Rules and patterns for words ending in -le



In this lesson we're looking at words like: table, wobble, purple, apple, beetle, kettle, trifle, shuffle, dazzle, tickle, sprinkle, castle...

1. Do you know why we spell some of these with a single letter before the -le and some with double letters? title / little, idle / middle,
beetle / settle, trifle / shuffle, table / apple.


Clue: do you know what long and short vowel sounds are?


Vowels are a.e.i.o.u  and these can make long and short vowel sounds, and the reason why some of these letters are doubled. 


3. Do we double the letter before the -le after a short or long vowel sound? (read the words again)


Sussed the answers yet? Watch the video below and/or read on for the answers






We double up the letters after a short vowel sound: little, middle, settle, shuffle, apple, wobble, dazzle...


Let's look at  beetle and settle, then title and little.

beetle has two vowels and is a long vowel sound so ends in -tle
settle has a short vowel sound so double up the t so ends in -ttle.  

Title and little both have a single i but 
title has a long vowel sound, and
little has a short vowel sound.


Say these words and notice the different sounds (on video above): table / apple; title / little; idle / middle. All have single vowels but one is a long vowel sound and the other short. 


Can you hear the long vowel sound in table, title, idle? It's not that clear so don't worry if you can't.


table, title, idle are long vowel sounds and called diphthongs which are two vowels made into one long vowel sound by the movement of the tongue. 

We also have the long 'ee' sound in beetle, steeple, wheedle, needle...   


All these long vowel sounds have one consonant + le, as in the patterns: -tle, -ble, ple, fle... 


We have the short vowel sounds in: little, middle, settle, shuffle, apple so we double up the consonant before the -le and have the patterns: -ddle, -ttle, -ffle, -pple, -zzle...


Not many people know this rule. Most good spellers know these common spellings and can see the letter patterns in them. But it's always great to know why spelling is the way it is, and helps with the questions and frustrations about spelling. 


But this doubling up rule is used in other spelling rules with one vowel, one syllable, one consonant - sit sitting, put- putting. Click here to check out my doubling up 1:1:1 rule 



Let's have a look at the difference between these patterns, sounds and spellings.

You need to look carefully and notice the patterns. But don't get too stressed about the sound if you can't hear the differences between the short & long vowel sounds.

table,  bible (long)

bubble, wobble (short)

titlebeetle 
bottlelittle 

idle cradle
middle fiddle

bugle,
struggle, giggle
single angle (two consonants so no doubling)

purple 
apple 

trifle
shuffle


Look at these
tickle

tackle
chuckle
pickle

(we add the c to the k when it's a short vowel sound)


Note that no letters are doubled if there are two consonants before - le: ankle, sprinkle, stumble, bundle, gargle, bangle, bungle...

Let's look at the -stle letter pattern 

**castle, wrestle, whistle, bristle (the t is silent
not "castill" "bristol"  and a silent w and silent t in wrestle)





Do the word search below. Click and drag the letters. Click the link below if you can't see the word search (might work on tablets) -le Letter Pattern word search