Canceled or Cancelled—Which Is Correct?

canceled or cancelled

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There has been a long-standing debate over which spelling to use: canceled or cancelled. The answer is not always straightforward and depends on the context in which one is using the word. In this article, we will explore the usage of each version of the word and provide guidelines for choosing between them.

Canceled or Cancelled – Knowing its Definition

Canceled or cancelled is the past tense of the verb “to cancel”, meaning to cease or put an end to something. It’s commonly used in certain situations like when a concert is postponed, a travel plan changed, or a meeting canceled at the last minute. When things need to be called off, the go-to phrase for canceling is typically “The event/meeting has been canceled” and can mean either one thing (cancelled) or both phrases (cancelled & canceled). The difference between the two is subtle, as they are both accepted forms of English grammar; however, “cancelled” tends to be seen as more British and “canceled” as more American.

canceled or cancelled

Canceled vs. Cancelled: Which Is Most Commonly Used?

Although the words “canceled” and “cancelled” are interchangeable, and neither version is particularly incorrect, they tend to be used differently depending on what part of the world you’re in. For instance, in North America, the preferred spelling is almost always “canceled,” while countries of British Commonwealth typically use ‘cancelled.’

Of course, there can also be regional variation – even within a country – so it’s best to err on the side of caution and use whatever spelling is most popular or expected in your local area. No matter which you choose to go with, both spellings have become quite commonplace at this point!

Differences between American and British Spellings of ‘Canceled’ and ‘Cancelled’

The main difference between American and British spellings of canceled or cancelled is that Americans use one ‘L’ while the British use two. This distinction can be traced back to Noah Webster, who used his influence to establish a more simplified version of English spelling as part of an effort to differentiate American English from British English. Over time, these different spelling conventions have solidified in both countries—so much so that each spelled variation is almost like a cultural marker of origin.

  • For example, employers often discuss how they prefer resumes using either American or British spellings depending on their stated preference.

So when writing for an international audience, it’s wise to keep in mind the importance of understanding and respecting different spelling conventions even for words with such minor variations.

Reasons to Use Canceled or Cancelled: American English Users

Using the correct version of ‘canceled’ or ‘cancelled’ is especially important for American English users since these words have different spellings depending on the geographic region. The US follows the spelling of ‘canceled’ while countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK prefer ‘cancelled.’

Therefore, it’s important to know which spelling to use so that you can accurately express yourself and be understood by your proofread your work to make sure that you’ve written uniformly. This will help avoid any confusion when communicating with others who may be using a different version of English.

Reasons to Use Cancelled or Canceled: British English Users

For British English users, there are several very good reasons to stick with the spelling ‘cancelled’ rather than ‘canceled.’

  • The word ‘cancelled’ is the most widely used form in the United Kingdom and many British journals and university style guides still prefer it.
  • The word ‘cancelled’ has been the preferred spelling for much longer than ‘canceled’; its introduction dates back to two of the earliest editions of the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • Use of the word ‘cancelled’ has a historical precedent that almost lends it an air of traditional beauty.
  • Although both spellings are accepted in some circles, ‘canceled’ will generally be seen as incorrect by many across Britain and Europe.

Therefore, if you are writing for an audience that utilizes British English, it is strongly recommended to use ‘cancelled’. However, there may be exceptions in certain cases where ‘canceled’ is preferred. If a agency or a publication with an American English audience), then ‘canceled’ should be used instead of ‘cancelled’.

It is also important to note that, as mentioned above, either spelling can be used in many instances these days, and some publications may even opt for both spellings. Ultimately, it is up to the user or publisher to decide which spelling they prefer. Regardless of which spelling you choose, it is important to be consistent and follow any applicable style guidelines when utilizing ‘canceled’ or ‘cancelled’ in your writing. With careful consideration and attention to detail, you can ensure that the correct spelling is always used.

Common Mistakes People Make When Using ‘Canceled’ or ‘Cancelled’

Many well-meaning English speakers make mistakes when they use the words canceled or cancelled. These two spellings refer to the same action, canceling something, and both are acceptable. In American English, the single L form—“ canceled”—is more popular, while in British English, the double L form—“ cancelled”— is preferred. The confusion arises because many don’t know which version is correct depending on where their readers are located.

To avoid potential embarrassment or miscommunication, it is important to become familiar with each region’s spelling preferences of these commonly used words. A useful rule of thumb is that if you’re writing for an American audience, opt for “canceled. For a British one, “cancelled” should be used. Ultimately, this decision has to be made before publication to maintain consistency throughout an article or body of work.

Advice for Writers When Choosing ‘canceled’ or ‘cancelled’

As a budding writer, it can be daunting to try and keep up with all the rules and conventions of good grammar. One such quandary that often trips people up is whether they should use canceled or cancelled when describing an event or product being terminated. The answer lies in understanding that these words are variations of the same concept; in American English, you should use ‘canceled,’ whereas British English dictates using ‘cancelled.

Although both forms are considered acceptable outside these regions, it’s best to stick to whichever variation corresponds to your target audience’s native language for clarity and authenticity. No matter which word you choose, however, make sure that you stay consistent with your usage—inconsistencies can confuse readers or give them the impression that you don’t fully understand the subject of your writing!


Canceled or cancelled? – The debate over which spelling is correct when describing something being terminated has been a longstanding one. While both American English and British English have accepted ‘canceled’ and ‘cancelled’ as acceptable spellings, the former is more popular in the United States whereas the latter is preferred in countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK. It is FAQs

When do I use canceled or cancelled?

Generally speaking, American English uses the spelling ‘canceled’ while British English often opts for ‘cancelled.’ In both spellings, the -e- indicates a pronunciation change from hard k to s sound. The main difference is that American English favors keeping the -l- in place and omitting the second -l-, while British English prefers adding -l- at the end of the word. It’s best to check your specific style guide (such as AP, Chicago Manual of Style, or Oxford) to determine which spelling is preferred when writing for a particular audience.

Are there any exceptions?

The -e- pronunciation rule comes with a few exceptions. For example, the American English spelling ‘fulfilled’ differs from British English, which uses ‘fulfilled.’ Additionally, guide for specific rules and guidelines when using these words.

Is there a universal rule for using either spelling?

Unfortunately, there is no universal rule that applies to all words ending with -ed. The best advice would be to use the most neutral form possible when writing for an international audience (such as cancelled). Additionally, it may also be helpful to consult a style guide and check popular spell-checkers online for more specific rules and guidelines. By doing so, you can ensure that your writing is accurate and consistent.

What if I still have questions about ‘canceled’ vs. ‘cancelled’?

If you still have questions about when to use ‘canceled’ vs. ‘cancelled’, please feel free to contact us for more information. Our team of experts can provide additional advice and guidance on how to choose the correct spelling in any context. Together, we’ll ensure your writing is accurate and consistent across all formats!

By following these guidelines, you can be confident in your choice of ‘canceled’ or ‘cancelled.’ With a clear understanding of the debate surrounding the two spellings and applicable rules and guidelines to support their usage, you’ll be able to use either spelling correctly in any context.

Are there any other tips for choosing the correct spelling?

Yes, there are a few other tips that can help when choosing between ‘canceled’ and ‘cancelled’:

  • When considering words with double vowels, try pronouncing them out loud to see which spelling produces an easier pronunciation (e.g. ‘fulfilled’ vs. ‘fulfilled’)
  • If you’re unsure whether to use -ed or -d at the end of a verb, look up synonyms in both American and British dictionaries
  • Research popular spell-checkers online and compare their results when looking up similar words
  • Refer to specific style guides as needed (such as APA or MLA format) to ensure accuracy across different writing formats.

By following these tips, you can be confident in your choice of canceled or cancelled each time.

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