As a Quality Assurance Technician, it’s generally a bad idea to mark “FAIL” on something that is actually not incorrect. It’s worse still when not only are they not wrong, but you are wrong. Sort of.

A piece of software that we wrote spelled the word cancelled with one “l”. I have spelled it with two “l”s my entire life, but it’s good to check these things before you send them back so I looked it up and discovered that the English language is retarded. Or I should specify: the English language as spelled by Americans. Apparently the Standard English spelling is with two “l”s (aka “right”) and the Americans decided to go with one (aka wrong).

Why the heck should there be one “l” in cancelled? When a word ends in a single “l” the past tense gets two “l”s, not one. It’s not propeled, it’s propelled. It’s not compeled, it’s compelled. Of course, travelled is actually traveled, but that’s just as retarded as “canceled”. And why should cancelled have one l but cancellation gets two? That doesn’t make sense! Same with trave

Apparently I’m not the only one confused on this issue. A brief look on Google demonstrates that there are over twice as many links with the two-L version than there are with the one-L version. And lest you think it’s because Standard English is that much more common than American English, the American spelling of the word color beat out the British spelling by a 5-to-1 ratio. So I think I can say that there is a distinct possibility that more Americans are spelling the word wrong than are spelling it right. And if Google says it, it must be true!

I think that I’m going to actually stand my ground on this the same way I do for the word “theatre” which just doesn’t work as “theater” as far as I’m concerned. Same with “spectre”, where the American “specter” for some reason makes me think of something that is used to poke something else and not a netherworldly being.

Here are a bunch of other words that the Americans, the English, or the Canadians spell wrong. On a sidenote, though I knew that the Australians used Brit spelling I thought that Canadians tended to use American. Apparently, in their haste to split all differences they take different aspects for each.

In closing I will note that Firefox’s spell checker is going nuts with this post.

Category: School

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3 Responses to Common Sense English Cancelled

  1. logtar says:

    Try learning English as a second language coming from a romance language… it is tough. It seems like every single grammar rule has an exception!

  2. Abel says:

    It depends what dictionary you consult. My Merriam-Webster spells it with two L’s while my American Heritage spells it with one. Microsoft Word accepts both spellings. (Word has a HUGE impact on the way we spell BTW.) If you changed the spelling to two L’s I think you could back yourself up on it if someone challenged you. I’m more accustomed to seeing it spelled “cancelled” and would prefer to see it that way more often.

  3. trumwill says:


    You have my sympathy! When I took Spanish in high school the thought of how much less “standard” English is kept ringing through my mind.

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