Worshiping and Kidnapping
The recent post on when to double the L when adding an ending to words like cancel prompted this question from David:
What about the “p” in worship. Is it “worshiping” or “worshipping”?
Like cancel, the word worship gets different treatment in British and American usage:
British usage: worship, worshipped, worshipping
American usage: worship, worshiped, worshiping
This difference applies to most spellings of this sort, but not all.
For example, take the spellings kidnapped and kidnapping.
According to what we’ve been saying about British and American usage, “kidnaping” ought to be the preferred American spelling, but it isn’t.
Merriam-Webster does acknowledge the single p spelling, but gives kidnapping first. In the case of cancel and worship, the single consonant spellings are given first and the double letter spellings are the variants.
According to the Chicago Manual of Style, when Merriam-Webster follows one spelling with a “variant,” the first spelling is the one to use.
When I typed “kidnaping” into my American version of Microsoft Word, the software immediately changed it to kidnapping.
Spelling rules are useful guides, but they do not and cannot apply to every word.
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