Penciller vs. Penciler – There can be only one! April 3, 2015 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns
This is perfectly timed between April Fool’s Day and Good Friday. There’s something foolish that’s been going on in the comics industry and it’s time to do something good about it.
For the last time, it’s “penciller,” not “penciler.” Got it?
I know we live in an abbreviated society where everyone chops up language to fit their 140-character lives. I get the whole ROFL, LOL, BTW, LMK, BFF thing and all that. Heck, I’m guilty of it too (especially with an antediluvian flip phone where texting is a chore). Trst me I dont like 2 waste time txtng anymor thn u do.
But leaving out a single-yet-necessary letter in a multi-syllable word makes no sense.
I don’t know when or why people became too lazy to add the extra “l” in “penciller” (past history and industry tomes used “penciller”), but in the interest of clarity and accuracy in communication, it’s vital.
Middle-school grammar: A soft vowel generally requires two consonants. If you use “embellisher,” “reveller” and “shoveller,” then use “penciller.” It just makes logical sense.
Before you throw dictionaries at me, yes, I am aware that many list the two “l” version as British English (“traveller”) and the single as American (“traveler”). But this isn’t like “color/colour” where the added letter is a formality or not pronounced. This is common sense and clarity. The spelling “penciler” implies a long “i” sound and would therefore rhyme with “profiler,” “reconciler” and “defiler.” So let’s not defile the profile of pencillers and reconcile the two spellings.
Do you say, “pen-sy-ler”? Then let’s not spell it that way. I don’t even know what a “pen-sy-ler” is. So I will never be a penciler. But I’ve been a penciller for over two decades. And every hard-working, underpaid storyteller in comics who’s ever brought you enjoyment and inspiration is a penciller too. The extra split-second to type that second “l” is worth it and they deserve it.
Just ask any storyteller.