Double-up – or not

March 2020: Double-letter or single-letter spelling in English words

2020.03.06 | CKR/LVS

Photo: Marco Verch (trendingtopics), Flickr

Sometimes, it can be somewhat difficult to figure out whether an English word takes a single vowel or consonant and when it takes two.

Below, you’ll find a quick-and-dirty overview of some of the most common double-/single-letter pitfalls. 

Loose

Lose

Adjective. Not fitting tightly or closely: The pants were loose and comfy to wear.

Verb. To no longer have something or to be defeated: The Beatles’ ‘You’re Going To Lose That Girl’ came out in 1965.

Looser

Loser

Adjective. Comparative form of ‘loose’: As the pounds came off, the clothes became looser.

Noun. Someone who loses, has lost something or is disadvantaged: He felt like a loser throughout his high school years.

Choose

Chose

Verb. Infinitive: She didn’t know how to choose between the two alternatives.

Verbum. Past tense: He chose to live life by his own rules.

Too

To

Adverb. In addition, also: All her friends went to the beach, so she decided to go too.

Preposition. Indicates movement toward a place, thing or person: She went to the doctor’s and found out she was 2 months pregnant.

Off

Of

Adverb. Away from something/someone/ somewhere, removed, not in operation: She rode off into the sunset. He took his socks off. The TV was turned off.

Preposition. Expresses possession: She quickly drank a glass of wine.


Cancelled

Canceled

Verb. The double-letter spelling is primarily used in British English. The same applies to modelled, travelled, fuelled, among others.

Verb. The single-letter spelling is primarily used in American English. The same applies to modeled, traveled, fueled, among others.

Staff