May 29, 2009

Single L or Double L

·       Dropping the second L in a prefix:

If a prefix ends with a double L is added to another word to form a compound word, the double L becomes a single L.  For Example:

All+most= almost, All+ready=Already, All+right=Already
All+though=Although, All+ways=Always, Full+Fill=Fulfil
Full+some=Fulsome, Skill+full=Skilful, Well+come=Welcome.

·       Full or Ful:

The only word ending full that takes a double L is ‘full itself.’  Otherwise, there is always a single L—or –ful when it is the last syllable of a word of two or more syllables.  For example, there are the following adjectives:

Bashful      fitful           mournful             successful
Beautiful   frightful     painful                 tearful
Careful       fruitful       peaceful               thoughtful
Colourful  grateful      pitiful                  useful
Similarly, ‘till’ with the prefix becomes ‘until’

·       Keeping both is when adding –ly to words ending in L.

There are always two Ls if the suffix –ly is added to a word ending in L.  If an –ly is added to any of these adjectives ending in –ful in order to form adverbs, they take –fully ending, as follows:

 Accident+ly: Accidentally, Actual+ly: Actually,
Cool+ly: Coolly, Cruel+ly: cruelly, Cynical+ly: cynically,
Final+ly: finally, Total+ly: totally, usual+ly: usually. 
 When a word does not end in L then generally we follow the straight forward rule of adding –ly when converting an adjective to an adverb.
Complete+ly: completely, Definite+ly: definitely, Extreme+ly: extremely, Friend+ly: friendly, Interest+ly: interestingly.  
Let’s discuss some exceptions to the general straight forward rule of adding –ly. 

·       When the –ly suffix is added to a word or stem ending Y, this latter Y changes to I.  Thus…

 Busy+ly: Busily, Crazy+ly: Crazily, Fancy+ly: Fancily, Hungry+ly: hungrily, Ready+ly: Readily, Steady+ly: Steadily.  

·       Adding Ly after IC:

A word ending in –Ic adds –ally, instead of plain –ly, to become –ically.
Analytic+ally: Analytically, Atheletic+ally: Athletically. Automatic becomes automatically, fantastically, scientifically, basically, frantically, comically, historically, statistically.  
Public becomes publicly not publically as this is an exception.  

·       -ble becomes –bly, and –ple becomes –ply. 

Adjectives ending in-ble changes the –e to –y to achieve an –ly adverbial ending.  This also rule also applies in case of –ple ending.
Ample- Amply, Capable-capably, durable- durably, favourable- favourably, Humble becomes humbly.  

Exceptions: Truly, Duly, Wholly, Dully, Fully, 


  1. 8-)Very useful post to share with students, it's nice to see some good spelling rules. Thanks Sudam.


  2. Why does the word " Accident " becomes Accidentally
    The word accident is not ending with a L.
    Shouldn't it be "Accidently" according to the rule?

    1. This word have an alternate spelling ,So you can spell it "Accidently" but some dictionaries spell it only accidentally !! it's still kind of confusing though : )

    2. It can't be (shouldn't be ) "accidently"; the "-ly" to form an adverb goes, as usual, on the end of the adjective -- which is "accidental", not "accident".


Rest assured your comments will go a long way in improving this blog. Your consistent visit and patronization is highly solicited. Thanks