The context is a customer has placed an order wrongly. They have requested to cancel the order.

  1. We have cancelled the wrong order.
  2. We have cancelled the incorrect order.

I've been pondering on the two sentences above. Do they have different meanings?

Does #1 mean we have cancelled an order but is not the one that has to be cancelled? Or does the article "the" help to clarify is the specific wrong order? Is #2 more appropriate?

  • 1
    #2 reads slightly more polite to me, less suggestion of fault, but both would be OK. They both have the same ambiguity; to avoid that, perhaps something like "we have cancelled the order as requested", or more explicitly "we have cancelled order 1234 as requested" Oct 26, 2022 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


Both sentences are ambiguous and have the same two possible meanings:

A: We cancelled an order, but we should have cancelled a different one.

B: Someone placed an incorrect order, and we have cancelled it.

Now, it's more likely that sentence 1 means the same as A, and sentence 2 means the same as B, but both sentences can be used with either meaning.

If you want to be clear, reword so it's not ambiguous, or make sure it's clear in the context which meaning the sentence should have.

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