Is It Cancelled or Canceled? | Spelling & Examples

UK vs US updated on  December 13, 2023 3 min read
Cancelled and canceled are both correct spellings of the past tense of the verb “to cancel,” which means “revoke,” “annul,” or “neutralize.” The spelling depends on the variant of English you use:

  • In British English, “cancelled” with a double "l" is most common.
  • In American English, “canceled” with one "l" is the standard.
Nowadays, it’s also possible to say “someone is cancelled/canceled” when celebrities and influencers lose their support after a scandal. This use is informal and should be avoided in academic writing.

Examples: Cancelled or canceled in a sentence
My membership was cancelled/canceled automatically.
The seasonal variations in revenue cancelled/canceled each other out.
Do you know that influencer who got cancelled/canceled after shouting at her kid?

The difference in spelling is also true for similar verbs, such as labelled or labeled, levelled or leveled, and travelled or traveled. It’s important to choose one spelling and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

Other forms of cancel

The spelling difference also applies to the present participle or gerund cancelling or canceling.

  • In British English, “cancelling” with a double "l" is most common.
  • In American English, “canceling” with one "l" is standard.
Examples: Cancelling or canceling in a sentence
I'm cancelling/canceling my gym membership because I never use it.
Cancelling/Canceling a date at the last minute is not very polite.
Did you know Adele is cancelling/canceling her concert?

The difference does not apply to the same extent for the related noun cancellation or cancelation. Even though cancelation (with one “l”) is occasionally used in American English, it’s not the standard in either US or British English. Instead, use the noun cancellation (or the plural noun cancellations), which means “the instance or act of cancelling something."

Examples: Cancellation in a sentence
Did you receive a cancellation email?
There are no cancellations for our wedding.
We could be seated in the restaurant due to a cancellation.

Main differences between American and British English

American and British English are very similar, but there are a few main differences in spelling. Five important differences are:

Difference

Rule

Examples

-or vs -our

In American English, many Latin-derived words end in -or.

In British English, these same words end in -our.

Behavior or behaviour
Labor or labour
Favor or favour
Favorite or favourite
Color or colour
Honor or honour

-er vs -re

In American English, some French, Latin, or Greek words end in -er.

In British English, these same words end in -re.

Theater or theatre
Center or centre
Meter or metre
Liter or litre
Saber or sabre
Fiber or fibre

-ize vs -ise

In American English, many Greek-derived words end in -yze or -ize.

In British English, these words end in -yse or -ise.

Realize or realise
Recognize or recognise
Analyze or analyse
Organisation or organization
Minimize or minimise
Finalize or finalise

-ed vs -t

In American English, most verbs are regular and form their past tense with the suffix -ed.

In British English, some of these verbs are irregular and form their past tense with the suffix -t.

Learned or learnt
Burned or burnt
Kneeled or knelt
Dreamed or dreamt
Smelled or smelt
Spelled or spelt

Single vs double consonant

In American English, many words are spelled with a single consonant.

In British English, these same words are spelled with a double consonant.

Modeling or modelling
Traveling or travelling
Canceled or cancelled
Labeled or labelled
Buses or busses
Focused or focussed

Do you want to know more about commas, parts of speech, email, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


US vs UK

Commas

Commonly confused words

Modelling vs modeling

Comma before or after so

Into vs in to

Defence vs defense

Comma before or

Awhile vs a while

Favourite vs favorite

Comma before while

A vs an

Theatre vs theater

Comma before which

Its vs it’s

Organisation vs organization

Comma splice

Use to or used to


Frequently asked questions about cancelled or canceled

Is it cancelled or canceled in AP style?

Cancelled and canceled are two correct spellings of the past tense verb “to cancel.” However, AP style advises to use canceled, with one “l”, because this is common in American English.

It's important to choose one and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

What’s the difference between cancelled and canceled?

There’s no difference in meaning between cancelled and canceled; they’re just two different spellings of the same word, the past tense of the verb “cancel.”

Cancelled (double “l”) is the standard spelling in British English, canceled (single “l”) in American English. 

Make sure to pick the spelling appropriate to the context you’re writing in and stick to it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

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Julia Merkus

Julia has master's degrees in Linguistics and Language and speech pathology. Her expertise lies in grammar, language and speech disorders, foreign language learning, and child language acquisition.

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