Discussion in 'English Only' started by Er.S.M.M.Hanifa, Sep 5, 2010.
Is it American to write "benefitted" or "benefited"?
That would be benefited for me, but I see that M-W lists benefitting, as well... without elaboration.
I think that American spelling standards differ from the rest of the world only in verbs ending in an unstressed syllable ending in l or p:
American leveled v others levelled
American worshiped v others worshipped.
Otherwise the rules for adding -ed to a verb are the same everywhere.
Mama once horsewhipped me for making generalizations like that.
I see that M-W lists worshipped first and worshiped (which looks terrible weird to me) second.
I believe doubling T and S is a minority usage everywhere: some people write benefitted, rivetting, biassed, focussing, but it's not an AE/BE difference as it is with L and P.
I suppose the geminated <t> is to do with the possible secondary stress on -fit. That would also explain the AE preference for formatted, worshipped and kidnapped (worshiped and kidnaped as minority options; I don't think I've ever seen formated).
"Programmed" seems much more common than "programed".
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A look at the corpora:
benefited - 764
benefitted - 60
benefited - 1721
benefitted - 140
I'm a bit surprised by that - I'm sure I would write benefitted.
BNC - British National Corpus
COCA - Corpus of Contemporary American English
COHA - Corpus of Historical American English
I would write benefited, on the grounds that the stressed syllable is "ben" not "fit".
That said, Er.S.M.M.Hanifa's question seems to me to have two possible meanings:
(1) Is it correct in AmE (and also possibly in BrE) to write "benefitted"?
(2) Is it correct in AmE only (and not in BrE) to write "benefitted"?
I suspect that the "correct" spelling in both AmE and BrE (recognising I'm disagreeing with Panj here) is "benefited".
You are also disagreeing with some dictionaries (as Copyright pointed out), so we have to accept that both spellings are correct…
I think natkretep's point about secondary stress is valid, although it's hard to verify. There just aren't that many verbs ending in ‹-it› that have the same stress pattern as benefit (and that don't belong to another derivational family). For example, retrofit and manumit have the right stress pattern, and they double their ‹t›, but that's because retrofit is based on fit, and manumit is part of the -mit family.
I think if gigabit, kilobit, and megabit were verbs, I think I would be tempted to write gigabitted. But I would write preterited and hematocrited with one ‹t›. (In fact, I think the last one may actually exist as a verb.)
Errmmm ... I wasn't suggesting that benefitted was righter than benefited, only that I must add this to the rather long list of words whose spelling troubles me
... Although when I looked for examples, it seems that I don't use either.
Sorry, Captain, I'm not sure I understand you: do you vote for "benefitted" or "benefited"?
I vote for "benefitted", usually use "travelled" and would never write "worshiped".
These are words that exhibit more variation than say, the stricter AmE/BrE spelling distinctions of color/colour or center/centre. You don't have to sweat them as much, because even Americans will be of differing opinions on them.
With at least 10:1 in favour of benefited in both corpora, and benefited being the only version in the OED, I think that's the version I would recommend to Er. Hanifa
'Retrofit' and 'horsewhip' are very good example words. They absolutely must double their consonant: retrofitted, horsewhipped. That's because they're transparently extensions of words where the stressed syllable ends in the consonant: fit, whip. But with other words, it is unclear how much of the etymology is still present, or how much stress a secondary-stressed syllable gets. 'Benefit' doesn't come from 'fit', and for me the syllable 'fit' doesn't even have secondary stress. No-one [hardly no-one] doubles the P in 'galloped' or 'filliped', where the P-syllable can't be given any kind of secondary stress, but in 'worship(p)ed' there is a feeling that 'ship' is a strong syllable in its own right, so it might allow consonant-doubling.
Separate names with a comma.