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British and American Spellings: The Differences



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Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:02 pm
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godlypopo says...



From countless experiences I have found that the different types of English are not very well understood. There are quite a few words I would like to cover that alternate depending on the type of English you speak. Just a quick note: it's not incorrect to spell things differently if you are using a different form of English, I am just covering the different types to form a better understanding.

1. British English: Realise
American English: Realize

2. British English: Centre Fibre Litre Metre
American English: Center Fiber Liter Meter

3. British English: Colour Flavour Humour Labour Neighbour
American English: Color Flavor Humor Labor Neighbor

4. British English: Analyse Paralyse
American English: Analyze Paralyze

5. British English: Defence Licence Offence
American English: Defense License Offense

Other spellings include:
Moustache and mustache
Tyre and tire
pyjamas and pajamas
cheque and check
woollen and woolen
jewellery and jewelry
programme and program

These are only the examples @steampowered and I could think of - if I have missed out anything important please mention it below


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Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:48 pm
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BluesClues says...



Is mustache the British spelling? Because that would explain why my computer always thinks I'm spelling it wrong when I think I'm spelling it right. (Although, since I'm American, I'm not quite sure where I got that spelling anyway. Whatever.)
  





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Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:02 pm
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Vervain says...



"Offence" is also an accepted American spelling. And spellings aren't the end of using other forms of English—there's a lot of individualized slang that could be sorted by region, let alone country.

And another note—I believe the Commonwealth countries (Britain's territories/former territories, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (correct me if I'm wrong)) officially use British spellings. But yes, a good simple resources on spotting the differences between the two. ^^
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Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:51 pm
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Pompadour says...



@BlueAfrica, 'moustache' is the British spelling. ^^

Another word spelled differently in British and American English is manoeuvre (British) and maneuver (American).
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Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:58 pm
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Zolen says...



The reason for this difference is partly a matter of developing languages as new tech appears while in partial isolation, (torch/flashlight for example) but partly a matter of petty disagreements. See up until that whole fight between Britian and the US, the citizens of the us saw themselves as british (not all, just the majority), so were fine with the language, but after all the chaos that lead to the split.

So they did a lot of things to try to set themselves apart as their own country. At one point they thought to develop a whole new language, while another was to adapt one of the many languages mixed upon their population. This was never decided upon (thus why TECHNICALLY the US has no official language) but they still wanted to do something so they started changing the spellings of all sorts of words. Adding and taking away parts till its current result.
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Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:39 pm
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BluesClues says...



I have read that Noah Webster is specifically responsible for removing the "u" from words like "colour" ("color"). Perhaps more, but specifically that, when he made the first dictionary of "American English."
  





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Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:51 pm
Zolen says...



BlueAfrica wrote:I have read that Noah Webster is specifically responsible for removing the "u" from words like "colour" ("color"). Perhaps more, but specifically that, when he made the first dictionary of "American English."


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Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:49 pm
Firestarter says...



In British English, the word program and programme are both used, but for different things. It is not as simple to say that programme is used for everything.

For example, in British English, there are computer programs, but alternatively there are government programmes.

Useful link with a list of all common spelling differences.
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Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:32 pm
godlypopo says...



Firestarter wrote:In British English, the word program and programme are both used, but for different things. It is not as simple to say that programme is used for everything.

For example, in British English, there are computer programs, but alternatively there are government programmes.

Useful link with a list of all common spelling differences.


I'm British too :p Just managed to forget that XD
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Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:33 am
TriSARAHtops says...



Another difference I became aware of is 'practice/practise'. In British English, 'practice' is the noun, and 'practise' is the verb, whereas American English only uses 'practice' for both. I was never aware that Americans didn't use the 'ise' form until I received a review from a well-meaning but oblivious-to-British-English reviewer who 'corrected' my use of the word 'practising'.

And another note—I believe the Commonwealth countries (Britain's territories/former territories, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (correct me if I'm wrong)) officially use British spellings

We do. The American influence creeps in a bit from time to time, but we do use the British spellings.
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Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:26 am
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kayfortnight says...



The fun part is when you're an American who reads a lot of British books and thus occasionally uses British spelling. Except my teachers like to mark it wrong. My particular "issue" is spelling words as learnt (which is the specific one I've had marked wrong), dreamt, leapt, and smelt, instead of learned, dreamed, leaped, smelled. I don't know. The British version just seems crisper to me.
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Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:59 pm
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TimmyJake says...



I use British spelling all the time, even though I'm an American. But it's quite by accident, and I don't realize it most of the time.

I talk to way too many European people. xD
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Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:29 pm
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Dreamy says...



Check and Cheque. Wow, that's some serious difference.
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Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:53 pm
Holysocks says...



I'm from Canada so I tend to use British English... Though I've always used 'realize' and I thought the ones with Zs were British, anyway.
I hope it's a good joke because otherwise I'll have got it for nothing...

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Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:47 pm
Lava says...



I'm always inconsistent with the two sets of spellings - I hate it!
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