Does anybody know why the word always is written with one L, although it is formed by putting together two words, all and ways?

closed as off-topic by Drew, Ellie Kesselman, Tushar Raj, keshlam, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 May 10 '15 at 23:05

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    For the same reason as altogether and albeit are written with one l: because the compound was treated as one word while spelling was still fluid, and happened to get fixed with a different choice from all. – Colin Fine Apr 19 '15 at 22:36
  • How about 'already"? How about 'all right'? – Mitch Apr 19 '15 at 22:47
  • And alone, and also, and lone(ly), where even the a is missing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 19 '15 at 23:13
  • 3
    The other l ran away long ago and has never been seen since. It said it was tired of hanging out with Al and his ways. – Drew Apr 20 '15 at 1:35
  • 3
    For the same reason that all is written with two L's. I.e, arbitrary spelling rules. There's no reason that it couldn't be spelt AL, after al; the final /l/ is not long. Executive summary: Do not expect any regularity about English spelling, nor any useful answer for questions about why words are spelled the way they are instead of some other way. English spelling is 400-year-old technology; it's not sposta be regular. It's like a street in an old part of the world, like India or Europe; you enjoy the sights and you're grateful it's not broken down completely yet. – John Lawler Apr 20 '15 at 3:31

Middle English use of the word "all" and "al" were both recognized. 14th century constructions likely appeared as both "allways" and "always".

In general, the codification of something like this often comes down to a single text that chose one construction. It is possible that something like the King James Bible or a particular author chose one spelling which was later emulated and eventually taken as the rule.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.