1-1-1 Spelling Rules: -dge

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

Another 1-1-1 spelling rule is the -dge spelling rule. When should a student use -dge at the end of a word versus -ge when spelling the /j/ sound? If a word is one syllable, one short vowel, with one /j/ sound at the end of the word, it’s spelled with -dge (dodge, fudge). Otherwise, you will most likely use ge to spell the /j/ sound (page, orange). In the English language, the letter ‘j’ never ends a word, so that will never be an option. 

Students should use the below criteria when deciding which letter to use when spelling the /j/ sound at the end of a word:

  1. Is it a one-syllable word?
  2. Does it have a single short vowel?
  3. Does it end in a /j/ sound? 

If a student answers ‘yes’ to all 3 questions, then the /j/ sound should be spelled -dge. If they answer ‘no’ to one or more of the questions, then it will most likely be spelled ge. 

A great way to practice is to ask students about various words and decide if it meets the criteria. For example: 

  • “Page? Why or why not?” Answer: No, does not have a short vowel sound.
  • “Fudge?  Why or why not?”  Answer: Yes, has one syllable, one short vowel, and /j/ at the end.

Remember that there are safe words and sentences in IMSE’s Scope and Sequence book when teaching any of the 1-1-1 rules. You can also find lessons on 1-1-1 spelling rules in IMSE’s Practice Books and IOG.