Spelling Tips: Fulfil or Fulfill?
  • 3-minute read
  • 10th September 2021

Spelling Tips: Fulfil or Fulfill?

‘Fulfil’ and ‘fulfill’ are different spellings of the same word. So, can you use them interchangeably in your writing? The key question is which dialect you’re using. Read on to find out how to use ‘fulfil’ and ‘fulfill’ correctly.

What Does Fulfil Mean?

‘Fulfil’ is a verb that means ‘meet a promise, expectation, or requirement’:

The shop was able to fulfil my order.

I am determined to fulfil my duties as a proofreader.

It can also be used to describe something that makes someone happy or satisfied:

He wants to find a job that will fulfil him.

As shown above, moreover, the standard spelling for this term in Australian English is ‘fulfil’, with a single ‘l’ at the end. The same applies to British English.

Fulfil or Fulfill: Australian vs. American English

So, what does ‘fulfill’ (with a double ‘l’ at the end) mean? Exactly the same as ‘fulfil’! The only difference is that ‘fulfill’ is the standard spelling in American English:

The shop was able to fulfill my order.

I am determined to fulfill my duties as a proofreader.

He wants to find a job that will fulfill him.

The correct term to use will therefore depend on the dialect you are using. If you are writing for an American audience, you will need to use ‘fulfill’, with a double ‘l’ at the end. But for other English dialects, you will usually need ‘fulfil‘, with a single ‘l’.

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If you are using a style guide, moreover, you may want to check for advice on which dialect to use (and any specific spelling preferences to follow).

Note, though, that both versions have a single ‘l’ in the middle. As a result, spellings like ‘fullfil’ or ‘fullfill’ will always be mistakes and need correcting!

Variations on Fulfil

The spelling of ‘fulfil’ can get a bit more confusing when you start adding suffixes. For example, for any word formed by adding a vowel suffix to ‘fulfil’, the doubling up rule applies (e.g. ‘fulfilled’ or ‘fulfilling’). For example:

She fulfilled all the requirements of the role.

Climbing Mount Everest was the most fulfilling experience of my life.

However, when you add a suffix that begins with a consonant, the Australian and American spelling preferences remain. For instance:

It gave me a real sense of fulfilment. = Australian English

It gave me a real sense of fulfillment. = American English

Keep an eye out for these spelling conventions when using these words.

Summary: Fulfil or Fulfill?

While ‘fulfil’ and ‘fulfill’ are variations of the same word, there is a key difference:

  • Fulfil (with one ‘l’ at the end) is the standard spelling in Australian English.
  • Fulfill (with a double ‘l’) is the standard spelling in American English.

The spelling to use will thus depend on what dialect you are using. However, you never need a double ‘l’ in the middle of this word, so ‘fullfil’ is always wrong.

Our expert proofreaders can check your spelling and correct any other errors in your writing. Why not try it out by uploading a document for free?

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