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22/02/2009

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MM

I think you're right and it's about the shift of stress. In fact, transferor is pronounced with the stress on the last syllable, whereas transferrer has it on the second - I've heard both.
The word that has confused me is formatting. Stress on for-, should be written formating - or does the rule not apply to A?

Peter Harvey

The rule is that a consonant is doubled after a stressed syllable. This is why we have preferred but proffered. Bizarrely, there is an exception (British but not American English) for words that end in -el so we have travelled, revelling, etc. This means that transferor and transferrer are both correct.

I think the doubt arises because of the equivocal stress on transfer which shifts and sometimes is even. The same is true of format, which explains the uncertainty there. There should be no doubt, following the rule, about a single s in focusing etc. but the doubled form focussing is found, and is standard in American English.

Barrie

More to do with convention than stress? We can stomach doubling before '-ed' and 'ing' in a verb, but tend to avoid it elsewhere?

Peter Harvey

It's a part of the rule that consonants are doubled before an ending when the preceding vowel is short. This rule applies too when the consonant is r, for example care and carry. Revere makes revered with a single r.

The doubling of l in British English defies all reason.

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