certain words may not follow this rule, requiring more practice. To aid you, we’ve gathered a list of twenty words that exhibit double consonants and comply with the fundamental rule.

  • Ball: The double “ll” in the ball changes the vowel sound from a short “a” to a long “a.”
  • Butter: The double “tt” in butter gives the “t” sound a hard, abrupt stop.
  • Grass: The double “ss” in grass emphasizes the hissing “s” sound.
  • Hammer: The double “mm” in the hammer makes the “m” sound more forceful and noticeable.
  • Happen: The double “pp” in happen gives the “p” sound a stronger burst of air.
  • Kitty: The double “tt” in kitty creates a pause between the two “t” sounds, making the word easier to pronounce.
  • Ladder: The double “dd” in the ladder creates a more noticeable “d” sound.
  • Little: The double “tt” in little changes the “t” sound from a quick tap to a longer, more drawn-out sound.
  • Pressure: The double “ss” in pressure emphasizes the hissing “s” sound, while the “ure” at the end creates a long “u” sound.
  • Raccoon: The double “cc” in raccoon emphasizes the “k” sound and helps distinguish it from the “oo” sound.
  • Running: The double “nn” in the running creates a more noticeable “n” sound.
  • Staff: The double “ff” in the staff makes the “f” sound more forceful and noticeable.
  • Tall: The double “ll” in tall changes the vowel sound from a short “a” to a long “a.”
  • Terror: The double “rr” in terror emphasizes the “r” sound.
  • Tissue: The double “ss” in tissue emphasizes the hissing “s” sound.
  • Vacuum: The double “cc” in vacuum emphasizes the “k” sound and helps distinguish it from the “u” sound.
  • Wall: The double “ll” in the wall changes the vowel sound from a short “a” to a long “a.”
  • Witty: The double “tt” in witty creates a pause between the two “t” sounds, making the word easier to pronounce.
  • Yellow: The double “ll” in yellow changes the vowel sound from a short “e” to a long “e.”
  • Zucchini: The double “cc” in zucchini emphasizes the “k” sound and helps distinguish it from the “u” sound.

While these words can help teach double consonants, there are challenges that children may face when learning them.

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3 Challenges in Learning Double Consonant Words

Learning double consonants can be challenging for young children as it involves a deep understanding of the basic rules of spelling and phonetics. Double consonant words often cause confusion for children because they are used to indicate short vowel sounds, which can be challenging for them to identify. 

“One of the most common reasons for doubling a consonant is to indicate a short vowel sound, as in words ‘happened’ and ‘stopping'” – Grammarly

Here are some of the children’s most common challenges when learning double consonants.

  • Identifying the Correct Vowel Sound

One of the main challenges children face when learning double consonant words is identifying the correct vowel sound. A double consonant changes the sound of the preceding vowel from long to short, which can be difficult to recognize for some children. For instance, the word “hater” has a short ‘a’ sound, while “hater” with a single ‘t’ has a long ‘a’ sound.

  • Recognizing Irregular Spellings

Another challenge children may encounter when learning double consonants is recognizing irregular spellings. For example, words such as “accommodation” or “misspell” can be confusing for young children just beginning to learn the basic spelling rules.

  • Memorization

Double consonant words can be challenging to memorize for some children, as there are many exceptions to the basic rule. For example, while most words with a short vowel sound are spelled with a double consonant, some exceptions include “oven” and “evil.”

Now that we have discussed some of the challenges of learning double consonants, let’s explore fun and engaging activities to help children learn and practice these words.

Related Reading: How Can Teachers Help English Language Learners

3 Fun Double Consonant Activities

Parents and educators can use various fun activities for children to overcome the challenges of learning double consonant words. Here are some more details about these activities.

  • Word Games

According to research conducted by Siu Yin Cheung and Kai Yin Ng on the “Application of the Educational Game to Enhance Student Learning,” engaging children in word games can be an excellent way to make the learning process enjoyable. Double consonant games, in particular, can help children practice these skills while developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Flashcards, word puzzles, and online resources can be used to create these educational games, providing fun and different styles of learning and mastering double consonants. By utilizing these educational and entertaining activities, children can enhance their understanding and retention of double consonants.

  • Word Searches

Word search puzzles with double consonants are an excellent way to help children identify and spell these words. Creating or printing word search puzzles with themes like animals, sports, or food can make the activity more interesting and engaging for children.

  • Writing Exercises

Writing exercises also help children practice double consonants. Encourage children to write short stories or sentences using double consonants. This will help them remember the correct spelling and reinforce the basic rules of double consonant spelling. Additionally, this activity can enhance children’s creativity and imagination.

Incorporating these educational resources into your child’s learning routine can make learning double consonants more engaging and effective. When children enjoy themselves and have fun, they are more likely to stay motivated and retain what they learn, so look for double consonant educational resources that are both amusing and useful.

Related Reading: Best English Learning Apps for Kids

Enhancing Your English Language Skills Through Mastering Double Consonants

A Boy Sitting at the table with His Teacher

By understanding what a double consonant word is and mastering its use, you can significantly enhance your English language skills, both in terms of spelling and pronunciation. Understanding the basic rules of double consonant spelling is essential, so children can improve their reading and writing skills and communicate more effectively.

So, to help your child excel in ELA and develop strong communication skills, incorporate double consonants into their learning and practice. With the help of fun and engaging activities, your child can master these words and become a confident and effective communicator. Take advantage of this valuable learning opportunity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are double consonants in the English language?

Double consonants are two identical consonants that appear side by side in a word, such as “bookkeeper” or “butterfly.” They affect both the spelling and pronunciation of the word.

Why is it important to appropriately grasp and employ double consonants?

Using double consonants correctly is crucial for clear communication and proper spelling in written English. It can also affect the meaning of a word, as some words have different meanings depending on whether a double consonant is used or not (such as “biter” versus “bitter”).

What are some common mistakes when using double consonants?

Some common mistakes include using only one consonant instead of two (such as writing “happened” as “hapened”), using the wrong double consonant (such as writing “appetite” as “apetite” instead of “appetite”), or using double consonants when they are not needed (such as writing “necessary” as “nessessary”).

How can I improve my understanding and use of double consonants?

Practice is key to improving your understanding and use of double consonants. You can use resources such as worksheets, quizzes, and online exercises to reinforce your learning. Additionally, paying attention to pronunciation and the subtle differences between words with and without double consonants can help.

Can native English speakers also struggle with using double consonants correctly?

Yes, even native English speakers can struggle with using double consonants correctly, as they can be a source of confusion and mistakes. However, with practice and attention to detail, anyone can proficiently use double consonants in their English language skills.

Amy Gill
Amy Gill is a Contributing Editor at SplashLearn. As a former teacher, she likes to write about education reforms, edtech and how to make learning more fun for children.