‘y’ to ‘i’ spelling rule

‘y’ to ‘i’ spelling rule

The ‘y’ to ‘i’ Spelling Rule

beauty → beautiful

happy → happiness

angry → angrily

We change the “y” to ” i” when adding suffix endings if a word ends in a consonant + Y.

*But we don’t change it when we add “i” endings like -ing, -ish which already begin with an “i”)

beauty + ful → beautiful. Also beautify, beautician

happy + ness → happiness. Also happily, happier, happiest

angry + er → angrier. Also angriest, angrily

pretty: prettier, prettiest

ready: readily, readiness

dry: dried, but drying, dryish (keep the “y” because we don’t want two i’s together) but exceptions are dryer or drier, dryly or drily

defy: defies, defied, but defying

apply: applies, applied, application but applying

Some “a” + “y” words change the “y” to “i” check out these -ai- patterns in

day + ly = daily,

gay+ ety = gaiety. Also gaily

lay – laid

pay – paid

say – said

slay – slain

We have a reversal of “y” to “i” rule when we change some words ending in “ie” to “y”

die + ing = dying (dieting X too many vowels in a row!)

tie + ing = tying

lie + ing = lying

When we add -s to a consonant + y we change the “-y” to “-ies”.

apply – applies

supply – supplies

deny – denies

magnify – magnifies

dry – dries

balcony – balconies

ceremony – ceremonies

story – stories

Macmillan Dictionary online says: Get it right: happy

Although the adjective happy ends in the letter ‘y’, the related noun happiness is spelled with an ‘i’ (not a ‘y’):

✗ Health, love, and happyness are what everyone looks for in their life.

✓ Health, love, and happiness are what everyone looks for in their life.

For most other adjectives ending in ‘y’, the same rule applies:

adjective → related noun

empty → emptiness

lazy → laziness

lonely → loneliness

tidy → tidiness

ugly → ugliness

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