Your Role Is To Use ‘Enrol’ Correctly

Your Role Is To Use ‘Enrol’ Correctly

So here’s the thing: enroll is not a word that exists in Australian English. The correct form is enrol. The Americans might do it differently, but down under, that’s how we roll.

Picture: David Jackmanson

I understand how this is confusing. There are relatively few verbs in English that end with a single ‘l’ (extol is the other one that readily comes to mind). We’re used to seeing the doubled-up consonant in past tense-forms such as filled or thrilled, so it’s understandable that we end up assuming that enrol also follows that spelling in the present tense. But it doesn’t.

The relevant spellings to learn are enrol, enrolment, enrolling, enrolled. In Australia, you enrol to vote. You don’t enroll. End of story.

Like any of the rules we discuss here at Mind Your Language, this usage might change over time. There may well be a point in the future where ‘enroll’ becomes the normal spelling (as it already has in US English). But it hasn’t happened yet. And even when it does, you can be sure there will still be strange exceptions to learn. That’s the nature of language. Accuracy matters.

Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


  • Travel and model come to mind faster than extol. I still remember covering this at school at about age 7. It’s the single l vs double l of -ed and -ing that gives me the most grief after living in the US for a while.

    On the subject of rol- “role out” is one of my pet hates. I can’t even see how people jump to “role” over “roll”, when rolling something seems such a natural idea.

      • No..! actually Role as apposed to rol, is Grammar, not spelling. Whether or not spelling is considered Grammar is a bone of contention, but I was taught that spelling “is” grammar…! 🙂

        • Have you been possessed by Vicky Pollard?

          (Now I’m stuck with the extraordinary question of what Vicky and Timmahh’s offspring might be like… )

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