Smokey vs. smoky

Smokey is a proper noun and first name, whereas smoky is an adjective referring to an object being filled with or smelling of smoke. Until recently smokey was an accepted spelling of smoky in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, it is now thought of as … [Read more...]

Orthopedic vs. orthopaedic

Orthopedic is the Americanized version of the word orthopaedic. Both refer to the medical specialty focusing on the body’s musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopaedic comes from the Greek orthos (straight) and paidion (child), which … [Read more...]

Enrol vs. enroll

The verb meaning to sign up or to register is spelled enroll in the U.S. Enrol, with one l, is the preferred spelling outside North America. The more American spelling is now preferred in Canadian news publications, but enrol was traditionally more common and still appears in many contexts. The … [Read more...]



Where the verb agree means to come to an agreement (on something), Americans and Canadians make it intransitive, meaning it takes a preposition, usually on or to, when it has an object. For instance, opposing parties might agree on a compromise. Outside North America, especially in the U.K., the … [Read more...]

Appal vs. appall

For the verb meaning, primarily, to dismay or shock, appal is the standard spelling outside North America. Appall is standard in the U.S. and Canada. This has been the case since the late 1800s, though the old double-l variant---which was the prevalent form everywhere until around 1800---had long … [Read more...]

Installment vs. instalment

The noun referring to something issued or paid at intervals is spelled installment in the U.S. Outside the U.S., it's spelled with one l---instalment. Canada is the only English-speaking country outside the U.S. where installment is common; it appears in 21st-century Canadian books and news … [Read more...]

Likable vs. likeable


For the adjective meaning pleasant or attractive, writers from outside North America generally use likeable. Likable---without the first e---is the preferred spelling in U.S. English. In Canadian news publications that make their content available online (which aren’t always reliable for gauging … [Read more...]

Modeling vs. modelling

In American English, the verb model becomes modeled and modeling. Outside North America, the preferred participles are modelled and modelling, with two l's. Canadians prefer the double-l forms, though the single-l forms appear about a third of the time. (In contrast, the double-l forms are almost … [Read more...]

Got vs. gotten

In American and Canadian English, the past participle of the verb get is usually gotten. For example, we might say, "I have gotten behind on my work," or, "The book was not gotten easily." Got is the participle in some uses, though, such as where has got to or have got to means must (e.g., "We have … [Read more...]

Totaled/totaling vs. totalled/totalling

In American English, the participles corresponding to the verb total are totaled and totaling---with one l. Totalled and totalling, with two l's, are the preferred spellings in varieties of English from outside the U.S. This has been the case since the early 20th century, when many verbs ending … [Read more...]

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