Labeled or Labelled—Which Is Correct?

  • Labeled and labelled are both correct spellings.
  • Labeled is the preferred spelling in American English.
  • Labelled is the preferred spelling in British English.

How should you spell the past tense of the verb label? After adding the -ed ending, should you double the L? Speakers of American English might answer differently than speakers of British English.

Labeled vs. Labelled

Labeled and labelled are both correct spellings, and they mean the same thing. How you spell the word depends on your audience. If you are writing for American readers, labeled is the preferred spelling. In other places, such as Great Britain and Canada, labelled is a more common spelling than labeled.

Even though the jar was labeled as flour, the children knew it was where their mom hid the candy.

The school labeled the lockers with numbers.

What the janitor labelled bug spray contained a powerful poison.

No one likes to be labelled as a cheater.

Examples

Labeled in North American Publications

As you shop your favorite grocery store, do you lean toward foods that are labeled “natural”?

“As a concerned citizen and a veteran I am profoundly upset that your administration has labeled the American Flag a ‘disruptive symbol,” Velis wrote.

Labelled in British Publications

A schoolboy has been suspended after a light-hearted video of him rapping was labelled a ‘hate crime’ by teachers.

In February, the Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, published a story which labelled Prince William “work-shy Wills”, and accused him of “shirking” his royal duties and his job as an air ambulance pilot.

When reading, keep in mind that labeled and labelled are both correct. If you are the writer, choose the most familiar form for your readers. If you have questions about other British vs. American English spellings, you might do some research before deciding which word is right for you. Do you know the difference between realise and realize or check and cheque?

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