Traveling one l or two

There was one L or two

What is more appropriate in American usage: “He pled guilty” or “He pleaded guilty”?


  • Grace S.

I am amazed–I have never seen “enroled, ” and I assumed it was because the base word is spelled with double “l” at the end (and, of course, the accent is on the second syllable). However, I just looked it up, and find that “enrol” is an acceptable spelling of the base word! You learn something new every day!

  • Graham Strong

Great post — I think this gets many people confused in this Internet age!

A side note here: in Canadian English, as in the English grammar systems of most (all?) other Commonwealth countries, the correct spelling is with a double “L”, not the single.

As for “enrolment” — that’s one of those weird ones where the “L” is doubled in American English, and single in all other forms (that I’m aware of).

Lastly, I think it is a little inaccurate to say that “both spellings… are acceptable standard usage in English” — actually I’m not sure this is exactly what you meant to say Maeve. There are several different spelling and grammar systems in English, and each particular spelling is correct within its respective system, but not outside of it.

For example, “traveler” would be the only correct spelling inside the US, but not outside where “traveller” would be correct.


  • Maeve

I know that what you say about conforming to the different spelling systems is the sensible way of dealing with spelling differences like the ones discussed here:

There are several different spelling and grammar systems in English, and each particular spelling is correct within its respective system, but not outside of it. For example, “traveler” would be the only correct spelling inside the US, but not outside where “traveller” would be correct.

Although I write within the U.S., I think traveller “looks better” than traveler and that’s the form I prefer. I can even justify using the double l spelling because when I look it up in that all-accepting U.S. authority–Merriam-Webster–I find it listed as “a variant spelling” of traveler and not as “the British spelling of.” If it’s a variant, I can use it, no?

When I write for publication, of course, I follow the designated style guide.

You speak of the internet age. It’s not just on the web that the different systems of English are colliding. The U.S. entertainment industry is studded with British, Canadian, and Australian actors. They’re very good at adopting American accents, but they appear on talk shows where they speak in their native accents and vocabulary.

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