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., travel → travelled, cancel → cancelled). 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.