Traveling or travelling spelling
When adding -ing and -ed to verbs, we sometimes double the consonant beforehand. People are often confused with ‘travelled/traveled’, ‘benefitted/benefited’, ‘focussed/focused’ and ‘targetted/targeted’. This tip answers some of those queries.
The official requirements are that we ‘double a single consonant letter at the end of any base where the preceding vowel is spelled with a single letter and stressed’.
What does this mean in practice?
|word||present participle||past participle|
It is true to say that there is usually no doubling when the preceding vowel is unstressed (‘enter’ becomes ‘entering/entered’; ‘visit’ becomes ‘visiting/visited’) or when the preceding vowel is written with two letters (‘tread’ becomes ‘treading/treaded’).
However, with some final consonants, even in cases when the preceding vowel is unstressed (so you would think that there would be no doubling), doubling does occur in standard received British English (but is not favoured in American English), so ‘travel’ becomes ‘travelling/travelled’. Others in this grammatical group (verbs ending in an unstressed vowel, followed by the letter ‘l’) are ‘cancel’, ‘counsel’, ‘dial’, ‘model’, ‘parallel’ and ‘signal’.
Some words change their spelling to cope (they add a letter ‘k’).
What about ‘focus’?
This word can take either double or single s, with the single option being highly preferred.
Here’s an odd one to end: