Making words that end in Silent E plural
A customer asked a question on our forum recently that got me thinking about how we could clarify and simplify the application of one of our spelling rules.
In the first and second edition of Uncovering the Logic of English, I wrote that we add -ES to make silent final E words plural. This came from Rule 21:
To make a noun plural, add the ending -S, unless the word hisses or changes; then add -ES.
We categorized silent final E words as "words that change," and then followed Rule 13:
“Drop the silent final E when adding a vowel suffix…”
Thus page + es became pag (e) + es = pages.
Bike + es became bik (e) + es = bikes.
This is the way pluralizing silent E words has commonly been taught in OG programs. The extra E is dropped. We add -ES because the word has changed. It works; it is accurate; if you like it you can keep using it. However, it is unnecessarily cumbersome.
I realized that I could simplify how to make silent final E words plural down to only one step. They can fall under the first part of the plurals rule: simply add an -S. Since we are adding a consonant suffix, we do not drop the silent E.
In the section explaining the "unless the word changes" part of rule 21 (p. 108), the new text of Uncovering the Logic of English will now read:
We hope the change will make using this rule a little simpler for you and for your students.
Thanks, Heather, for the great question!