Monday, March 05, 2007

British Spelling of "Canceled" Mysteriously Taking Hold

For some strange reason, it seems like the British spelling of canceled (cancelled) is becoming increasingly common in the United States. In a meeting today, someone was writing on the whiteboard, and paused after the first "l" to ask "how do you spell canceled?" Right away, someone piped up "l-l-e-d".

I did manage to stifle my internal pedagogue.


  1. Actually, I didn't know two l's was the british preference. I definitely am more likely to spell it that way than I used to be but I thought they were kind of interchangeable.

  2. In the past, as an American (and former spelling bee finalist in my city), I always spelled canceled with two Ls--never realizing that it was the British spelling.

    However, it's only been in the last couple of years that I've dropped the extraneous L in canceled, canceling, traveled, and traveling.

  3. I find myself always trying to spell as "cancelled" but being sometimes corrected by a spell-checker. Interestingly, sometimes -- but not always. Similar experiences happened to me with "colour", "behaviour", and other such words -- can't remember from the top of my head. Is this not English? :-)

    My personal favorites are "programme" and "artefact" -- but I personally never make these mistakes :-)