In English, no word in the language ends with the letter “v” unless it is followed by the letter “e.” This is something that sets English apart from many other languages.
In Orton Gillingham, we can teach the saying, “No English words end in V, it will always be followed by an E.”
A Brief History in Why Words Do Not End In V
In the early stages of English, the letter “v” was used more frequently than it is today. However, at that time, it was not uncommon for writers to use “v” and “u” interchangeably.
In the 16th century the “u” and “v” spellings began to standardize, and during this process, the use of “v” and “u” was finally differentiated. The letter “v” was reserved for consonant sounds, while “u” was used for vowel sounds. This change in spelling rules meant that words that previously ended in “v” now needed an extra letter to make sense.
The addition of the letter “e” after “v” in English words serves a few different purposes. In some cases, it is simply a matter of spelling convention. For example, the word “give” would look odd without the “e” at the end, even though the sound would be the same. In other cases, the “e” at the end of a word can change the pronunciation of the preceding vowel. For example, the word “love” is pronounced differently than “loved” because of the added “e.”
The importance of the “e” after “v” can also be seen in the use of suffixes in English. Many suffixes that begin with a vowel require an “e” to be added to the base word to maintain the correct spelling and pronunciation. For example, the suffix “-ive” is commonly added to verbs to form adjectives (such as “active” or “positive”), and the “e” at the end of the base word ensures that the “v” is pronounced correctly.
Something to Rely On
In Orton Gillingham it’s always fun to tell students rules – it helps them have something to rely on when reading and especially in spelling.
Let’s all say it again, “No English words end in V, it will always be followed by an E!”
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