Is it correct to tell ESL students that there aren't any words in English that have a double repeated consonant after another consonant?

For example:

  • Sttrugle
  • Inffection
  • dispposal


  • Hmm... Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 23:55
  • English spelling is irregular. It does not have patterns for uninflected words. However, for inflected words, this answer might be helpful.
    – Void
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


English spelling has patterns, but no perfectly reliable rules. Even very common patterns such as your example have exceptions, to the bane of all.

A double consonant following another consonant is possible when the double consonant crosses a morpheme boundary, as in words like dumbbell or jackknife. This includes most of the obscure words or spellings claimed to feature triple consonants, like goddessship or crosssection (in practice, such words are generally hyphenated, goddess-ship, cross-section).

Another set of exceptions would be various representations of sounds, like psst or zzz. , though some might object to their classification as words.

  • Excellent answer, thank you! Would it be a safe bet to say, rather, " with a few exceptions"? (or are there lots?)
    – Gottano
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 0:56
  • Yes, I think it's safe to say it's very uncommon for a double consonant to follow another consonant— besides the two I gave, the only other exception I could think of was knickknack.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 19:11

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