Some verbs can have double Ls in the gerund form; for example:

  • modeling; modelling
  • traveling; travelling

Which form should we use, or which form is used more in the literature?


Actually, to my understading, the form with double l (e.g. "travelling") is more common in British English, while in American English the spelling would be with single l ("traveling").

It seems that Irish, Australian, NZ, and Canadian varieties generally prefer the (British) double l versions.

More information e.g. at the Wikipedia article on British/American spelling differences. (Do note that the opposite also happens: "there are words where British writers prefer a single l and Americans usually use a double l".)

So, there is no all-encompassing answer to "which form should we use" – it depends on the context and your preferences. Due to the sheer number of American English speakers, the single l versions are overall "more common in literature", of course. (But when deciding which you should use, do pay more attention to other factors, such as your geographical location or the preferences of your audience.)

  • 10
    Yes; in general, British (Commonwealth) English prefers a double 'l'. Or more accurately a double consonant: so travel -> travelling, but warble -> warbling. – njd Aug 9 '10 at 16:10
  • 15
    The general rule in British English is to double the 'l'. The general rule in American English is to double the 'l' only when the last syllable is accented. So words like propelled are spelled with a doubled 'l' on both sides of the pond. – Peter Shor Nov 15 '11 at 14:56

See a great answer from Yahoo Answers

The singular "l" in traveled is unique to American spelling. This does NOT make it wrong. It is perfectly acceptable as is the double "l" in the British spelling of travelled,

The Oxford English Dictionary has a very good explanation that is not too far removed from the one you proffered to your friend

The ruling is :-

When you have a verb that ends in a vowel plus "L" and you are going to add an ending that begins with a vowel then you double the "L".

i.e., vowel + L + vowel = double LL. (travel + er = traveller)

Direct Quote below

In British spelling, verbs ending in a vowel plus l double the l when adding endings that begin with a vowel (e.g. travel, travelled, traveller). In American English the l is not doubled (travel, traveled, traveler).


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