English spelling at times seems completely random, but it is sometimes systematic, even if there seems no good reason for the system, and if exceptions can still be found!
Take the use of single L and double L at the end of a word for example.
1. If the word has one syllable and a single vowel, we use double L – e.g. full, call, sell, will, till.
2. If there has one syllable and two vowels, we use single L – e.g. feel, crawl, steal, wheel, foal.
3. If the word has more than one syllable, we again use a single L – e.g. careful, beautiful (not beautifull), fulfil (not fulfill or fullfill), level, animal, credential, principal.
4. But if we add a suffix to a single L word, the L is generally doubled, to produce carefully, fulfilling, levelled. (American spelling scraps the double L in the past tense of level and has leveled!)
Some exceptions to point 1 are gel, nil, and pal. Gel originated as an abbreviation of gelatine. Nil is a Latin word – different procedures apply there. Pal is a word of Romany not English origin.
Can you think of any more exceptions to point 1 – or to point 2 or point 3?
Do any other final consonants have the same rules as L?