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Fulfil vs. Fulfill

Updated on May 22, 2019Grammar
  • Fulfil and fulfill are both correct spellings of the same word. It means “to put into effect,” “to achieve,” “to carry out,” or “to realize.”
  • Fulfil is the spelling commonly used in English speaking countries like the UK and Australia.
  • Fulfill is the spelling commonly used in the United States.
  • In Canada, they use both spellings.

Fulfill is one of those words with multiple spellings. It can end with two l’s or with one, depending on where the person writing the word is from.

Fulfil vs. fulfill—what’s the difference?

We use fulfill to say that we did something we promised, that we carried out a duty, or that we realized or put into effect something that someone entrusted us to do.

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There are two ways you can spell the word—fulfill and fulfil. Neither of the spellings is wrong. The longer one, fulfill, is the spelling you’ll see people use in the United States:

I’ll fulfill Mary’s wish and get her a bike for the birthday.

In other English-speaking countries, people spell the word fulfil:

He promised he’ll be back by the end of the year, so there’s still time to fulfil that promise.

You can come across both spellings in Canada.

Most of the inflected forms of the word retain the double l, regardless of dialect. That’s why you’ll see fulfilling, fulfilled, and fulfiller in all English-speaking countries. A notable exception is the word fulfillment, which follows the same rules as the root word:

Peter didn’t get much fulfillment from good grades.

You can find fulfilment in helping other people.

Fulfill vs fulfil examples

Fulfill in the US

In what’s expected to be Watson’s final game at Death Valley, the Tigers junior will look to fulfill his youthful promise to “never lose to the Gamecocks.”

But on his 10th LP the country superstar sounds more like he’s fulfilling obligations, striking a series of familiar and expected Garth-like poses.

Fulfillment centers are giant warehouses that help online retailers store and ship products and handle returns quickly.

Fulfil outside of the US

Pictures of the huge distribution centre, in Peterborough, show staff racing to fulfil orders amongst miles of shelves packed with thousands of different products.

Belfast Council chief executive Suzanne Wylie has pointed out that Belfast is not currently fulfilling its potential and, as a consequence, is “lagging behind” other cities in the UK.

But critics say it’s not as simple as that, they claim in many cases people are being shunted onto other benefits unfairly and the result isn’t fulfilment but hardship.

American English and British English are different in many small, almost unnoticeable ways. When it comes to spelling, Americans usually prefer the shorter words, like “benefited” over “benefitted” or “check” over “cheque”, but every once in a while they choose to use the longer spelling, like fulfill.

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