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Why the useless -e at the end?

  The main reason for most of the unnecessary ‘-e’ endings is that early scribes and printers preferred long words to short ones.  There was a good reason for this: they were paid by line of text.  So longer words and doubled letters earned them more money!
They also had an eye for neatness: they hated ragged-looking margins, or space at the end of a line.  When a word fitted in a line giving a neat ending they used sensible spellings like ‘at’, ‘had’ and ‘it’.  But, when they had space to fill, they used ‘atte’, ‘hadde’ and ‘itte’.
Many of the useless ‘-e’ endings were dropped around 400 years ago, but many have also survived - with no purpose.  Examples of these are ‘gone’, ‘done’ and ‘love’.
© SSS. updated 2006.02.24    The Simplified Spelling Society