questionshow do you spell cancelled (or canceled)?


I always want to use two L's, but firefox's spellcheck is always telling me I'm wrong.


Both are correct. But two L's looks too heavy for me. I think it's a US vs. UK think, where UK uses one L.


Canceled, I'm lazy and the one L is slightly easier to spell than the two.


Oh this one's easy. I use that word all the time and spell it as canceled and never cancelled. I see it both ways and they are both correct.

My logic in using the single "L" is that any other past tense items that you add -ed to the end you do not duplicate the last letter.

For example, mow and mowed, email and emailed, watch and watched. Those do not make sense to spell mowwed, emailled, and watchhed. So why would I add an extra "L" when adding -ed to cancel?


@cengland0: Good point! I never thought of it that way. Sometimes I spell it with one L, sometimes 2... who knows why :P


One "L" is American English, two "L"s is British English, per Garner's Modern American Usage.


@cengland0: Actually, it makes sense in the context of pronunciation. Email and mow both have hard vowels, so the single consonant followed by the -ed doesn't change their pronunciation. But cancel has a soft "e", adding a single consonant and -ed should, by rules of pronunciation, cause canceled to be pronounced "canceeled". Yet this rule is broke in many places for soft "el" words, towel is toweled, level is leveled, revel is reveled. But then you have refer and referred, stop and stopped, tap and tapped. Our language is like our society, so bound up in arbitrary and contrary rules that no one can keep them straight.


@dupedyetagain is correct. That's the general rule. It's like theater v. theatre. They're both correct but one is British English and the other is American English. Most online spellcheckers in the US will go with the American English version.


@moondrake: You had some good examples where the last letter is duplicated and I didn't think of those until you pointed them out. Why is our language so screwed up?!?!?

I once had a friend that spoke 7 languages and she said English was the hardest to learn. An example she gave was about the "hot water heater." What is it? If the water is already hot, why do you need to heat it. It should be called a "cold water heater." This was about 25 years ago and we since have changed it to just "water heater" but you get the idea.


Whenever I order from the UK company ASOS, they tell me that my order has been "despatched." I had to look that one up.

"Definition of DESPATCH: chiefly British variant of dispatch."

Yay English!