Cancelling or canceling – which one is correct?

Many people feel uncertain about the proper use of this word. Should we use the form cancelling or canceling? That’s the question. Does it depend on the context or maybe it depends on the variety of English? Read the text below and find out!

Cancelling or canceling? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Cancelling or cancelling – which form is correct?

The easiest way to answer the question in the title is to look at the differences between American and British English. The truth is that both cancelling and canceling are correct forms. However, cancelling is the preferred spelling in British English, whereas canceling is the preferred spelling in American English.

Other words with spelling differences which follow the same guideline include leveledlevelled, traveledtravelled, modeledmodelled, and many more. The English language in general includes lots of words with more than just one correct spelling.

Cancelling or canceling – which one to use?

If you’re not sure where your readers come from, the double L spelling is a much safer option. However, if you write something for an American audience, just use the form canceling.

What’s the meaning of cancelling/canceling?

Canceling is the gerund or present participle form of the word cancel. We can say the same about the word cancelling the more so because there is no such form as “cancell”. Cancelling and canceling mean the same thing – announcing or deciding that a planned event won’t take place. We can easily list cancelling/canceling: plans, journeys, trips, meetings, subscriptions etc.

What’s the difference between cancelling and canceling?

The main difference between cancelling and canceling is that cancelling has double L, because people using British English tend to double L in the majority of words. The same applies to people living in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand who continue using British spellings.

Americans do not do that. They do not follow British spelling rules, which is completely understandable. The difference between canceling and cancelling is the same as in the case of canceled or cancelled (past tense of cancel). It’s worth knowing that the word cancellation coming from the same word family is spelled with double L, no matter where you are.

What are the synonyms of cancelling and canceling?

  • Abandoning,
  • annulling,
  • calling off.

Cancelling or canceling – it’s all clear! Examples from British and American publications

And, oh dear, what am I to do about cancelling my steamship passage?

Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Philosophy can really give us nothing permanent to believe either; it is too rich in answers, each canceling out the rest. The quest for Meaning is foredoomed.

Peter De Vries, The Blood of the Lamb

It turns out that canceling the project was the best thing that ever could have happened to it.


Written by

Graduate of English philology. Currently a student of internet marketing. She previously worked as a shopping assistant, associate consultant and kindergarten English teacher. Currently working as a copywriter. Privately mother of two children. Loves reading books and spending time actively.