Cancelled or Canceled – British vs. American English

04.07.23 British English vs. American English Time to read: 3min

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A key factor of academic writing is to keep consistency when writing a research paper, dissertation, or academic essay. This especially applies to the vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and punctuation to maintain a cohesive, clear, and comprehensible flow in the paper. Many students have difficulties differentiating between British English vs. American English such as whether to use “cancelled” or “canceled”. Learn how to distinguish these two in this article.

“Cancelled” or “canceled”

“Cancelled” and “canceled” both define the past tense of the verb “to cancel.” In general, the word “cancel” means to annul something planned, such as an event or appointment. It can also be used to express that something has been crossed out or deleted that has been printed or written. The spelling may vary depending on whether you use British English or American English. In British English, it is always written with a double “l”. However, in American English, you can use both ways but with a single “l” is more common.

Cancelled vs canceled UK

British English




Cancelled vs canceled US

American English


cancelled (not recommended)

As you can see, there only exists one correct spelling in British English, but there are two possible spellings in American English. However, the spelling with just one “l” is far more common in American English and the spelling with double “l” is rarely used.

Examples of using “cancelled” and “canceled”

The following examples will exemplify the difference in spelling of the word “cancelled/canceled” in British and American English.

  • The flight to London was cancelled.
  • The coach cancelled practice.
  • The soccer match was cancelled.
  • The flight to London was canceled/cancelled.
  • The coach canceled/cancelled practice.
  • The soccer match was canceled/cancelled.

“Cancelled” or “canceled” in the “-ing” form

When using the verb “cancel” in its “-ing” form, the same way of spelling applies to British English vs. American English as in the past tense. In British English, it is written with a double “l” and in American English, both ways are possible but a single “l” is more common.

  • British English: “Cancelling”
  • American English: “Canceling” or “cancelling”

The following examples will explain the usage of the word “cancelling/canceling” in both languages.

  • The university considered cancelling the seminar.
  • She is cancelling her membership in the gym.
  • I’m cancelling my plans due to unexpected circumstances.
  • The university considered canceling/cancelling the seminar.
  • She is canceling/cancelling her membership in the gym.
  • The TV show is canceling/cancelling its upcoming season.

“Cancelled” or “canceled” as a noun

The word “cancellation” refers to the noun form of the verb “cancel.” “Cancellation” with double “l” is in British and American English the standard spelling. “Cancelation” with a single “l” can be used in American English but is urged to be avoided.

The following examples will show you the usage of the noun “cancellation”.

  • The cancellation was a huge disappointment.
  • The flight cancellation caught us off guard.
  • It came to a cancellation of the meeting.


The correct spelling differs between American English and British English:

  • The correct spelling in American English is: “canceled” with one “l”.
  • The correct spelling in British English is: “cancelled” with a double “l”.

In British English, the correct spelling is “cancelled”.

In American English, the correct spellings are “canceled” and “cancelled”, but the spelling with one “l” is far more common.

The correct spelling in American English is “canceling” with one “l” and in British English “cancelling” with a double “l”.

The standard spelling in British and American English is “cancellation”.

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