The Difference Between Canceled and Cancelled image

Why is “canceled” sometimes spelled with two l‘s? The simple answer is that “canceled” with a single l is the American spelling, and “cancelled” with two l‘s is the British spelling.

Various English-speaking countries have developed their own dialects, accents, and spellings, including “canceled” and “cancelled.”

If you want to know more about these dialect variations, you can read our full article about the differences between American and British spellings.

Canceled in American English

In the U.S., the preferred spelling is “canceled.” This also goes for the word “canceling.”

However, this spelling preference is relatively recent, so you may still see American publications that use two l‘s.

Examples:

  • School was canceled because of the snow.
  • I’m canceling dinner plans with my friends because I am not feeling well.

Cancelled in British, Canadian, and Australian English

It’s not just Brits who prefer “cancelled,” but other English speaking countries such as Canada and Australia as well.

Examples:

  • The boss cancelled the meeting.
  • The band is cancelling all of its concerts here in Britain!

More Variations of Cancel

While both Americans and Brits spell “cancel” with just one l, there are other forms of the word that also vary in their use of one or two l‘s:

  • cancelers/cancellers
  • cancelable/cancellable

It is important to note, however, that the word “cancellation” does not have a single-l variation. No matter where you are, “cancellation” is spelled with two l‘s.

Have you run into other American and British spelling variations? How do you remember which is which? Share your thoughts or ask a question in the comment section below.

Want to learn more writing tips? Check out these articles:

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Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.

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