‘Caramel’ or 'Carmel' or ‘Carmal’: Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on March 8, 2023

You might hear people say this word two different ways – ‘caramel’ and ‘carmel.’ But which is correct? We’ll go over that in this article, plus you’ll learn how to use the correct spelling of the word in a sentence, as well as pronounce it correctly.

In short, the correct one is:

  • ‘Caramel’ is a noun, and it refers to candy or to a light brown color.
  • ‘Carmal’ is not a word.
  • 'Carmel’ is a proper noun that refers to a place in California. It’s also called ‘Carmel-By-the-Sea.'

‘Carmal’ vs. ‘Caramel’ – Which is Correct?

Out of the two, the only correct word is ‘caramel.’ ‘Carmel’ is technically a proper noun. It’s the name of a city in California about 100 miles south of San Francisco.

So, technically, both words are correct to use. It just depends on the context in which you use them.

‘Caramel’ refers to a type of candy or a light brown color.

‘Carmal’ is not a word.

‘Carmel’ is a city in California.

‘Carmel’ vs. ‘Caramel’ – What’s the Difference?

 We just discussed that the difference between ‘Carmel’ and ‘caramel’ is that the former is a city in California, and the latter is a type of candy or a light brown color.

You might see people making caramel apples around Halloween. They’re also called candy apples, but they’re covered in caramel syrup.

Snickers bars are famous for having caramel in them.

'Carmel,' the city in California, is located about 300 miles north of Los Angeles and 100 miles south of San Francisco.

It lies on the Caramel River, and it has all kinds of restaurants, beaches, and tours.

Definition of ‘Caramel’: What Does ‘Caramel’ Mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘caramel’ as:

  • A usually firm to brittle, golden-brown to a dark brown substance that has a sweet, nutty, buttery, or bitter flavor.

It’s made by heating sugar at high temperatures and is used especially as a coloring and flavoring agent.

It could also mean a firm, chewy, usually caramel-flavored candy made with sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter.

Definition of ‘Carmel’: What Does ‘Carmel’ Mean? 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘Carmel’ as:

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea city in western California south of Monterey Bay with a population of 3722.
  • It’s also a city in central Indiana, north of Indianapolis, with a population of 79,191.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Caramel’

Are you unsure of how to pronounce these two words? Here’s a short guide.

To pronounce ‘caramel’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling:


How to Use ‘Caramel’ in a Sentence

Now that we’ve got definitions and pronunciations out of the way, let’s look at some sentence examples so you can form some of your own.

  • I love caramel candy. My Auntie used to give us those hard candies in church every Sunday.
  • Every Halloween, me and my sisters make caramel apples with my mom. They’re so sticky but so delicious!
  • I’m not sure why you would bring caramel candy upstairs and leave it in your room. Now we have to clean all this melted caramel out of the carpet!
  • I had a really cute pair of suede boots in caramel. They were so cute, but they got ruined last winter when my brother threw up on them.
  • Why does Joshua get extra caramel candy? This is so not fair!
  • We’re not going to have caramel candy this year because we’re trying to find a healthier option. Maybe we could get fruits and vegetables for the kids this year.
  • This caramel candy is the worst. I wonder where dad got this from.
  • Why don’t we have a mixture of candy this year? We can get caramel, chocolate, and gummy candy.

 Final Advice on ‘Carmel’ or ‘Caramel’

To recap, we learned the following:

  • ‘Caramel’ is a noun, and it refers to candy or a light brown color.
  • Carmal’ is a proper noun that refers to a place in California. It’s also called ‘Carmel-By-the-Sea.’

Remember, never use these words interchangeably because they mean two different things.

If you ever get stuck on anything, don’t be afraid to come back here to review what you learned. We’ve also got a ton of other content on confusing words and phrases you might see while learning the English language. Feel free to check it out anytime.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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