Many writers mix up the words carmel and caramel, since they’re spelled in very similar ways. However, they actually mean very different things.
So when should you use each spelling?
The short answer is that caramel refers to a type of candy or a light brown color, while Carmel refers to geographical locations, such as Mount Carmel and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
This article will explain the difference between carmel vs caramel, and help you remember how to use each.
What Is Caramel?
Caramel has three definitions, all of which are related to candy or color.
The first definition is a type of chewy candy made from butter, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk.
For example, you might say, “The dentist told me to eat less caramel in order to avoid getting cavities.” Common phrases which include this word are salted caramel, soft caramels, and caramel apples.
Caramel is also used to describe the sweetener you get when you cook sugar until it’s darkened and burnt. For example, you might say “I used caramelized sugar to garnish my dessert.”
The word caramel is also used to refer to the light brown color of its sugary namesake. For example, you might say “I like the caramel-colored scarf more than the black one.”
What Is Carmel?
The word Carmel is always a proper noun. It’s a popular name for geographical places, such as cities, rivers, and schools.
For example, there’s a beach town in California called Carmel-by-the-Sea.
There’s also a Mediterranean location named Carmel referenced in the Bible, meaning “God’s Vineyard.” Many other places, and even people, share this name as well.
Difference Between Carmel vs Caramel
Many people accidentally spell caramel as Carmel, which is incorrect.
The spelling Carmel, without the second A, should only be used as a proper noun that describes a person or a place.
When in doubt, use the version with a double A, since that’s much more common. Whenever you’re talking about a sweet treat or a light brown color, you should use caramel.
ProWritingAid has tools that can help you spell similar words like caramel and Carmel correctly.
Our Realtime Report can detect when you’ve used the wrong word. It’s always a good idea to run this report in case you’ve mixed up the uses of caramel and Carmel.
Tip to Remember How to Spell Caramel Correctly
One helpful tip for remembering how to spell caramel is by remembering that dentists often ask their patients to say “aah.”
If you eat too much caramel, you’ll have to go to the dentist. “Aah” has multiple As in it; therefore, caramel is spelled with two As, unlike Carmel, which only has one.
Carmel vs Caramel Pronunciation
The name Carmel is normally pronounced with only two syllables, either as “KARR-mel” or “KARR-mul.”
The pronunciation of caramel varies widely depending on where you’re from. There’s no single correct way to pronounce caramel.
The three most popular pronunciations of caramel are: “KARR-mul,” “KARR-uh-mel,” and “KARR-uh-mul.”
Generally, British speakers prefer the pronunciation “KARR-uh-mel,” while different regions in America favor all three pronunciations.
Examples of Carmel and Caramel Used in Sentences
Let’s look at some examples of Carmel and caramel from popular English books.
“The Carmel is a lovely little river. It isn’t very long but in its course it has everything a river should have.”—John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
“Therefore our prayers should consist mainly of rousing our awareness of God's love for us rather than trying to rouse God's awareness of our love for him, like the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel.”—Peter Kreeft, Prayer for Beginners
“They think Jesse is what Father Dominic told them he is: a ‘young Jesuit student who transferred to the Carmel Mission from Mexico, then lost his yearning to go into the priesthood’ after meeting me.”—Meg Cabot, Proposal
“The circus looks abandoned and empty. But you think perhaps you can smell caramel wafting through the evening breeze, beneath the crisp scent of the autumn leaves. A subtle sweetness at the edges of the cold.”—Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
“Mr. Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips.”—Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
“She found herself unable to turn away, unable to stop thinking about the would-be healer with the brown-gold hair and caramel eyes, of what Yrene had lost and how helpless she'd become.”—Sarah J. Maas, The Assassin’s Blade
“He had a nice laugh, rich and almost melodious. It made me think of warm caramel, dripping from a spoon.”—Richelle Mead, Frostbite
“His caramel-colored hair was brushed back, and he walked with his hands in his pockets, as if he’d strolled down these halls before.”—Kiera Cass, The Heir
There you have it: a complete guide to caramel vs Carmel. Remember that caramel the candy has two As, and you’ll be good to go!