Monday, January 31, 2011

Domestic comedy

[The school-closings crawl crawls along the bottom of the television screen.]

… canceled … canceled …

“Isn’t that spelled with two ls?”

“It can be either way.”

[And then, as if the television were listening.]

… canceled … cancelled …

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comments: 3

Elaine said...

My 'rule' for doubling a consonant: if the emphasis is on the first syllable, there is no need to double the final consonant in the root word (CANcel, canceled--though in this case, go figure, usually I do use double L.) If the emphasis is on the final syllable of the root word, as in 'ocCUR,' double the final consonant: occurred.

Michael Leddy said...

I don’t think this rule always works though: I just thought of repeal as a counter-example. I find myself going for the single consonant when both forms are correct.

Elaine said...

Yeah, it's hard to come up with any algorithm for English orthography that works every time. At the same time, my LD students did benefit from having structures that helped them decipher (and reproduce) the words they met (or needed.)