Blog/Grammar tips
17 November 2023
3 min read

Decoding English Spelling: Understanding Traveling vs Travelling

The English language is rich and varied, which sometimes leads to confusion, especially with words like "traveling" or "travelling." Are they different words, or is one of them a misspelling? This article will clear up the confusion, providing you with the knowledge to use these spellings correctly.

Understanding 'Traveling/Travelling'

The word in question is the present participle or gerund form of the verb "travel." The confusion arises from the spelling differences between American English and British English.

The Rule in Detail

  • Base Verb: Travel
  • American English: Traveling (One 'l')
  • British English: Travelling (Double 'l')

Examples in Context

  • American English: She loves traveling across the United States.
  • British English: He's been travelling through Europe this summer.

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Exploring Variations with Examples

The difference in spelling is a result of a general rule in American and British English regarding the doubling of the final consonant when adding a suffix:

  • American English: Travel + ing = Traveling
  • British English: Travel + ing = Travelling

Full Paragraph Examples

  1. In a Travel Blog (US): "Traveling solo can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It teaches self-reliance and gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace."
  2. In a Travel Guide (UK): "Travelling through the Scottish Highlands, you'll encounter breathtaking landscapes and historic castles."

Summary and Key Insights

The spelling 'traveling' with one 'l' is used in American English, while 'travelling' with double 'l' is preferred in British English. This distinction is part of a broader pattern of spelling differences between these two variants of English.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 'traveling' ever correct in British English?

While 'travelling' is the standard in British English, 'traveling' might occasionally be used, but it's less common.

Can the spelling affect the meaning of the word?

No, the meaning of 'traveling/travelling' remains the same regardless of the spelling.

Are there other verbs that follow this rule?

Yes, verbs like 'cancel' (canceling/cancelling) and 'worship' (worshiping/worshipping) follow the same pattern.

How can I remember which spelling to use?

A simple tip is to remember that American English often prefers simpler spellings. So, for American English, it's 'traveling' with one 'l'.

Does this spelling difference appear in other forms of the word?

Yes, it does. For example, 'traveler' (US) and 'traveller' (UK).


Understanding the nuances of English spelling, such as 'traveling' versus 'travelling,' enhances your writing and communication skills. It's a small detail, but it reflects a broader understanding of the language's diversity. Whether you're an avid traveler or a student of English, these distinctions are valuable in navigating the rich landscape of the language.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does this rule apply to all words ending in 'l' in British English?

Mostly, yes. In British English, if a word ends in a vowel followed by 'l', the 'l' is often doubled when a suffix is added.

Are there exceptions to this rule in American English?

There are a few exceptions. For example, 'enrol' becomes 'enrolling' and 'enrolled' in American English, despite the general preference for not doubling the 'l'.

Why does American English often have simpler spellings?

This is partly due to Noah Webster, who advocated for simplified spellings in his dictionaries to create a distinct American form of English.

Can using the wrong spelling affect my grades in school?

It depends on the context and the teacher's preferences. It's always best to use the spelling that aligns with the version of English you are being taught or used in your region.

Is it important to be consistent with American or British spellings in my writing?

Yes, consistency is key in writing. It's advisable to stick to one form of English spelling throughout a single piece of writing to maintain clarity and style.

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