The English language has many words that can throw you off your grammar game simply because of a single letter.
Filing and filling are two words that are easy to get confused. The only apparent difference is that one has a single L, while the other has a double LL.
So what exactly is the difference between these two words?
The short answer is that filing means “storing documents or information” or “submitting a document or application,” while filling means “causing to become full” or “material used to fill something.”
Read on to learn how to remember the difference between filling vs filing.
Filing with a single L is the present participle of the verb to file. It means “the activity of storing documents or information in files.” It can also mean “the activity of submitting a legal document or application.”
For example, you might say, “I’m filing this information away for later.” This sentence means you’re putting this information into an organizational file, so it’s easy to reference when you need it in the future.
Finally, filing as a noun can also refer to "a small particle rubbed off by a file or a similar implement,” such as metal filings.
Filing with a double LL can be a verb, a noun, or an adjective.
As a verb, it’s the present participle of to fill. It means, “causing to become full.” If you say, “I was filling my water bottle,” that means you were making your bottle full of water.
As a noun, filling means, “material that is used to fill something.” Your dentist might put a temporary filling in your tooth after removing a cavity.
Finally, as an adjective, filling means “substantial.” For example, you might say, "This is a filling meal," if the food is hearty enough to leave you satisfied.
Filing vs Filling Examples in Sentences
The best way to learn spelling is to see examples in sentences. Here are some examples of filing and filling in action.
Let’s start with some examples of filing:
- I keep all my important papers in the filing cabinet under my desk.
- When will you and your wife be filing your application for divorce?
- Don’t leave those iron filings in your room.
- When you’re filing your taxes, you need your social security number and your employment records.
Now let’s look at some examples of filling:
- I was filling my gas tank yesterday when I noticed that my car’s engine wasn’t working.
- When you’re filling your bottle, can you fill mine too?
- The filling in these pillows is starting to smell bad, but the woven fabrics are fine.
- My father’s chicken stew is delicious, and also a very filling meal.
Tips for Remembering the Difference Between Filing vs Filling
To remember the difference between filing and filling, think about the root verb that each word comes from.
The root verb of filing is to file, which has only one L, so filing has only one L. On the other hand, the root verb of filling is to fill, which has a double LL, so filling has the double LL.
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