Modeling or Modelling

If you are reading a newspaper in English, you might come across a word with a certain spelling. And then you will see that word, with one or two different letters. There might be some typos in one of these words. Or they are all correct. Just they have different English.

When you have the spelling and grammar setting in Word to check for your typing in English (United States), the word “modeling” is accepted. However, if you type in the word “modelling”, it will automatically change to “modeling” for you. Or there would be red dots under the word, signaling that you are misspelling the word.

However, if you set the spelling and grammar setting in Word following the English (United Kingdom) dictionary, the word “modelling” is the right spelling.

Hence, if you are looking for the right spelling of the gerund form of the verb “model”, the answer would be “It depends”.

What Does “Model” Mean?

The word “model” which is of our main focus for this article is a verb, which is to form something or showcase a piece of clothes.

However, the original form of the word “model” is a noun. This word started to appear during the late 16th century. It means the design of something, which is made in scale with the real object. This word still means the same in the modern English. The origin root of the word comes from a Latin word, which is “Modus”, meaning “measure”. Then the original Latin word is adapted into “modelle” in French and “modello” in Italian.

The word “mode” was then used as a verb in the late 17th century. During this time, it has the original meaning of forming or creating something in scale with other objects. It is only until modern time of the 20th century that the verb “model” picks up the second definition. It now means “to show or display a piece of clothing or other fashion items”.

Modeling Vs. Modelling

Both of the words are meaningful. And whether you are modelling or modeling, it all means the same thing. The only difference is one letter “l”. The word “modeling” with 1 letter “l” is accepted in English written in the American English style.

On the other hand, the word “modelling” with 2 letters “l” is accepted and preferred in British English as well as other places except in the United States.

This case also applied when you form the simple past form of the verb “mode”. For example, if you say you have finished working on something with the inspiration from something else, you would say: “I have modeled my work after her work”. Or you can say “I have modelled my work”. Both of the sentences are correct in spelling. However, the former sentence is the one that you can see in American English. The latter is the one that you can see in other English from other countries.

If you like to create handcrafted items such as airplanes or ships, you can call yourself a modeler. Of course, this word with 1 single letter “l” is used in American English. And if you want to speak British English or other English, it is preferable that you say you are a “modeller”.

Is There Any Rule?

As I mentioned above, the word “model” is a verb. And it is a verb that ends with a consonant then a stressed vowel and a consonant. Hence, when you add a suffix also starting with a vowel, you will double the last letter of the word- the consonant. That is the standard British English’s rule which is applied in many English speaking countries.

  • Model >>> Modelling, modelled, and modeller.
  • Travel >>> Traavelling, travelled, and traveller.
  • Equal >>> Equalling
  • Exception: Parallel >>> Paralleling (double the “l” might lead to too many letters “l” in a single word)

In American English, there is no such rule. For a verb which ends with a stressed vowel, you simply add a suffix without adding any other letter.

  • Model >>> modeling, modeled, and modeler.
  • Travel >>> Traveling, traveled, and traveler.
  • Equal >>> Equaling
  • Exception: Some verbs ending in –pel will be doubled with the consonant “l” when they are added with a suffix. E.g.: repel – repelled or repelling, compel – compelling or compelled
  • Exception: The word “format” will have its consonant doubled when you add a suffix. It is both used in British English and American English. Format >>> formatting or formatted
  • Another word which has its last consonant doubled in both British English and American English is “kidnap”. Kidnap >>> kidnapped or kidnapping or kidnapper.

There are no right or wrong answers for the question “whether it is modelling or modeling?” That is the reason why you can use the form you prefer. Still, if you are expected to write in a certain style or certain English, remember that 1 letter “l” is for American English and 2 letters “l” is for British English and other styles of English, which are spoken and written outside the US.

Overall, British English and American English have quite a few differences in spellings or word choices. It make learning English becomes more challenging but also more interesting. I hope this article can help to clear out a very popular debate between British English and American English. Last but not least, make use of the dictionary to make sure you have the best choice of word or spelling.

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