“Canon” vs “Cannon”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Did you know that Cannon with two n’s, is a long heavy gun on wheels?

If you misplace the n, the word canon means a set of rules or traditions.

Previously, the words were spelled alike. You are not wrong to think and see them spelled the same. But now, they’re not.

Canon vs. Cannon


The word canon is a noun that means a set of rules or principles that are accepted or followed or an authority list of books or texts. It can also mean any established rule or concept that everyone follows.

Again, canon refers to a particular member of the clergy or a contrapuntal musical composition.

Canon originated from the church where it means “church law.”

It changed its meaning to a “catalog of approved authors” in the 1800s. A comprehensive, accepted collection of work or connected writings is now known as the canon.

Original material or content is also known as canon. For example, if you write fan fiction about Harry Potter, the source material is official but not your fan fiction.


The canon of black autobiography sensibly includes scores of books about resistance to the American system. (The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates)

See also: When to Use “Passed” vs “Past”: Definitions and Examples


On the other hand, Cannon is a noun that means a big gun usually mounted on wheels.

The plural form of cannon is cannon.

You can also find cannon written on t-shirts.

In the medieval days, cannon was a popular weapon used as an artifact or for ceremonies.

It is of Latin roots. In the 1800s the spelling changed from canon with one n to having double nn.

A cannon is a giant tube that shoots projectiles.

For example;

  • Josh is a loose cannon and I am the class know-it-all.
  • When we went to the Saratoga battlefield, I had an accident with a Revolutionary War cannon.

Examples of how to use Cannon vs canon

Here are a few examples;

  • Correct: Are books and comics part of the Star Wars canon?
  • Incorrect: Are books and comics part of the Star Wars cannon?
  • Correct: As the soldiers approached the museum, we fired a cannon to discourage them.
  • Incorrect: As the soldiers approached the museum, we fired a canon to discourage them.
  • Correct: It’s accepted as canon that more than one cannon is still referred to as cannon.
  • Incorrect: It’s accepted as cannon that more than one canon is still referred to as canon.

See also: “Sew” vs “Sow”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

How to Remember

In other words, if you ever find yourself unable to recall how many n’s you need, just keep in mind that the large gun cannon requires two n’s, whereas the small rule or set of books just requires one.

Summary of Main Points

A cannon is a weapon that shoots powerful ammunition.

A canon comprises a collection of religious laws or a group of works in a certain field of study or art.

Canon is an extremely specific word. It is unlikely to come up frequently.

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A tip to remember the difference between cannon vs canon is this: a cannon has an extra n as ammunition. Canon is the original which signifies law or rules.