Labelled vs. labeled

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Andreas_Jensen, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Andreas_Jensen Senior Member


    I've discovered that this word can be spelled in both ways. However, my Microsoft dictionary (set to AE) always corrects "labelled" (which is my preferred spelling) to "labeled". Therefore, I was wondering if "labeled" is AE and "labelled" is BE and in order to write consistent AE I should always use "labeled"?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    My uk-en dictionary gives only the ll version

    A quick look at the & the 2 reference dictionaries (US "bias") have the l version.


    Not conclusive; but highly indicative of the correctness of your prosit.
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    AE English normally uses a single l. Both are correct.

    The Compact Oxford English Dictionary offers:

    verb (labelled, labelling; US labeled, labeling)
  4. luo.mai Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    For what it's worth, I am American whose instinct is to write labelled, travelled, etc. So, while the dictionaries may indicate a general preference for single l in the U.S. and double l in Britain (and I assume they have surveyed a great number of texts), there's not such a clear U.S./U.K. split as in, for example, color vs. colour.
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I thought this thread was settled five years ago, but: As I found myself doing when I worked for a short stretch in the UK, ex-pats often pick up European usage.


    verb (labels, labelling, labelled; US labels, labeling, labeled)
    • 1 attach a label to.

    • 2 assign to a category, especially inaccurately.

    • 3 Biology & Chemistry make (a substance, cell, etc.) identifiable using a label.

    It's pretty clear to me (and my spell-checker)
  6. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    The general rule is that verbs ending in a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, with the stress on the last syllable, and also monosyllabic verbs, double that last consonant when a suffix is added: forget -> forgetting; prefer -> preferred; plan -> planned; rebel -> rebelled. However, when the stress is not on the last syllable, the final consonant is not doubled: happen -> happening; target -> targeted.

    For reasons unknown, BrE makes an exception when the final consonant is L, so we have labelled and levelled, even though the stress is not on the last syllable. Obviously that's how I habitually spell these words, but I can see it's yet another difficulty for foreigners.

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