Words ending -er, -or, and -ar

There are lots of words in English which end with the 
-er sound. But when you listen to these words you can't
be sure whether the sound is made by -er, -or or -ar.
Sorry, there's no easy rule but there are a few helpful word patterns:
    1. I should point out that there are more than ten times as many
words ending with -er than -or and -ar together.
So, if you guess -er then there's a good chance that you'll be right!
    2. Verbs ending in a silent e usually change to nouns by ending -er:
dive/diver    wade/wader    write/writer    avenge/avenger      
    3. -er is also the most common way of ending a word for someone carrying out an action:
Action Person carrying out the action
reporting reporter
playing player
fighting fighter
listening listener
printing printer
cleaning cleaner
    4. -or is used when the base word ends in -ate, -ct, -it :
   calculate/calculator    create/creator    investigate/investigator
   contract/contractor    reflect/reflector    conduct/conductor
   visit/visitor    exhibit/exhibitor    edit/editor

   5. There is no especially useful pattern to recognize words that
end in -ar except to say that many of them finish with   -lar:
               regular    popular    similar    pillar
But other than that it's just a matter of memorizing the -ar words as you come across them. Mispronouncing the ending so that it rhymes with the -ar- in market is a handy memory trick.

Click here for a relevant hangman game, or a wordsearch, or a quiz
Click here for a relevant hangman game, or a wordsearch, or a quiz


Spelling it Right

Roger Smith
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