Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

I totally get that we add the suffix <es> to words such as <watches, brushes, horses, etc>. I also get that we add it to words with final <y>; <families, empties, parties, etc>. But for my students I'd like to be able to present something "somewhat" coherent about other times we use/don't use that suffix. So here are my two questions (I'm sure other dragon heads, wings, tails and possibly entirely new dragons will pop up):

1. What other times do we use <es>  with a final vowel in a word? We have <tomatoes, potatoes, mosquitoes, vetoes, heroes> but < hobos, shampoos, rodeos, radios, stereos, Cheerios(?) and Oreos(?) >. Does it have to do with when the word entered the English vocabulary? What language it came from? The V/V ending? Would I say "the noes have it?" or "the nos have it?"(Spell check doesn't like <nos>) Is there a reason ballerinas wear <tutus> and not <tutues>? Is it <taxies> and <undies> because the <i> is a "stand-in" for <y>? Any other "rules" for <es> vs. <s> with a final vowel? Or do we "just have to memorize it"?

And because I can't stand presenting just one dragon head if I can slay two with one stone, here's my other question:

2. Is there a way to "simply" present <go + es> and <do + es> in their etymological context? (doth, doeth, goeth??) Could this be tied together with <lives/liveth>, <gives/giveth>, <makes/maketh>, etc? Some of my older students eat this stuff up.


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