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When is “L” doubled?

I'm confused about the two spellings. In which contexts do I have to use canceling or cancelling?

Google returns 15.6 million results with canceling and 18 million with cancelling, so I don't know what is the good spelling. Why are both possible, and are there other such pairs?

  • Hi Scorpi0. Welcome to the site. We encourage users to look up words in an online resource, like Dictionary.com before posting, since these source can answer basic questions like this. – Matt E. Эллен Sep 21 '11 at 14:13
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    Sorry Matt but I don't see the explanation on Dictionnary.com. The other question contains the answers I look for, so thank to pointing me on this! – Cyril Gandon Sep 21 '11 at 14:25
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    I believe he's referring to "canceling (especially British)," which is not easily noticed if you're not looking for it. Wiktionary has the opposite take. And WordReference has a whole thread on it. From there: The general rule is that the final consonant is doubled if the final syllable is stressed. The exception to this rule is words ending in ā€œlā€ in [British English] are always doubled. – Darren Griffith Mar 25 '16 at 20:18

There are many words that have different accepted spellings between British and American English.

The wiktionary.org entry for "cancelling" says:

Alternative forms

Ā· canceling (US English)

This implies that a single "l" is preferred in American English and a double "l" in British English.

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    Of note: single "l" in American English only preferred (meaning used more often) since the early 1980's actually. books.google.com/ngrams/…. We're lazy of late :) – jinglesthula Feb 13 '18 at 16:03
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    trends indicate that the triple "l" willl soon be preferrred. – philshem Feb 24 '18 at 18:44

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