As a Grammar teacher, I frequently run into words which appear similar in spelling, but have totally different meanings. In fact, changing just a single letter can completely change the definition and use case of a word! In this post, we’ll examine the difference between pedaling or pedalling so that you can avoid making a simple spelling mistake.
Which Spelling Is Correct: Pedalling or Pedaling?
In previous lessons, we have discussed the difference between American English spelling & British English spelling in writing. Just like with the words hon and hun, spelling can change depending on where you are in the world! So, how do you spell pedaling?
- Pedalling – This is the British spelling of the verb meaning to ride a bike or other equipment with a foot operated lever.
- Pedaling – This is the American English spelling of the verb pedal, meaning to ride a bike with a foot operated lever.
Takeaway: Pedalling is the British spelling & pedaling is the American spelling.
How To Use Pedaling
As we already mentioned, pedaling is the American spelling of verb version of the word pedal. The word “pedaling” acts as an action verb to describe the act of using pedals to propel a vehicle, such as a bicycle or tricycle. But let’s be honest, nobody is riding a tricycle.
- “I started pedaling up the hill to race my brother to the top.”
- “I just saw Mark pedaling his bike furiously towards the grocery store!”
Although far less common, you can also use the word “pedaling” to mean operating a musical instrument like a piano or organ.
- “She practiced her pedaling technique every day to get a smooth, even sound on the piano.”
- “The organist was a master at pedaling, using his feet to add depth and richness to the music.”
In general, the word “pedaling” refers to the act of using pedals to power or control something.
Here are some basic sentence examples of how to use the American English spelling “pedaling“.
- “I put on my helmet and started pedaling towards the park to find my friend Jake.”
- “She spent hours pedaling on the stationary bike trying to lose weight before New Years.”
- “The young boy struggled to keep his balance as he began pedaling on his bike for the firs time.”
- “The piano player’s pedaling technique was impeccable, she was the best musician in the performance.”
- “I was out of breath by the time I finished pedaling up the steep hill. I guess I need to improve my cardio!”
How To Use Pedalling
The word pedalling is used exactly the same as pedaling! It is a verb that means to propel your bike forward with your legs. The only difference is that pedalling is the British spelling. Just like with the words pricey vs pricy, the spelling changes depending on where you live. So if you live in the UK, then this is the spelling for you!
Here are some sentence examples using the British English spelling for “pedalling”.
- “Steve struggled to keep up with his friends as he pedalled his bike up the street.”
- “The tour guide led us through the city on a leisurely pedalling tour, stopping to see all the sights along the way.”
- “She played the organ with her feet, expertly pedalling the notes to add depth and richness to the music.”
- “The children enjoyed pedalling their bikes around the park on a warm summer afternoon.”
- “I could feel the burn in my legs as I pedalled up the very steep hill on my new bike.”
How To Use Peddling
Now you should have a better understanding of the words pedaling vs pedalling. But, what does peddling mean?
Peddling is an alternate spelling to the verb peddle. But just like we saw with other then vs other than, small spelling differences can be hard to spot! It means to distribute or sell illicit drugs. So be careful! Peddling and pedaling are only a few letters apart. But they have VERY different meanings.
Here are some common examples of how to use the verb peddling in your writing.
- Mark went to jail because he got caught peddling drugs.
- Steve made his millions peddling drugs on the street of Chicago.
- The show Power demonstrates people who made their money peddling illicit drugs in New York City.
What About The British English Spelling?
As we have stated, pedalling is the British English spelling. There are many words, such as ladel vs ladle, which are spelled differently in American English. So be careful! You may think that you identified a typo. But in reality, it may just be a difference in spelling rules based on geography!
Which Is More Popular
Based on the data from Google’s ngram viewer, pedaling is the most popular spelling. In fact, it is used almost twice as frequently as pedalling in published writing.
However, if you look back in time, you will see that both words were used about equally until the 1970’s. Just like we saw when comparing reuse vs re-use, it shows that our vocabulary changes as time passes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. “Pedaling” is a word that is used to describe the action of using your feet to power a bicycle.
No, peddling means selling illegal drugs. Many writers confuse the words pedaling and peddling.
The word pedalling is another word for pedaling. This spelling follow British grammar rules instead of American rules.
Pedaling is a simple process that can be done on any type of bike. First, find the right balance in your seat. You want to be comfortable, so adjust the seat height and angle until you’re in a comfortable position. Once you’re balanced, place your feet on the pedals and begin pedaling!
The Bottom Line
Now you are a master of spelling pedaling and pedalling! Both words can be used correctly in the proper context. Use pedaling in America & use pedalling in the UK. And if you’re struggling with this spelling rule, that’s ok. Try using our online editor grammar FREE of charge!