Cancelled VS. Canceled

Tomee Cseh

English can be a bit tricky, and one puzzler is deciding between cancelled vs canceled. They look alike, but let’s make it simple and figure out when to use each. No need for a language adventure—let’s keep it easy.

What is the Origin Story?

Both “cancelled” and “canceled” trace back to Latin’s “cancellare,” meaning to scratch something out. The story diverges as they evolve in different English corners.


Blame the Brits for the extra ‘l’ in “cancelled.” It’s the go-to in British English and has some Old French vibes.


Americans keep it simple, dropping that extra ‘l.’ It aligns with their tendency to streamline things.

Where You At?

Your location plays a role. In British English, you’ll be more at home with “cancelled,” while Americans roll with “canceled.” Canadians? They’re cool with both.

RegionGo-to Spelling
British EnglishCancelled
American EnglishCanceled
Canadian EnglishTake Your Pick

What should I use “Cancelled” or “Canceled”?

Choose “cancelled” for British English and “canceled” for American English. Keep it consistent based on your location and preference. Example: The flight was cancelled (British English), or the event was canceled (American English).

When to Use Cancelled or Canceled in Grammar?

The choice between “cancelled” and “canceled” depends on whether you’re using British English or American English.

Tense“Cancelled” Example“Canceled” Example
Past SimpleThe flight was cancelled.The event was canceled.
Present SimpleThe meeting is cancelled.The concert is canceled.
Future SimpleIf it rains, the picnic will be cancelled.The game will be canceled if it storms.

Keep it straight in past and present tenses. The difference pops up more in the past tense.


British English:

  1. The play got cancelled last minute—bummer!
  2. She cancelled her gym membership.

American English:

  1. The soccer match got canceled due to a downpour.
  2. He canceled his haircut appointment on a whim.

Pro Tip: For British vibes, go with “cancelled” (double ‘l’). If you’re feeling American, stick to “canceled” (one ‘l’). Just be consistent, and you’re golden!


In conclusion, picking between “cancelled” and “canceled” is mostly about where you are and what you like. The British use the extra ‘l’ in “cancelled,” Americans keep it simple with one ‘l’ in “canceled,” and Canadians are cool with both.

So, choose the spelling that fits where you are and what you like. If you prefer the British way, go for the double ‘l.’ If you like the American style, stick to the single ‘l.’ It’s no big deal, just be consistent. Whether it’s a canceled flight or a cancelled meeting, use what suits your English taste.