Labelled vs. labeled

Hi!

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!
Andreas
 
  • George French

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

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

    GF..

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

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    AE English normally uses a single l. Both are correct.

    The Compact Oxford English Dictionary offers:

    verb (labelled, labelling; US labeled, labeling)
     

    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.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    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.

    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.

    label/ˈleɪbl/

    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)
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    MoMott

    New Member
    English - USA
    Hi!

    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!
    Andreas

    Yes, in general, BE will use ll where AE uses l for -ed and -ing endings. However, I've also discovered (back in 2014 while writing copy for a fashion house) that ll is used when the word is employed as an adjective vs a verb: travelling companion vs my friend is traveling.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I've also discovered (back in 2014 while writing copy for a fashion house) that ll is used when the word is employed as an adjective vs a verb: travelling companion vs my friend is traveling.

    I hope US/European media expert SDGraham will comment on this.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The US position is quite clear in this Ngram plot (the LL version is rare in "traveling salesman") while the GB database favours the LL - with single L growing (probably due to increasing misclassification of AE texts as BE in the database :()

    But don't worry, the principle of preservation of consonants is at work in BE with spellings like instil, instal and fulfil :D
     
    Last edited:

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Here on this side of the pond, we use a single 'l,' whether it be for the gerund or an adjective.

    For example, Ricky Nelson had a 1961 pop music hit I'm a Travelin' Man

    also:
    Traveling Salesmen - Wikipedia
    Traveling Salesmen - Wikipedia

    Also jeweled, beveled, etc.

    I do not find it surprising however, that an America fashion house would use the British version, since the world of fashion not only has its own jargon, but also frequently uses foreign spelling, apparently in the belief that such things are more elegant.

    As a side note, the same faux élégance is often employed in American wedding invitations that request the recipient to "honour" the bridal couple's families by attending the fête.:rolleyes:;)

    [cross posted]
     
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