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British vs. American Spelling

 

 

There are some well-known spelling differences between British English and American English. Many of these spelling differences result from French influence on English. British English has a tendency to keep the spelling of many words of French origin. While Americans try to spell words more closely to the way they sound phonetically and they tend to omit some letters.
The general spelling differences between British and American English are listed below:

 

 

British -our vs. American -or difference
armour armor
behaviour behavior
colour color
favourite favorite
flavour flavor
harbour harbor
honour honor
humour humor
labour labor
neighbour neighbor
rumour rumor
saviour

savior

 

British -re vs. American -er difference
amphitheatre amphitheater
centimetre centimeter
centre center
fibre fiber
kilometre kilometer
litre liter
lustre luster
louvre louver
manoeuvre maneuver
metre meter
spectre specter
theatre theater

 

British -ae/-oe/-oeu vs. American -e/-o/-eu difference
archaeology archeology
gynaecology gynecology
leukaemia leukemia
manoeuvre maneuver
mediaeval medieval
mementoes mementos
oestrogen estrogen
orthopaedic orthopedic
paediatric pediatric
palaeontology paleontology
toxaemia toxemia

 

British -se vs. American -ze difference*
analyse analyze
apologise apologize
appetiser appetizer
catalyse catalyze
civilise, civilisation civilize, civilization
colonise, colonisation colonize, colonization
criticise criticize
emphasise emphasize
organise organize
popularise, popularisation popularize, popularization
prise prize
realise realize
recognise recognize

 

Additional Notes:
British English uses both "-ise" and "-ize" forms but tends to prefer -ise (-isation) form.
Verbs in British English that can be spelled with either "-ize" or "-ise" at the end are always spelled with -ize in American English.
Verbs in British English that end in "-yse" (e.g. analyse) are always spelled "-yze" in American English (analyze).

 

British -l vs. American -ll difference
enrolment enrollment
fulfil fulfill
instalment installment
skilful skillful

 

British -ll vs. American -l difference
counsellor counselor
fuelled fueled
travelling traveling
parallelled paralleled
quarrelling quarreling

 

Remember:
In British English, verbs that end in -l preceded by a vowel usually double the final -l when a suffix -ed/-ing is added. In American English the final -l is doubled only when the last syllable is stressed.

 

British -ogue vs. American -og difference
analogue analog
catalogue catalog
dialogue dialog
monologue monolog

 

British –ence vs. American -ense difference
defence* defense
licence(noun)
license(verb)
license (both
noun and verb)
offence* offense
pretence pretense

 

*But note: defensive, offensive

 

British -dge/-gue vs. American -dg/-gu)
judgement judgment
arguement argument

 

British -que vs. American -k/–ck difference
banque bank
cheque (money) check

 

British -gramme vs. American -gram difference
programme (noun)
(TV/radio programme or programme of events - plans, conferences, a theatre programme etc.)
program
programme (verb) (to instruct) program (-mm-)
program (programme)
(computer program)
program
gram (gramme) gram
kilogram (kilogramme) kilogram

 

Miscellaneous spelling differences
British
American
British
American
ageing aging mould mold
aluminium aluminum mum, mummy (mom, mam) mom, mommy
encyclopaedia encyclopedia omelette omelet
kerb (edge of roadway or pavement)
curb (verb means "restrain")
curb (both
noun and verb)
practise (verb), practising, practice (noun) practice (both
noun and verb),
practicing
draught (current of air) draft pyjamas pajamas
grey gray plough plow
sulphur or sulfur sulfur tyre tire
jewellery jewelery sceptic skeptic
marvellous marvelous woollen woolen

 

It is useful to learn both British and American English forms, but a good recommendation is to aim for consistency in your spelling.

 

Bibliography:

Boyanova, M. 2002-2015. British vs. American English. Study English Today.

http://www.studyenglishtoday.net/british-american-spelling.html

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