Labelled vs. Labeled: Decoding English Spelling Differences

When writing in English, choosing the correct spelling can sometimes be tricky, especially with words that have variations in American and British English. One common example of this is the past tense of “label.” The two spellings “labeled” and “labelled” can cause some confusion, but the distinction is quite simple. Understanding the correct usage is important not just for spelling, but also for maintaining consistency in your writing.

The Main Difference between Labelled and Labeled

Labelled vs. Labeled: Decoding English Spelling Differences Pin

Labelled vs. Labeled: Key Takeaways

Spelling Variants: We have two correct spellings of the past tense of “label” due to variations in American and British English.

  • In American English, we spell it with a single “l”: labeled.
  • In British English, we add an extra “l”: labeled.

Labelled vs. Labeled: the Definition

What Does Labelled Mean?

“Labelled” is the past tense of the verb “label” when using British English. It means that a tag or a descriptive word has been applied to something.

  • Example 1: The jars were neatly labelled with their contents and the date of storage.
  • Example 2: She labelled all her school books to avoid confusion.

What Does Labeled Mean? 

“Labeled” follows the same definition as “labelled” but is used in American English. It indicates that something has been marked with a label.

  • Example 1: He labeled each folder to organize his files more efficiently.
  • Example 2: The technician labeled the equipment according to their functions.

Labelled vs. Labeled Usage and Examples

When we talk about the words labelled and labeled, we’re really discussing a matter of regional spelling differences. Both words represent the past tense of the verb “to label,” which means to attach a label to something or to categorize something or someone in a specific way. The variation in spelling comes from the differences between British and American English.

Here’s a quick guide:

  • In American English, “labeled” with one ‘l’ is the standard spelling.
  • In British English, “labelled” with double ‘ll’ is what we generally see.

Let’s see them in sentences:

American English (labeled) British English (labelled)
The package was labeled correctly. The parcel was labelled accurately.
She labeled each folder by year. He labelled each file by category.

Tips to Remember the Difference

  • Memory Trick: Think of the single ‘l’ in American as representing one country, hence “labeled” with one “l”. For British, with “labelled,” recall that Britain is made up of four countries, so it gets an extra “l”.
  • Visual Cue: We might imagine the extra “l” as the Queen’s extra teacup on the British tea table.

Labelled vs. Labeled: Examples

Example Sentences Using Labelled

  • We labelled all the boxes in the storage room to make finding things easier.
  • The teacher labelled the jars with the names of different spices for the cooking class.
  • Each participant was labelled with a name tag during the workshop.
  • The mechanic labelled each part of the disassembled engine before cleaning.
  • The museum labelled every exhibit with detailed descriptions for visitors.

Example Sentences Using Labeled

  • We labeled the folders by quarter to track our expenses efficiently.
  • The scientist labeled the test tubes with dates for the experiment.
  • Every wine bottle in the cellar was carefully labeled with its vintage year.
  • The moving company labeled each box according to the rooms they belonged in.
  • The software automatically labeled the email as important based on keywords.

Related Confused Words

Labelled vs. Tagged

Labelled refers to the action where we add a label—a descriptive term or phrase—to identify an object or person.

  • Example: We labelled each file with the client’s name for easy retrieval.

Tagged, however, suggests attaching or associating a tag, typically for identification, but it can also imply marking someone or something in a certain way.

  • Example: We tagged all participants in the photo on our social media page.

Labeled vs. Marked

Labeled is about assigning a label, often to describe or classify, and is common in American English.

  • Example: We labeled the folders according to their contents.

Marked denotes a broader range of indicating and can involve any kind of sign, symbol, or writing used to show the status or level of something.

  • Example: We marked the correct answers with a checkmark.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you spell ‘labeling’ in American and British English?

In American English, ‘labeling’ is spelled with one ‘l’ while in British English it is spelled ‘labelling’ with two ‘l’s.

What is the significance of ‘labeling theory’ in sociology?

Labeling theory in sociology suggests that labeling individuals or groups can influence their behavior and societal perception, potentially leading to self-fulfilling prophecies.

Can you provide some examples of how to use ‘labeled’ in a sentence?

Certainly! In a sentence, you might say, “The teacher labeled the containers according to their contents,” or “She labeled him the most diligent student in class.”

What are some common uses of labeled diagrams?

Labeled diagrams are frequently used in educational contexts to illustrate and identify the parts of a biological specimen, or components of mechanical objects, enhancing understanding through visual aids.

How is ‘labelled’ interpreted and utilized differently in various English dialects?

In British, Canadian, and Australian English, ‘labelled’ is commonly used to signify the past tense of ‘label’, in contrast to the single ‘l’ spelling used in American English.

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