Appal vs. Appall – What’s the Difference?

Marcus Froland

Picture this: you’re reading a gripping novel or writing an important email, and you come across the words “appal” and “appall.” A wave of confusion might wash over you. Which one should you use? Both look so similar, yet they seem to have a subtle difference.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people, even native English speakers, find themselves puzzled by these two words. In this article, we’ll clear up the confusion and help you understand when to use “appal” and when to use “appall.” Let’s make sure your writing is always spot-on and free from doubt.

The difference between Appal and Appall lies in their usage in British and American English. “Appal” is predominantly used in British English, while “Appall” is the preferred spelling in American English. Both words have the same meaning: to greatly dismay or horrify. For example, “His rude behavior might appal her” (British) or “His rude behavior might appall her” (American).

Although both spellings are accepted, it’s essential to be consistent in your writing. If you’re writing for a British audience, stick to “appal”. For an American audience, use “appall”. The context and audience determine the correct usage of these words.

Understanding the Meanings

Understanding “appal” and “appall” helps us know how to use them correctly. These words have stayed similar in meaning since Middle English. However, their spellings have changed over time.

Origins and Etymology

The terms “appal” and “appall” began in Middle English as “apallen, appallen.” They meant losing strength, emotion, or honor. This came from the Middle French “apalir,” meaning to turn pale, and from Old French “palir.” Despite spelling changes, their meaning has stayed consistent. Knowing the appal etymology helps us understand its history and evolution.

Consistency is Key

Using “appal” or “appall” consistently is crucial in academic writing. It removes confusion and ensures your points are clear. This is very important in academic work, where every word must be exact. Whether you choose “appal” or “appall,” using the same spelling makes your writing better.

Appal vs. Appall in Different Variants of English

The words “appal” and “appall” have different spellings in English. It’s important to know these differences. This way, you can choose the right form for your audience and region.

British English Preference

In British English, “appal” is spelled with one “l”. Many other English-speaking places also do this. It shows a love for keeping language simple and true to its roots. For example, in the UK, someone might say, “To appal those who read the report, the author detailed the harsh conditions.” This style matches what people in Britain and elsewhere prefer in their writing.

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American and Canadian English Preference

In American and Canadian English, “appall” is spelled with two “l”s. This double “l” is mainstream in these areas. It marks a unique way these countries use English. For instance, an American might say, “The documentary aims to appall the audience with its graphic depiction of reality.” Recognizing these spelling choices helps in communicating well and following regional norms.

Example Sentences

Let’s look at how “appal” and “appall” are used in real life. This will help improve your English skills. We’ll explore their roles in both British and American English. Doing this will make the differences clear and show them in action.

British English Examples

In British English, “appal” usually has one “l”. Here are some examples:

  • It is tragic to see such cruelty, and to appal those who witness it.
  • The news of the disaster seemed to appal the entire nation.

These show how “appal” is consistently used in British English. They provide clear examples of its use.

American English Examples

In American English, “appall” has two “l”s. Here are examples to see:

  • The director’s goal is to appall viewers with the reality of poverty.
  • Her decision to drop out at such a critical time will appall her parents.

These sentences show “appall” fitting well in American English. They help us understand its use.

Looking at these examples teaches us about each word. It enriches our grasp of how they’re used in sentences.

Common Ground: Inflections

Both “appal” and “appall” show they share roots in British and American English. This is seen in their inflected forms. Adjectives and verbs from these words keep the same spelling in different English types. This ensures they follow grammar rules.

Appalling as an Adjective

In its adjective form, it becomes “appalling” with two “l”s, in both British and American English. This word strongly indicates causing fear or shock. An example is, “The news was absolutely appalling.”

Appalled in Past Tense

In past tense, the word changes to “appalled.” This change aids in clear communication about past emotions or reactions. For example, “The audience was appalled by the unexpected ending.” It shows the “ll” form stays the same, regardless of the English dialect.

Historical Usage Trends

The words “appal” and “appall” take us on an interesting journey through English history. First used in the 14th century, they meant to weaken, fade, or fail. But over time, they came to mean causing shock or dismay. This shift shows how languages evolve.

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The spellings “appal” and “appall” have changed over time, affected by where people live. In the late 1800s, “appall” with two “l”s became popular in the U.S. and Canada. This change matches how American and Canadian English shift spellings for clarity.

Meanwhile, “appal” with one “l” stayed popular outside North America, especially in British English. But in North America, “appal” started to fade. Language records and studies show more people preferred “appall” with two “l”s there. Yet, “appal” remained common in other English-speaking areas for a long time.

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