Discussion in 'English Only' started by Meysha, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Meysha

    Meysha Member

    Brisbane, Australia
    Australia, English
    Hi everyone,

    I'm writing a cover letter at the moment and just ran it through two different spell checkers and one of them picked up on this word:
    Travelling... one of them wanted to change it to Traveling (one l) the other likes it with 2 l's. ARGH!

    So I went and looked them up in the wordreference dictionary and they are both there under the same entry. So is one just American and the other British/Australian?

    I really want to use the Australian spelling because I'm applying for a job with an Aussie company.

    Thanks a million!
  2. kens

    kens Senior Member

    Canada - English
    Yes, it's another US/UK (and Australian, Canadian, etc.) thing. "Traveling" is American... and my spell-checker says that "Travelling" is the accepted spelling in Australia.
  3. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Yup. In American English, in a multisyllabic word with a final consonant directly preceded by a single vowel, that consonant does not get doubled if the stress does not fall on the last syllable.

    travel --> traveling (stress falls on the first syllable)
    marvel --> marveling (ditto)
    transfer --> transfering (ditto)

    forbid --> forbidding (doubled because the stress falls on the last syllable)
    concur --> concurring (ditto)
    defer --> deferring (ditto)

    Possible exception:

    The spelling "kidnapping" is becoming more and more common even though, according to the rules above, it should technically be "kidnaping." The reason there is hesitance about this spelling is that it causes a confusion about the pronunciation of the "a" as a long vowel.

    Hope this helps! :)
  4. sabretoof

    sabretoof Senior Member

    English - Australia
    Someone came across this one and showed it to me. I'm adding a message here in case someone else comes across it.

    In fact, transfer is doubled because the emphasis is on the last syllable for the verb, it's only on the first for the noun. There are various verb/noun pairs in this category - import and export for example.
  5. Ian Tenor Senior Member

    English UK

    Thanks, elroy, for a very clear explanation.

    May I take up one point you raise ? Most certainly the spelling 'kidnapping' is very common and, indeed, I remember having been taught no other as a child in the UK. This being said, I am very happy to use 'kidnaping' (I find it logical), but see it only rarely, it seems.

    You feel that the problem is one of hesitation of just where to put the accent, and that the risk is that the vowel will be pronounced long, as though that vowel were accented.

    I wonder, though, whether it is not simply a question of analogy with the (visually) related verb 'to nap' which does, of course, give 'napping'.

    You see the same problem with 'handicaping' / 'handicapping'. The second, though less 'correct' is, I am sure, much more common.

    Best wishes !

    Ian :)
  6. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    You already have your answer but I thought I would mention that Word 2007 and Word 2010 (and perhaps previous Word versions) allow you to set an "English (Australia)" dictionary for your documents. That would help a little.
  7. philtabest New Member


    Thats weird! I too am writing a covering letter for a job and fell at the same hurdle. I am very grateful for all of your replies to this thread.

  8. Oculus capricorni New Member

    Thanks for this information. I am English, and thought my spelling was better than average, then read somebody's spelling of traveling which to me looked as though it should be spelled travelling, so I looked it up and had already started to suspect it was something to do with the difference between English and American spelling.

    Can anyone answer me this. I have always spelt (side issue, is it spelled or spelt, I veer towards the shorter word when I am not needing to be really careful, as in a spelling forum) transitting but on American dominated astrology forums everyone spells it as transiting. To my ear that single t changes the "sit" syllable into "site".
    Very recently I started spelling it transiting, because everyone else does, but this feels wrong, and different from what I have always done.
  9. Aide-toi et le ciel t'aid Member

    Ontario, Canada
    English - Canadian
    Travelling is a Canadian spelling and British I believe, whereas traveling is American :)
  10. gramman

    gramman Senior Member

    I believe this shift in stress for noun and verb forms of transfer does not occur in AE. (See, e.g., the Collins Dictionary entry.)

    This question is discussed in a previous WRF thread:
    Different stress Brit-Am in 2-syllable verbs
  11. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    "Kidnapping" is stressed on both syllables, though the stress is greater on the "kid" part.

    "Transferring" also has stress on "fer" even where the primary stress is on "trans". And it is analogous to several other "fer" verbs, such as "referring" and "inferring".

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