Spelling Tips: Label or Lable?
  • 3-minute read
  • 4th March 2021

Spelling Tips: Label or Lable?

When you put a name tag on something, do you “label” it or “lable” it? It is easy to misspell this word, so make sure you know how to spell it correctly in your writing.

What Does “Label” Mean?

The word “label” is usually a noun that refers to a tag that identifies or describes something. This could be a physical label with information on it:

The label says the yogurt is low fat.

That dress is dry clean only according to the label.

Or it could be a word or phrase that characterizes something:

He couldn’t shake off his “playboy” label.

It can also refer to a brand in the fashion and music industries.

As a verb, meanwhile, “label” means “attach a label” to something:

I need to label those boxes.

They were labeled as troublemakers.

However you use the word, though, it is always spelled “label.”

The Error: Lable

Many people misspell “label” as “lable,” but this is always an error:

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There is no lable on this package.

There is no label on this package.

I haven’t labled any presents yet.

I haven’t labeled any presents yet.

This mistake may occur because “label” rhymes with words that end with “-le” like “table,” “stable,” and “cable.” However, the correct spelling is always “label.”

Labeled or Labelled?

In American English, the past tense of “label” is “labeled,” spelled with one “l.” This follows the standard doubling up rule, where you only double the final letter in a word when the last syllable is stressed.

This differs in British and Australian English, though. In these dialects, some words double the final “l” when adding a vowel suffix regardless of where the stress falls (e.g., traveltravelled, cancelcancelled). And this is true of “label,” too:

American English: The parcels have all been labeled.

British English: The parcels have all been labelled.

The same applies whenever you add a vowel suffix to “label” For example:

American English: We are labeling the parcels.

British English: We are labelling the parcels.

Make sure to use the correct spelling for your chosen dialect!

Summary: Label or Lable?

“Label” can be a noun or a verb, but it always refers to some sort of identifying tag (or the act of tagging someone with a “label”). And while it rhymes with words like “table” and “cable,” this term is always spelled “label” with an “-el” at the end.

“Lable,” on the other hand, is always an error, so look out for this in your writing. And if you’d like to be sure your work is error free, our proofreaders can help. Submit a 500-word document for free to find out more today.

Comments (6)
Alex
3rd March 2022 at 13:22
Thank you for the help! As a side comment, there is an error in the sentence "This follows the standard the standard doubling up rule, ", where you doubled up on writing "the standard"... if it was on purpose, it's a pretty funny joke, though.
    Proofed
    3rd March 2022 at 16:43
    Good spot, Alex! I don't believe it was an intentional joke, so I've now corrected it for clarity, but it was at least an amusing error. Thanks for pointing it out.
Chris CArter
31st March 2022 at 14:30
British English a dialect!?! "This differs in British and Australian English, though. In these dialects, some words..... Surely American is a dialect?
    Proofed
    31st March 2022 at 15:06
    Hi, Chris. A dialect (in the sense we're using it here, at least) is a form of a language characteristic of a group of speakers, so British, American, and Australian English are all dialects of English. They all overlap in certain ways, of course, but they also have features that make them distinct from one another.
Michael Tansey
12th August 2022 at 08:10
There is no such thing as “English English”. There is English, as spoken in the UK, and variants, such as American (English), Australian (English) etc. You do not say German German, or French French (to take 2 examples) to differentiate them from Swiss German or the French spoken in Quebec respectively.
    Proofed
    27th August 2022 at 16:43
    Good point, Michael! It’s very interesting to explore how other languages’ “standard” dialects are described (for example, I’ve seen “standard Metropolitan French” and “standard European French” used to describe “French French”).

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