Canceled or Cancelled: When to Use Cancelled or Canceled (with Examples)

Last Updated on December 7, 2023

 If your teacher is sick, you might read an announcement that says that your last lesson will be canceled. However, if the bass player of your favorite band is sick, the bandleader might publish a post saying that some concerts will be cancelled. Is there a difference between the two words, canceled and cancelled, and if there is, what is it? Is it wrong to use one of the spellings instead of the other? Thankfully, there isn’t much to worry about. As if often happens with words that only differ by a single letter, the difference is that one is British and the other is American.

Canceled or Cancelled: Understanding the Basics 

Canceled or CancelledPin

Canceled or Cancelled: Key Takeaways

In our exploration of the spellings canceled and cancelled, we uncover that both forms are correct, but their usage varies by region.

  • Canceled (with one “L”):
    • Common in American English.
    • Result of spelling reform by Noah Webster.
  • Cancelled (with two “L’s”):
    • Preferred in British English.
    • Follows traditional English spelling patterns.

Canceled or Cancelled: Definitions and Usages 

CANCELED is the spelling that is most common in American English, while CANCELLED is common in British and in all the other dialects of English.

So, if your aunt from America is planning to visit you in Europe, she might call you angrily and say that she won’t be able to come at the arranged time because her flight was canceled. However, Monica, your friend from England, might be very annoyed and disappointed because her favorite TV show was cancelled due to low ratings.

The only other thing that you need to be aware of is that there is an exception. While canceled is spelled either with one or two Ls depending on where in the world you are, the word cancellation is always spelled with two Ls, no matter if you are in America, England, or Australia. Therefore, to follow the examples already mentioned above, your aunt will be angry because of the flight cancellation, and Monica will be annoyed because of the cancellation of the TV show.

To sum up, use canceled in America, cancelled in England, and cancellation everywhere.

Canceled or Cancelled Examples

Example for Canceled

  • The game is canceled because of the rain.
  • The plan was canceled because of lack of support.
  • I called and canceled the order.
  • I wish someone had told me the meeting was canceled.
  • His contention was that world trade barriers should be canceled.

Example for Cancelled

  • She cancelled her order for a pizza.
  • All flights have been cancelled because of fog.
  • The wedding was cancelled at the last minute.
  • The last chapter should be cancelled.
  • The game was cancelled owing to torrential rain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions we receive regarding the spelling variants of “cancel”:

Is “canceled” or “cancelled” the correct spelling?

  • Both are correct. “Canceled” is used in American English, while “cancelled” is used in British English.

Does this rule apply to other forms of the word?

  • Yes, for “canceling” and “canceler” in American English and “cancelling” and “canceller” in British English.
American English British English
Canceled Cancelled
Canceling Cancelling
Canceler Canceller

What about the noun form “cancellation”?

  • “Cancellation” is universally used with two l’s, both in American and British English.

Are there any exceptions to these rules?

  • A rare exception is “cancelation”, which is technically correct but seldom used in American English.

Remember, if you’re unsure about the audience, using “cancellation” is always safe, as it is the standard form in both variations of the language. It’s important to be consistent with your spelling throughout your writing to maintain clarity and professionalism.

 

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