Did You Know That Cancelled vs Canceled Could Go Both Ways?

cancelled vs canceled

Cancelled vs canceled are both valid ways to write the past tense of the verb cancel. However, they are not interchangeable, as they belong to different varieties of English. Depending on where you live or what style guide you follow, you may use either one or the other in your writing.

Cancelled vs Canceled American English Rules and Difference

In American English, the general rule is to use one L when adding suffixes to verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel. For example:

  • Travel + ing = traveling
  • Model + ed = modeled
  • Benefit + ing = benefiting

Therefore, according to this rule, the correct way to write the past tense of cancel in American English is canceled. For example:

  • She canceled her appointment at the last minute.
  • He was so angry that he canceled his subscription.
  • They canceled their plans because of the storm.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule in American English. Some words that end with a consonant and a vowel may use two Ls when adding suffixes, especially when the stress is on the final syllable. For example:

  • Control + ed = controlled
  • Rebel + ing = rebelling
  • Compel + ed = compelled

What Do You Use in American English Cancelled or Canceled?

The preferred spelling of the past tense of cancel in American English is canceled. This is consistent with the general rule of using one L when adding suffixes to verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel.

However, some American writers may use cancelled instead of canceled, especially in informal or personal writing. This may be due to the influence of British English, which uses two Ls for most verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel.

According to Google Ngram Viewer, which tracks the frequency of words in books, canceled is more commonly used than cancelled in American English books.

Examples of Cancelled vs Canceled in American English

Here are some examples of how to use canceled and cancelled in American English sentences:

  • He canceled his flight because he was sick. (Correct)
  • He cancelled his flight because he was sick. (Incorrect)
  • She was disappointed that the concert was canceled. (Correct)
  • She was disappointed that the concert was cancelled. (Incorrect)
  • They decided to cancel their wedding due to COVID-19. (Correct)
  • They decided to cancel their wedding due to COVID-19. (Correct)

Cancelled vs Canceled British English Rules and Difference

In British English, the general rule is to use two Ls when adding suffixes to verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel. For example:

  • Travel + ing = travelling
  • Model + ed = modelled
  • Benefit + ing = benefitting

Therefore, according to this rule, the correct way to write the past tense of cancel in British English is cancelled. For example:

  • She cancelled her appointment at the last minute.
  • He was so angry that he cancelled his subscription.
  • They cancelled their plans because of the storm.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule in British English. Some words that end with a consonant and a vowel may use one L when adding suffixes, especially when the stress is not on the final syllable. For example:

  • Control + ed = controlled
  • Rebel + ing = rebelling
  • Compel + ed = compelled

What Do You Use In British English Cancelled or Canceled?

The preferred spelling of the past tense of cancel in British English is cancelled. This is consistent with the general rule of using two Ls when adding suffixes to verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel.

However, some British writers may use canceled instead of cancelled, especially in formal or technical writing. This may be due to the influence of American English, which uses one L for most verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel.

According to Google Ngram Viewer, which tracks the frequency of words in books, cancelled is more commonly used than canceled in British English books. 

Examples of Cancelled vs Canceled in British English

Here are some examples of how to use cancelled and canceled in British English sentences:

  • He cancelled his flight because he was sick. (Correct)
  • He canceled his flight because he was sick. (Incorrect)
  • She was disappointed that the concert was cancelled. (Correct)
  • She was disappointed that the concert was canceled. (Incorrect)
  • They decided to cancel their wedding due to COVID-19. (Correct)
  • They decided to cancel their wedding due to COVID-19. (Correct)

What Led to Using Single L in English?

The reason why American English uses one L for most verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel, while British English uses two Ls, is mainly due to the influence of Noah Webster, an American lexicographer and spelling reformer.

Webster was the author of the first American dictionary, published in 1828, which aimed to simplify and standardize the spelling of English words in America. He believed that spelling should reflect pronunciation and logic, rather than tradition and etymology.

One of his spelling reforms was to drop the second L from verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel when adding suffixes, such as traveling, modeling, and benefiting. He argued that this would make the spelling more consistent and easier to learn.

However, his spelling reforms were not widely accepted in Britain, where the traditional spelling of using two Ls for most verbs that end with a consonant and a vowel was maintained. This created a difference between American English and British English spelling that still exists today.

Get Canceled Definition

The verb cancel means to stop or end something that was planned or agreed upon. For example:

  • She canceled her appointment at the last minute.
  • He canceled his subscription to the magazine.
  • They canceled their plans because of the storm.

The past tense of cancel can be spelled as either canceled or cancelled, depending on whether you follow American English or British English rules. For example:

  • She canceled/cancelled her appointment at the last minute.
  • He canceled/cancelled his subscription to the magazine.
  • They canceled/cancelled their plans because of the storm.

The noun form of cancel is cancellation, which means the act or result of canceling something. For example:

  • She received a cancellation notice from the doctor.
  • He requested a cancellation refund from the company.
  • They faced a cancellation fee for changing their booking.

The noun form of cancel is always spelled with two Ls in both American English and British English. For example:

  • She received a cancellation notice from the doctor. (Correct)
  • She received a cancelation notice from the doctor. (Incorrect)

Difference of Using Get Canceled in American and British English

The phrase get canceled means to be stopped or ended by someone else or by some external factor. For example:

  • The show got canceled due to low ratings.
  • The flight got canceled because of bad weather.
  • The project got canceled by the boss.

The phrase get canceled can be spelled as either get canceled or get cancelled, depending on whether you follow American English or British English rules. For example:

  • The show got canceled/cancelled due to low ratings.
  • The flight got canceled/cancelled because of bad weather.
  • The project got canceled/cancelled by the boss.

However, there is another meaning of get canceled that is more recent and colloquial. It means to be publicly criticized or boycotted for doing or saying something offensive or unacceptable. For example:

  • The celebrity got canceled after making racist comments on social media.
  • The brand got canceled for using sweatshop labor in its production.
  • The politician got canceled for lying about his credentials.

This meaning of get canceled is more common in American English than in British English, as it is derived from the slang term cancel culture, which refers to the phenomenon of withdrawing support or approval from someone or something that is deemed problematic or harmful.

According to Google Trends, which tracks the popularity of search terms on Google, get canceled is more frequently searched in America than in Britain. 

Which One Should You Use in SEO Writing Canceled or Cancelled?

SEO writing is a type of writing that aims to optimize the content and visibility of a website or a web page on search engines such as Google or Bing. SEO writing involves using keywords, phrases, and techniques that match the search queries and preferences of potential users or customers.

When it comes to choosing between canceled and cancelled in SEO writing, there is no definitive answer, as it depends on several factors, such as:

  • The target audience: If you are writing for an American audience, you may want to use canceled, as it is more familiar and natural for them. If you are writing for a British audience, you may want to use cancelled, as it is more common and preferred for them. If you are writing for a global audience, you may want to use both spellings interchangeably, as they are both acceptable and understandable for most English speakers.
  • The keyword research: If you are using a tool such as Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer to find out the most popular and relevant keywords for your topic or niche, you may want to use the spelling that has more search volume and traffic potential. For example, according to Google Keyword Planner, the keyword canceled has an average monthly search volume of 135,000 in the US, while the keyword cancelled has an average monthly search volume of 74,000. This means that more people are searching for canceled than cancelled in the US, so you may want to use canceled in your SEO writing if you are targeting the US market.
  • The consistency and clarity: If you are writing a long or complex piece of content, such as a blog post, an article, or a guide, you may want to use the same spelling of canceled or cancelled throughout your content to avoid confusion and inconsistency. You may also want to indicate at the beginning or the end of your content which spelling you are using and why, especially if you are writing for a global audience or a mixed audience. For example, you could write something like: Note: In this article, we use the American spelling of canceled. If you prefer the British spelling, please replace it with cancelled.

Tips For Content Writers When Using Canceled vs Cancelled

Here are some tips for content writers when using canceled or cancelled in their writing:

  • Know your audience and their preferences. Use the spelling that matches their variety of English or their expectations. For example, if you are writing for an American website or magazine, use canceled. If you are writing for a British website or magazine, use cancelled.
  • Do your keyword research and use the spelling that has more search volume and traffic potential for your topic or niche. For example, if you are writing about travel tips, use the spelling that is more popular among travelers or travel websites.
  • Be consistent and clear in your spelling. Use the same spelling of canceled or cancelled throughout your content and indicate which spelling you are using and why if necessary. For example, if you are writing a comparison between American English and British English, use both spellings and explain the difference.
  • Use a spell checker or an editor to proofread your content and correct any spelling errors or inconsistencies. For example, if you are using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you can set the language to either American English or British English and check your spelling accordingly.

What other phrases do we have that can be confusing in English

English is a rich and diverse language that has many words and phrases that can be confusing for learners and writers. Some of these words and phrases are:

  • Affect/Effect: Affect is usually a verb that means to influence or change something. Effect is usually a noun that means the result or outcome of something. For example: The weather affected our mood. / The weather had a positive effect on our mood.
  • Complement/Compliment: Complement is a noun or a verb that means to complete or enhance something. Compliment is a noun or a verb that means to praise or admire someone or something. For example: The red dress complemented her skin tone. / He complimented her on her red dress.
  • Desert/Dessert: Desert is a noun that means a dry and barren area of land. Dessert is a noun that means a sweet course at the end of a meal. For example: She loves to travel to the desert. / She loves to eat dessert after dinner.
  • Its/It’s: Its is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to it. It’s is a contraction of it is or it has. For example: The dog wagged its tail. / It’s a beautiful day.
  • Lose/Loose: Lose is a verb that means to fail to keep or win something. Loose is an adjective that means not tight or fixed. For example: He doesn’t like to lose games. / His pants were too loose and fell down.
  • Principal/Principle: Principal is a noun that means the head of a school or an organization, or the most important part of something. Principle is a noun that means a fundamental truth or rule. For example: She is the principal of the school. / He lives by his principles.
  • Stationary/Stationery: Stationary is an adjective that means not moving or changing. Stationery is a noun that means writing materials such as paper, pens, envelopes, etc. For example: The car was stationary at the red light. / She bought some stationery at the store.
  • Than/Then: Than is a conjunction that is used to make comparisons between two things. Then is an adverb that is used to indicate time or sequence. For example: She is taller than him. / She went to the mall and then to the movies.
  • Their/There/They’re: Their is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to them. There is an adverb that means in or at that place. They’re is a contraction of they are. For example: Their house is very big. / There is a park near their house. / They’re going to the park later.

These are just some of the many words and phrases that can be confusing in English. There are hundreds more that you can discover and learn by reading, listening, and speaking the language. The best way to avoid confusion and improve your English is to practice and learn from your mistakes. ?

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