When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

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When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

Post by Kangas on Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:33 pm

This is one of the major issues for someone learning English as a second language. Well it certainly was for me when I was at school and I still see some people having trouble with it ... Embarassed

Today we're going to show you different examples that might cause some issues. Exclamation

In English, we use "l" and "ll" to form adverbs or to form the past tense of some verbs. We should also consider the difference between British and American English. You will find all these cases explained below... Very Happy

  • Adverbs
    Adverbs are words that tell us about a verb. They're used after a verb and they qualify that particular verb.
    Example: Sophie drove carefully along the narrow road.

    Many adverbs are made from an adjective and the suffix "ly". But it doesn't happen to all adverbs. We will be posting another topic about advebs only. This is just to show you when to use "l" or "ll".

    Adjective Adverb
    quick quickly
    seriousseriously
    careful carefully
    quiet quietly
    heavy heavily
    bad badly

    As you can see, in most cases we use only one "l", however if the adjective ends with an "l" it will need "ll" to form the adverb.

    Adjective Adverb
    careful carefully
    usualusually
    unusualunusually
    financial financially
    special specially
    normal normally
    naturalnaturally


  • Verbs
    Verbs are one of the major grammatical groups. They must be present in every sentence and they can be action verbs or state verbs. Action Vebs refer to actions (break, buy, move). State Verbs refer to states (be, like, own).

    For verbs ending in "l", the past and past participle are formed by having "ll" before "ing" and "ed" whether the final syllabe is stressed or not.

    Infinitive Past Participle Simple Past
    travel travelling travelled
    cancel cancelling cancelled
    call calling called

    NOTE:
    We DO NOT double the final consonant if there are two vowel letters before it ("oil", "eed", etc).
    Example: Boil/boiling/boiled


  • British Vs American English
    Even though Europeans learn British English at school, the truth is we're all greatly influenced by American culture and American English due to films, tv series and other American programmes we come in contact with. Although it's the same language, there are some differences and those differences can cause trouble if you're not a native speaker.

    Some words that are spelt with "ll" in British English only use "l" in American English.

    British English American English
    cancel/cancelling/cancelled cancel/canceling/canceled
    travel/travelling/travelled travel/traveling/traveled
    woollen woolen
    counsellor counselor
    medallist medalist
    jeweller jeweler
    initialled initialed
    labelled labeled
    signalled signaled
    totalled totaled


Hopefully this will help you solve this issue.

Kangas

Source: English Grammar in Use, Using English.com, Bee Dictionary


Last edited by Kangas on Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:56 am; edited 1 time in total

Kangas

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Re: When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

Post by MistyMoon on Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:32 am

This is one of the best posts I've read here.
As many others, I'm one of those who learned english as a second language. And this is one of my major doubts while writing in english!
Thank you so much for this more than useful posts

Kind regards
MistyMoon

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Re: When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

Post by Kangas on Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:03 am

Hi MistyMoon

I'm very glad the post was helpful. This is indeed one of the major issues, for people learning English as a second language. Smile

And the mix between British and American English sometimes creates more problems, since we learn British English at school but then we always tend to write and speak American English. I had that problem myself ... Embarassed

Then things like the one shown in my post or verbs that are usually irregular in British English are written as regular. For example in your post you have verb to learn written in its regular past tense, however in British English that verb is irregular (even though you can use it both ways) - learnt. It is not wrong, of course, but it's a common thing ...

Hope you keep enjoying our Forum and finding our posts helpful. Feel free to ask any questions. We will be very pleased to help you. Smile

Regards

Kangas

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Re: When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

Post by MistyMoon on Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:58 am

I wasn't expecting to have a "language counsellor" online.
Thank you very much for correcting me. I don't write english frequently and I admit I forgot some of what I was taught.
This an excellent way for me to "re-learn" how to properly write the british language Smile

Thank you again for your help

MistyMoon

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Re: When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

Post by Kangas on Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:49 am

Hi Mistymoon

Feel free to ask anytime. It will be a pleasure to help you.

Regards

Kangas

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Re: When should we use "l" or "ll" in English?

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