Cancelled or Canceled | Difference & Examples

Cancelled and canceled are two different spellings of the past tense of the verb “cancel,” which means “annul,” “revoke,” or “match in force or outcome.” The spelling tends to vary based on whether you use US or UK English:

  • In UK English, “cancelled” (double “l”) is standard.
  • In US English, “canceled” (one “l”) is more common.
Examples: “Cancelled” and “canceled” in a sentence
The concert was cancelled/canceled due to a fire at the theater.

My vote cancelled/canceled out Dave’s.

Farrah cancelled/canceled the reservation at the restaurant because of a family emergency.

I cancelled/canceled the hotel booking too late and lost the deposit I already paid.

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Cancelling or canceling

The same distinction applies to the “-ing” forms of the verb.

  • In UK English, “cancelling” (double “l”) is always used.
  • In US English, both “canceling” and “cancelling” can be used depending on your preference, but “canceling” is the more common spelling.
Examples: Cancelling and canceling in a sentence
I’m cancelling/canceling the magazine subscription after the next issue.

Kelly tried to check in online but ended up accidentally cancelling/canceling her booking.

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Cancelation or cancellation

Cancellation (double  “l”) is a noun used to refer to an act or instance of canceling something. This is the standard spelling in both UK and US English. While “cancelation” (one “l”) occurs occasionally in US English, it’s rare and best avoided.

Examples: Cancellation in a sentence
Klara received an email confirming the cancellation of the event.

We got a late reservation at the restaurant due to a cancellation.

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If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.