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Grammar, Punctuation, Word comparisons

Note 171 – Is the spelling focussed or focused?

Is it focussed or focused?  A work colleague asked me how to spell this word today and I had to look it up.  The Colllins English dictionary and Merriam Webster‘s website indicated that both spellings were correct.  I decided to Google it to find out which is preferred. says “This word [focussed or focused] can take either double or single s, with the single option being highly preferred”.  A senior member of the Word Reference Forum wrote that they prefer to use focused because it follows the ‘stress-based rule’.  The future-perfect site also mention this rule and suggest that if the stress is not on the preceeding vowel (as in focused) then there is no doubling i.e. it has a single s. The same applies to the words focussing and focusing.

Here are some examples of other words:

  • Entered has no stress on the preceeding e, therefore entered has only one r.
  • The vowel u is stressed in occurred and therefore it has a double r.

Why no try this rule on a few other words and drop me a comment.

My thoughts:  Although either can be used, I think I’m going to use focused from now on.

That’s all for today.  This blog post forms part of my writing challenge. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter or my ‘Tips and LuxuriesFacebook page. Requests for future blogs (punctuation/grammar/writing tips) are always welcome.

Until tomorrow…

Freelance writer
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Twitter: @madeirasandra @tipsandluxuries @OpenLeafJourney

Reference list:

Merriam Webster Dictionary –

Future perfect website –

Word Reference –


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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