Enrolment vs. Enrollment – What’s the Difference?

There are many spelling differences between American and British English. One involves the doubling of consonants before suffixing. The British are much more likely to do so than their American counterparts, but enrolment and enrollment are an exception to this general rule.

These two spellings are variants of the same word, but they are standard in different language communities. Continue reading to learn more about the meaning of these words, and whether you should choose enrolment or enrollment in your own writing.

What is the Difference Between Enrolment and Enrollment?

In this article, I will compare enrolment vs. enrollment. I will give you an idea of what these words should look like in context by using them in example sentences.

Then, I will show you how to use a memory tool that will make it easy to choose between these two words.

When to Use Enrolment

Definition of enrolment definition of enrolment definitionWhat does enrolment mean? Enrolment is a noun that can refer either to the number of people signed up for school or other services or the act of signing up for school or other services.

I have included a few examples here,

  • The enrolment of women in STEM fields at American Universities is growing, though it still significantly trails male enrolment.
  • The matchmaking site’s disclaimer read, “Your enrolment in the company’s services does not guarantee you a suitable spouse.”
  • Competition between retailers will help keep inflation in check but the double whammy from energy prices and sterling could hardly have come at a worse time, since businesses are already having to cope with a higher minimum wage, pension auto-enrolment and the apprenticeship levy. –The Guardian

Enrolment is the standard spelling in British English, which breaks the general rule that British words carry with them an extra consonant.

In many cases, such as traveling-travelling, canceled-cancelled, totaled-totalled, labeled-labelled, etc., it is the British spelling that contains the two –ll’s. But, in the case of enrolment, the standard spelling in British English only has one L.

Other inflected forms of the word still carry two –ll’s, just not enrolment.

For example, here is an entry from the popular British usage guide Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage,

enrol. So spelt, with -ll- in the inflected forms (enroller, enrolled, enrolling, enrolment). In AmE, the usual forms are enroll, enroller, enrolled, enrolling, enrollment).

I’m not sure if there is a history behind the one “L” in enrolment or not, but the important takeaway is that if you are writing to a primarily British audience, enrolment is the standard spelling.

When to Use Enrollment

Define enrolment and define enrolmentWhat does enrollment mean? Enrollment is a variation of the same word, applicable in all the same contexts and carrying all of the same meetings.

Enrollment is standard in American English, whereas enrolment is standard in British English.

For example,

  • Enrollment in Medicaid could exempt you from fees related to being uninsured in America.
  • Enrollment in accounting programs hit a record in 2014, surpassing 250,000 for the first time since at least the 1993-94 school year, according to a study by the American Institute of CPAs, a trade group. –The Wall Street Journal

Again, as I mentioned above, these spelling conventions break the general rule that American spellings drop the extra consonant.

If you are an American writer, you will want to spell the word enrollment.

Usage Patterns in American-British English

Here is a chart that plots enrollment vs. enrolment in American English:

enrolment versus enrolment

As you can see, the double –ll spelling dominates in American prose. The two spellings aren’t even close, which demonstrates the importance of spelling the word with two –ll’s for American writers.

In British English, however, the picture looks quite different,

how to spell enrolment

In this chart, the two spellings are much closer, but enrolment is clearly the more common choice.

It’s important to note that these graphs are not 100 percent exhaustive in their scope, since they only look at data from books published in English since 1800. Still, they are useful for identifying a clear, long-term trend.

Trick to Remember the Difference

As long as you can remember where each spelling variant is standard, choosing enrollment or enrolment is simple. We are in luck, since there is an easy way to remember when to use each word.

Enrollment has an extra L, just like the American city of Dallas, TX. Just as you are more likely to meet a person from Dallas in the United States, you would also be much more likely to see the word spelled enrollment in the United States.

Summary

Is it enrolment or enrollment? Enrolment and enrollment are two variants of the same word.

  • Enrolment (with one L) is standard in British English.
  • Enrollment (with two L’s) is standard in American English.

Both words mean the act of signing up for services or the number of people signed up for a given service.

Enrollment and Dallas each have two L’s, so it might be helpful to remember that they are both American.

Remember, you can always reread this article if you need a quick refresher.