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Difference between canceled or cancelled

DALL·E 2024 02 10 20.27.10 A close up of a red pen circling a word on a document emphasizing a correction or choice between two spellings. The document appears to be an English

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between canceled and cancelled, two terms that often cause confusion due to their similar appearance and meaning, yet distinct spelling variations. These terms primarily differ in their spelling as a result of variations in American and British English. Understanding the grammar facts surrounding canceled and cancelled can help clarify their appropriate usage and avoid common mistakes.

Quick Facts Table

SpellingSingle ‘l’Double ‘ll’
VariantAmerican EnglishBritish English
UsagePreferred in the USPreferred in the UK, Canada, Australia

Difference Between “Canceled” OR “Cancelled”

Definition of Canceled

Canceled refers to the American English spelling of the past tense of "cancel," indicating that an event, action, or agreement has been terminated or called off.

Definition of Cancelled

Cancelled is the British English spelling of the past tense of "cancel," used to describe something that has been terminated or revoked.

Origin of Canceled

Canceled follows American English spelling conventions, which often simplify spellings by omitting one of the double letters found in the British form. This practice became standardized in the United States in the early 19th century.

Origin of Cancelled

Cancelled, with its double ‘l’, reflects the traditional British English spelling. It adheres to the pattern of doubling the final consonant in a verb when adding a suffix if the stress is on the final syllable.


The pronunciation of both canceled and cancelled is identical, despite the spelling differences.

Comparing Canceled and Cancelled

When comparing canceled and cancelled, the distinction lies solely in regional spelling preferences. American English favors the simplified spelling with one ‘l’ (canceled), while British English and its variants maintain the original double ‘ll’ (cancelled). This difference is a perfect example of the nuances that exist within the English language, reflecting the evolution of spelling conventions over time and across regions.

Comparison Table

Spelling RuleSimplificationTraditional doubling
Regional UsageUnited StatesUK, Canada, Australia
Dictionary EntryAmerican dictionariesBritish dictionaries
Example Usage“The event was canceled.”“The event was cancelled.”

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Canceled in Sentences

  1. The flight was canceled due to bad weather.
    • Explanation: This sentence uses the American English spelling of canceled to indicate the flight has been called off.
  2. They canceled the meeting at the last minute.
    • Explanation: Here, canceled describes the action of terminating the meeting, using the American English convention.
  3. Our reservation has been canceled.
    • Explanation: Canceled communicates that the reservation is no longer valid.
  4. The concert was canceled because the singer fell ill.
    • Explanation: Indicates the concert was called off, using the American spelling.
  5. The project was canceled after the funding was withdrawn.
    • Explanation: Uses canceled to describe the termination of the project due to lack of funds.

Use of Cancelled in Sentences

  1. The event was cancelled at the last moment.
    • Explanation: This sentence uses the British English spelling to indicate the event was called off.
  2. Our flight to London has been cancelled.
    • Explanation: Cancelled indicates that the flight will not proceed as planned, adhering to British spelling rules.
  3. The teacher cancelled the quiz due to time constraints.
    • Explanation: Here, cancelled is used to describe the action of calling off the quiz.
  4. The subscription has been automatically cancelled.
    • Explanation: Indicates the subscription was terminated, using the British English spelling.
  5. The match was cancelled due to rain.
    • Explanation: Cancelled communicates the match was called off because of weather conditions.


The difference between canceled and cancelled lies in their spelling, which is influenced by regional English variations. Canceled is the preferred spelling in American English, while cancelled is favored in British English and its variants. Understanding these differences is crucial for proper usage in written communication, ensuring clarity and correctness.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Which spelling is correct, canceled or cancelled?
    • Both spellings are correct; canceled is used in American English, and cancelled is used in British English.
  • Can the spelling affect the meaning of the word?
    • No, the meaning of canceled and cancelled is the same; the difference only lies in regional spelling preferences.
  • Is one spelling more widely accepted than the other?
    • Acceptance depends on the regional standard. In the US, canceled is preferred, while cancelled is more common in the UK and other English-speaking countries.
  • How do I know which spelling to use?
    • Use canceled if writing for an American audience and cancelled for a British or international audience.
Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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