Cancelling or canceling? Here’s the correct spelling

If you’ve ever come across some of the differences between American and British English in your time, you’re probably already familiar with the “canceling” debate. Of course, there are different rules for different places, and we’ll look at which way is the correct spelling for which place.

Cancelling Or Canceling – What Is The Correct Spelling?

“Cancelling” should be used when you’re talking about canceling something in British English. “Canceling” should be used for the same scenario but in American English. Neither spelling is considered wrong, but each one is based entirely on your geographical location at the time.

Some rules stand out among the two that we’ll cover shortly. Basically, though, if you’re an American, you’re going to want to say “canceling” with one “l,” and if you’re British, you’ll want to say it with the double “l.”

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Why Is “Cancelling” And “Canceling” Spelled Differently In American English And British English?

Several words are spelled differently between American and British English, and “canceling” is no different. It all boils down to the individual rules of each language. Since neither of them is the same (because they evolved differently over the years), each language has a different rule for the word.

The American English rule is simple. Only one “l” is needed because you’re just adding “ing” to the end of “cancel” to say that you will be “canceling” something. However, the British English rule is a little more complex. Basically, the double “l” should only be used when there is a vowel on either side of it. So, the “e” before the first “l” and the “i” after the second one.

If you’re not British, you won’t have to remember that rule too much. Just right it however you feel looks right, as both spellings are correct and more dependent on your location.

Canceling Or Cancelling – Tip To Remember The Difference

The easiest way to remember the difference is remembering that you’re simply adding “ing” to the end of the word if you’re writing in American English. Luckily, that’s not a hard rule to remember, so it’s easy to do.

If you’re writing in British English, you have to remember about that extra “l.” If you remember the rule about having a vowel on either side of where the “l” should be, then you’ll be good to go. Just keep it in mind, so you don’t accidentally write in American English when you’re trying to write in British English. As we said, though, it’s not likely that this will happen unless you have an international job that might require a change.

If I Am Not From Either The UK Or The US – Should I Write Cancelling Or Canceling?

Most countries that speak English but are outside of the UK and the US typically use the British English spelling. After all, the language originated from Britain, so it makes sense that most of the other countries using the language will have adapted it from British. Countries that use British English include Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Of course, as globalization grows and the US becomes a more prominent country, it’s not surprising that many non-English speaking countries will use American English when they’re trying to learn the language. It’s for that reason that it doesn’t really matter which one you use. Whether you’re using British or American English, you can use either if you’re outside of the two main countries.

The only thing we would say, though, is that you should remember which one you’re using and stick with it. You don’t want to accidentally start picking and choosing which rules you’re going to use every time you speak or write.

Cancelling And Canceling – Synonyms

Let’s finish up with some synonyms that can be used in place of “canceling” then. Of course, if you’re stuck on the rule, the best course of action is to find a new word that’s the same whether you’re using American English or British English! It makes sense to remove the rule entirely, so let’s find some good ones.

  • Call off

A good way to cancel something without needing to say it.

  • Scrap

A very informal way to cancel something.

  • Abandon

When no other options but to cancel are available.

  • Postpone

This means more to put something off for a while rather than outright cancel it but still works as a suitable replacement.