Happened Vs. Happenned: Know the Correct Spelling

There are so many rules and exceptions to the English language that getting the spelling right is often challenging even for native speakers. And when you have words with double letters, it goes without saying that they will be in the list of misspelled words.

Happened Vs. Happenned: Which Is Correct?

The correct spelling is “happened.” The incorrect spelling is “Happenned” and is not even a word in the English language.

Explanation of the Correct Spelling:

For words ending with a combination of consonant-vowel-consonant, the stress on the last consonant makes the difference. If the last consonant is stressed, we usually double it before adding the suffix.

Words like “beginning,” “planned,” and “running” all follow this rule. But this is not the case for “Happened” because the “n” in the word is not a stressed syllable. Therefore, the correct spelling has a single “n” in it.

Explanation of the Incorrect Spelling:

“Happenned” is the incorrect spelling because the accent in “happened” is on the first syllable “Hap-” not on the second syllable “-pened.” If the stress was on the second syllable, we could double the letter “n” to spell it as “happenned.”

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How Do You Spell Happened?

To spell the word “happened” correctly, we must consider its pronunciations and the stressed syllable. Because the “n” in “happened” is not a stressed syllable, we don’t double the letter “n” before adding the suffix “-ed.” Since there is no stress on the “n,” we don’t elongate the sound. Here, the stressed syllable makes the difference in spelling.

Happened could be broken down into two syllables: “Hap-pened” and pronounced as “ha·pnd” in American English.

Definition of “Happened” With Examples

“Happened” is the past tense of “happen.” It functions as a verb and has two dictionary definitions as follows.

1. To take place or occur as an event, process, or result.

Example: I will let you know what happened in the meeting tonight.

Example: What happened to your face?

2. To come across or encounter something by chance.

Example: You just happened to get the attention of the media.

Example: I happened to meet some of my school friends in the exhibition today.

To Wrap Up

“Happened” is the correct spelling, while “happenned” or “happend” are misspelled variations that have no definition in the dictionary. The way to spell “happened” correctly is in its explanation of the stressed syllable.

Therefore, you must pronounce the word correctly to keep the right spelling in mind. Though incorrect spellings can still get the message through to the audience, your credibility as a writer will be questioned. So, how do you spell happened? Make sure it is not with a double “n.”

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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