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2.8: Soft and Hard <g>

  • Page ID
    7056
  • Overview of Soft and Hard <g>

    A soft <c> spells the sound [s], as in acid, and a hard <c> spells the sound [k], as in actor. Also, a soft <c> has to have either an <e>, <i>, or <y> right after it.

    The letter <g> sometimes spells the sound [j] as in gem, and it sometimes spells the sound [g] as in gum. When it spells the [j] sound, it is called soft <g>. When it spells the [g] sound, it is called hard <g>.

    Examples

    The hard-soft distinction can help you keep straight the often-confused angle and angel:

    Angel has <g> = [j] because of the <e> immediately following, while angle has <g> = [g] because there is no <e>, <i>, or <y> immediately following.

    Review

    1. Pronounce each of the following words. Pay special attention to the sounds being spelled by the <g> in each of them. Sort the words into the matrix:
      \begin{align*} &\text{agent} && \text{ignorance} && \text{agriculture} && \text{college} && \text{angel}\\ &\text{recognize} && \text{grower} && \text{gypped} && \text{digest} && \text{angle}\\ &\text{argue} && \text{genies} && \text{intelligence} && \text{disgusted} && \text{regret}\\ &\text{sergeant} && \text{discharge} && \text{glimpse} && \text{goddess} && \text{legislator}\\ &\text{challenge} && \text{gleamed} && \text{twig} && \text{biology} && \text{frog}\end{align*}  
      Words in which <g> spells ...
        [j]: [g]:
      Words with <e>, <i>, or <y> right after the <g>:    
      Words with no <e>,<i>, or <y> after the <g>:    
    2. You should have found that the letter <g> spells the [j] sound only when it has one of three letters right after it. The three letters are _______, _______, and _______.

    3. The letter <g> is called soft <g> when it spells the sound ______.

    4. A soft <g> always has one of three letters right after it: _______, _______, or _______.

    5. Soft <g> always will have <e>, <i>, or <y> after it. But not every <g> that has one of these three letters after it is a soft <g>! Look at these words, with hard <g>s where we'd expect soft ones: get, together, hunger, give, and girl.
      So we can't say that any <g> with <e>, <i>, or <y> after it will be soft. But we can say that any soft <g> will have <e>, <i>, or <y> after it.

    6. The letter <c> is soft when it has the letters _______, _______, or _______ after it. The soft <c> spells the sound _______.

    7. Soft <c> and <g> always have the letters _______, _______, or _______ after them.

      Combine these free stems and suffixes. Watch for cases of twinning and final <e> deletion:

      Free Stem + Suffix = Word
      8. god + ess =
      9. biologist + s =
      10. disgust + ing =
      11. gold + en =
      12. gyp + ing =
      13. intelligent + ly =
      14. legislate + or =
      15. ignore + ance =
    Show Answer
    1. Words in which <g> spells ...
        [j]: [g]:
      Words with <e>, <i>, or <y> right after the <g>:

      agent

      digest

      sergeant

      biology

      challenge

      angel

      genies

      legislator

      discharge

      gypped

      intelligence

      college

       
      Words with no <e>,<i>, or <y> after the <g>:  

      recognize

      goddess

      argue

      angle

      ignorance

      regret

      grower

      frog

      gleamed

      agriculture

      glimpse

      twig

      disgusted

    2. You should have found that the letter <g> spells the [j] sound only when it has one of three letters right after it. The three letters are <e> , <i> , and <y>.

    3. The letter <g> is called soft <g> when it spells the sound [j].

    4. A soft <g> always has one of three letters right after it: <e><i> , or <y>.

    5. Soft <g> always will have <e>, <i>, or <y> , after it. But not every <g> that has one of these three letters after it is a soft <g>! Look at these words, with hard <g>'s where we'd expect soft ones: get, together, hunger, give, and girl.

    6. The letter <c> is soft when it has the letters <e> , <i> , or <y> after it. The soft <c> spells the sound [s].

    7. Soft <c> and <g> always have the letters <e> , <i> , or <y> after them.

      Free Stem + Suffix = Word
      8. god + d + ess = goddess
      9. biologist + s = biologists
      10. disgust + ing = disgusting
      11. gold + en = golden
      12. gyp +p + ing = gypping
      13. intelligent + iy = intelligently
      14. legislate + or = legislator
      15. ignore + ance = ignorance

    Soft <g> and Silent Final <e>

    Although not all <g>s followed by an <e>, <i>, or <y> are soft, all <g>s followed by a silent final <e> are soft.

    Examples

    The following words have a soft <g> followed by a silent final <e>:

            refuge     college     urge

    Review

    Use the following words to answer the questions below. 

    \begin{align*} &\text{waterlog} && \text{package} && \text{jog} && \text{challenge}\\ &\text{beg} && \text{refuge} && \text{catalog} && \text{enrage}\\ &\text{drug} &&\text{discharge} && \text{earwig} && \text{discourage}\\ &\text{zigzag} &&\text{college} && \text{frog} && \text{urge}\end{align*}

    1. Do the words in the left column end with soft <g> or with hard <g>? _______
    2. Do the words in the right column end with soft <g> or with hard <g>? _______
    3. Why are the <g>s in the right column soft <g>s? ______________________________
    4. Why are the <g>s in the left column hard <g>s? ______________________________
    5. In the words in the right column the final <e>s are all marking preceding <g>s as being soft. But in two of the words in the right column the final <e> is also marking the preceding vowel as being long. The two words are _______ and _______.
    6. So far you’ve seen three different jobs that final <e> can do:
      Final <e> can mark a preceding vowel as being _______.
      Final <e> can mark a preceding <c> as being _______.
      Final <e> can mark a preceding <g> as being _______.
      And final <e> can mark both a long vowel and a soft <c> or <g> at the same time.
    7. Sort the following words into the matrix below.
    8. \begin{align*} &\text{refuge} && \text{twice} && \text{lace} && \text{challenge} && \text{recognize}\\ &\text{legislate} && \text{license} && \text{embrace} && \text{since} && \text{urge}\\ &\text{enrage} && \text{college} &&\text{courage} && \text{charge} && \text{intelligence}\\ &\text{ignorance}  && \text{office} &&\text{civilize} && \text{expense} && \text{price}\end{align*}
      Words in which final <e> ...
        marks a soft <c> or soft <g>: does not mark a soft <c> or soft <g>:
      Words in which final <e> marks a long vowel    

      Words in which final <e> does not mark a long vowel

         
    9. A silent final <e> will mark a <g> right in front of it as being __________ — that is, as spelling the sound ______.

    Show Answer
    1. Do the words in the left column end with soft <g> or with hard <g>? hard <g>

    2. Do the words in the right column end with soft <g> or with hard <g>? soft <g>

    3. Why are the <g>s in the right column soft <g>s? because they have an <e> following them

    4. Why are the <g>s in the left column hard <g>s? because they do not have an <e>, <i>, or <y> following them

    5. In the words in the right column the final <e>s are all marking preceding <g>s as being soft. But in two of the words in the right column the final <e> is also marking the preceding vowel as being long. The two words are refuge and enrage.

    6. So far you've seen three different jobs that final <e> can do:
      Final <e> can mark a preceding vowel as being long.
      Final <e> can mark a preceding <c> as being soft (or pronounced [s]).
      Final <e> can mark a preceding <g> as being soft (or pronounced [j]).

    7. Words in which final <e> ...
        marks a soft <c> or soft <g>: does not mark a soft <c> or soft <g>:
      Words in which final <e> marks a long vowel

      refuge

      enrage

      twice

      lace

      embrace

      price

      legislate

      civilize

      recognize

      Words in which final <e> does not mark a long vowel

      ignorance

      college

      office

      courage

      challenge

      since

      charge

      urge

      intelligence

      license

      expense

    8. A silent final <e> will mark a <g> right in front of it as being soft — that is, as spelling the sound [j] .

    Explore More

    Word Venn. In circle A put only words that contain a hard <g>. In circle B put only words that contain a soft <g>. In circle C put only words that contain a silent final <e>.

    catalog geography gypped office
    ignorance accept motor courage
    license garbage goddess generates

    Show Answer

    Soft <g> and Deleting Silent Final <e>

    Final <e> Deletion Rule. You delete the final <e> that marks a soft <c> or soft <g> only when you add a suffix that starts with <e>, <i>, or <y>; you delete final <e>s that only mark long vowels when you add a suffix that starts with any vowel.

    Examples

    Now let’s see what changes the final <e> that marks soft <g> will make in the Final <e> Deletion Rule. Here are some words analyzed for you. 

    Free Stem + Suffix = New Word Was a final <e> deleted?
    cag e + ed = caged Yes
    discourage + ment = discouragement No

    Each word has been analyzed into its free stem and suffix. Any final <e>s were deleted. 

    Word = Free Stem + Suffix Was a final <e> deleted?
    largeness large ness No
    orangy orang e + y Yes

    Review

    Here are some words analyzed for you. Write ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the right hand column:

    Free Stem + Suffix = New Word Was a final <e> deleted?
    1. urge + ing = urging  
    2. orange + y = orangy  
    3. challenge + s = challenges  
    4. package + ing = packaging  
    5. manage + able = manageable  
    6. refuge + ee = refugee  
    7. large + est = largest  
    8. urge + ency = urgency  
    9. marriage + able = marriageable  

    Analyze each word into its free stem and suffix. Replace any final <e>s that were deleted. Then write ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the right hand column:

    Word = Free Stem + Suffix Was a final <e> deleted?
    10. encouragement = +  
    11. urged = +  
    12. challenger = +  
    13. refuges = +  
    14. discouraged = +  
    15. marriages = +  
    16. manager = +  

    17. You should have found that when the final <e> was deleted, the suffix started with one of three letters: _____, _____, or _____.

    18. Which three letters must always follow a soft <g>? _____, _____, and _____.

    19. Final <e> Deletion Rule. You delete a final <e> that marks a soft <c> or a soft <g> only when you add a suffix that starts with _____, _____, or _____; you delete a final <e> that is only marking a long vowel when you add a suffix that starts with any _____.

    Analyze each of the following words into its free stem and suffix. Be sure your analysis shows any final <e> deletions that occurred.

    Word = Free Stem + Suffix
    20. manageable = +
    21. oranges = +
    22. challenging = +
    23. marriageable = +
    24. largest = +
    Show Answer
    Free Stem + Suffix = New Word Was a final <e> deleted?
    1. urg e + ing = urging Yes
    2. orang e + y = orangy Yes
    3. challeng e + s = challenges No
    4. packag e + ing = packaging Yes
    5. manag e + able = manageable No
    6. refug e + ee = refugee Yes
    7. larg e + est = largest Yes
    8. urg e + ency = urgency Yes
    9 .marriag e + able = marriageable No
    Word = Free Stem + Suffix Was a final <e> deleted?
    10. encouragement encourage + ment No
    11. urged urg e + ed Yes
    12. challenger challeng e + er Yes
    13. refuges refuge + s No
    14. discouraged discourag e + ed Yes
    15. marriages marriage + s No
    16. manager manag e er Yes

    17. You should have found that when the final <e> was deleted, the suffix started with one of three letters: <e> , <i> , or <y>.

    18. Which three letters must always follow a soft <g>? <e><i>, and <y> .

    19. Final <e> Deletion Rule. You delete a final <e> that marks a soft <c> or a soft <g> only when you add a suffix that starts with <e> , <i> , or <y>; you delete a final <e> that is only marking a long vowel when you add a suffix that starts with any vowel.

    Word = Free Stem + Suffix
    20. manageable manage + able
    21. oranges orange + s
    22. challenging challeng e + ing
    23. marriageable marriage + able
    24. largest larg e + est
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