In British English, words that end in -l preceded by a vowel usually double the -l when a suffix is added, while in American English the letter is not doubled. The letter will double in the stress is on the second syllable.
Spelling differences between American and British English
-or vs. -our
American British color colour favorite favourite honor honour
-ll vs. -l American British enrollment enrolment fulfill fulfil skillful skilful
-og vs. -ogue American British analog analogue catalog catalogue dialog dialogue
-ck or -k vs. -que American British bank banque check cheque checker chequer
-ense vs. -enze American British defense defence license licence
-ze vs. -se
American British analyze analyse criticize criticise memorize memorise
-er vs. -re American British center centre meter metre theater theatre
-e vs. -oe or -ae American British encylopedia encylycopaedia maneuver manoeuvre medieval mediaeval
-dg vs. -dge (or -g vs. -gu) American British aging ageing argument arguement judgment judgement
Other American British jewelry jewellery draft draught pajamas pyjamas plow plough program programme tire tyre
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Base Word American British counsel counseling counselling equal equaling equalling model modeling modelling quarrel quarreling quarrelling signal signaling signalling travel traveling travelling excel excelling excelling propel propelling propelling
Spelling of verbs
This is related to formation of the past participle for verbs. For a complete list of irregular verb spellings, see Susan Jones' Complete List of English Irregular Verbs at this web site. Below is a sampling of the three main categories of differeneces with verbs.
-ed vs. -t
The first category involves verbs that use -ed or -t for the simple past and past participle. Generally, the rule is that if there is a verb form with -ed, American English will use it, and if there is a form with -t, British English uses it. However, these forms do not exist for every verb and there is variation. For example, both American and British English would use the word 'worked' for the past form of 'to work', and in American English it is common to hear the word 'knelt' as the past tense of 'to kneel'.
base form vs. -ed
Base form American British to dream dreamed dreamt to leap leaped leapt to learn leareded learnt
The second category of difference includes verbs that use either the base form of the verb or the -ed ending for the simple past.
irregular vs. -ed
Base form American British to fit fit fitted to forecast forecast forecasted to wed wed wedded
The third category of difference includes verbs that have either an irregular spelling or the -ed ending for the simple past.
So what does tall his mean for learners of English? In the beginning, unfortunately, it means a lot of memorization (or memorisation) and of course, a few mistakes. For spoken English, the differences are barely audible, so forge ahead and don't be too concerned with whether a word is spelled 'dwelled' or 'dwelt'. With written English, however, if you are unsure about the spelling, better to ask your teacher or look the word up in the dictionary and see what the experts say.
Base form American British to knit knit knitted to light lit lighted to strive strove strived