English is a funny language, and by funny I mean peculiar. We have these weird rules for making verb forms. Here’s one such rule I saw broken this week. The person wrote “planed” instead of “planned.” The former would be pronounced “plained” with a Long A sound, rather than a Short A sound (cat), like the latter.
If he actually had “planed” something, he would have used a wood plane to shave off a thin layer of wood. My dad had one of these tools. It comes in handy when your house settles after many years and doors start to stick on the top or the bottom.
Here’s the rule: When a regular verb ends with a short vowel sound followed by a single consonant, double the consonant before adding the –ed or –ing endings for the past and present participles, respectively.
Can, canned, canning (when you can vegetables for long-term storage) Short A sound
If you don’t follow the double consonant rule, the word can be mistaken for something else entirely:
Cane, caned, caning (when you weave a chair out of canes) Long A sound
Here’s another example:
Short I: Pin, pinned, pinning – He pinned the corsage on his girlfriend’s sweater.
Long I: Pine, pined, pining – He pined for his girlfriend, who was away on vacation.
So pay attention to your participles. You may have to buy an extra consonant if it’s a short vowel!