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Successful is one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP. It may be helpful to look at its structure:

  • The noun success has two '-c-'s, to mark the '-k- + '-s-' sound with which it is pronounced (IPA: /sək ˈsɛs/, and two '-s-'s to mark the stress with which it is pronounced - on the second syllable.
  • The adverb successfully adds the adverbial suffix -ly to successful in the usual way, thus ending in -lly, with one '-l' from 'successful';' and another from '-ly'.
This makes successfully one of a small number of English words with three double letters.