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?

  • 2
    Interesting graph – Jim Sep 2 '12 at 0:04
  • 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
  • A quick search on Google shows several different answers in the top 10 results. I take that to mean this is not general reference. Should be reopened. – Nicole Apr 13 '14 at 0:08

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".

  • Canadians and some Americans also use two L’s. – tchrist Sep 2 '12 at 0:41
  • 1
    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
  • 1
    @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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