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Is the correct spelling travelling or traveling? I’ve seen both in common usage, but I can't find an authoritative source that says one way or another.

Is this a difference between British spelling and American spelling?

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closed as general reference by tchrist, GEdgar, MετάEd, FumbleFingers, jwpat7 Sep 3 '12 at 0:05

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Interesting graph – Jim Sep 2 '12 at 0:04
@Jim Wow, that's cool. I didn't know you could do that with Google Books. – Brian Willis Sep 2 '12 at 0:07
possible duplicate of When is "L" doubled? – GEdgar Sep 2 '12 at 0:26
@Jim, interesting graph, but you used the 'English' corpus, which will be weighted towards US spelling due to the number of books published in the USA. – Roaring Fish Sep 2 '12 at 3:29
@RoaringFish- Yes, my point was not to discern an AmE/BrE difference but to note the difference over time. – Jim Sep 2 '12 at 4:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is no hard-and-fast rule that is universally applied, but in general, many and perhaps most writers of American English use just one single L there.

Other varieties, including British, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and (usually (but not always)) Canadian, almost invariably use two Ls there.

I draw your attention to the first bullet point under "Doubled Consonants".

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Canadians and some Americans also use two L’s. – tchrist Sep 2 '12 at 0:41
Yeah, Canadian English is not American English, so it fits into my sentence about "other varieties". Should I have said "United States English", so that it was clear that I didn't mean "North American English"? But some Americans? @tchrist, are you sure? – user16269 Sep 2 '12 at 0:49
Yes, I’m quite sure. Would you like a copy of my book? :) – tchrist Sep 2 '12 at 0:50
@tchrist Do you mean the book that was co-authored by a New Zealander? – user16269 Sep 2 '12 at 0:51
No, I mean Programming Perl, which is 100% American. Anyway, my just-previous boss is also American, and like me also uses double-L spellings on things like marshalling, travelling, signalling, and levelling. It is far from unknown here, no matter what newspaper editors would have you believe. – tchrist Sep 2 '12 at 0:53

British English Ngram

American English Ngram

It looks as though it is a difference between British spelling and American spelling, as the OP suspected.

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