Spelling of verbs in the Past Simple

How to spell regular and irregular verbs in the Past Simple

You need to know all forms of irregular verbs very well. For the Past Simple you need the form of the verb which can be found in the 2nd column of the table of irregular verbs.

do → did → done

Add ed with regular verbs:
regular verbs → infinitive ed

Sometimes there are exceptions in spelling when adding ed:

1. Adding -ed

1.1. consonant after a short, stressed vowel at the end of the word

Double the consonant.

stop – stopped
sob – sobbed
tap – tapped

We do not double the consonant if the vowel is not stressed:
benefit – benefited (Here we stress the first e, not the i.)

In British English we double one -l at the end of the word:
travel  travelled
equal  equalled

1.2. one -e at the end of the word

Only add -d.
bake – baked
save  saved
smile – smiled

1.3. verbs ending in -y

Change -y to -i after a consonant. Then add ed.
hurry – hurried

Add ed with verbs ending in -y preceded by a vowel (a, e, i, o, u):
play – played