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The Complete List of
English Spelling Rules

Lesson 11: Word Ending Sounds
V, J, and Long E


In this series of lessons, you will learn useful spelling rules in English.

This lesson talks about how to spell words that end with certain sounds in English: the /v/ sound, the /j/ sound, and the long e sound.

a man writing

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In English, it can sometimes seem difficult to know how to spell a new word you hear.

Here are some rules about how to spell three common sounds at the end of English words to help you.

1. The /v/ sound

a boy outside a dark cave

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Jeremy felt a little scared to go into the dark cave!

First, we will talk about words that end with the consonant sound /v/.

The most important thing to remember about this rule is that we are not concerned with the vowel sound here, only the final consonant sound.

Words in English do not end in the letter v. If you hear a /v/ sound at the end of a word in English, it will end in -ve. That final e is silent, so you will only hear and pronounce the /v/ sound.

But remember that this is not always a "magic" e. You will find many words in English that end in -ve, but have a short vowel sound before the v.

Here are some examples of common English words that end in -ve:
  • give
  • detective
  • prove
  • love
  • positive
  • executive
  • have
  • love
  • negative
  • exclusive
  • talkative
  • reserve
  • save
  • active
  • alive

2. The /j/ sound

two businesspeople meeting

"Hello, I am Patricia! I will manage this project."

Words in English also do not end in the letter j. When you hear the /j/ sound at the end of an English word, it will end in -ge or in -dge.

So, when you see these letters at the end of an English word, you will remember that the e is silent, and you will only pronounce a /j/ sound.

Here is a list of some common words in English that end in -ge:
  • cage
  • age
  • arrange
  • baggage
  • carriage
  • college
  • package
  • cabbage
  • damage
  • enlarge
  • footage
  • message
  • page
  • image
  • orange
  • charge

And here are some common words that end in -dge:
  • edge
  • ridge
  • wedge
  • bridge
  • badge
  • fudge
  • knowledge
  • judge
  • dodge

3. The long E sound

a very angry man

Goodness, he looks very angry!

Finally, we will talk about a common vowel sound at the end of words in English: the long E.

Except for some abbreviated words (like taxi) or words taken from other languages (like spaghetti), English words do not end in the letter i for this sound. Use the letter y.

Here are some common examples:
  • ability
  • family
  • play
  • fairy
  • pretty
  • carry
  • happy
  • essay
  • quickly
  • entry
  • study
  • country
  • body
  • easy
  • activity
  • probably

Review

So, let's review what we have learned about these English word ending sounds:
  1. The /v/ sound in English at the end of a word is spelled with -ve. The e is silent, but it is not always a "magic" e.

  2. The /j/ sound at the end of an English word is spelled with -ge or -dge. Here the e is also silent.

  3. The long e sound at the end of an English word is spelled with a y.

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