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American vs British Spelling


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Courtesy Massey University, New Zealand

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American vs British Spelling

  1. 1. 5/25/2017 American vs. British spelling ­ OWLL ­ Massey University­writing/american­vs­british­spelling.php 1/3 American vs. British spelling When writing assignments in New Zealand most lecturers will expect you to spell words in the British rather than the American fashion. Note however that some lecturers only insist on internal consistency: it should either have totally British spelling or totally American spelling. Ensure that your computer's spell­checker is set to the correct variety of English, or check in a good dictionary. The main differences between British and American spelling are as follows: ­our vs. ­or Most words ending in ­our in British English are spelt ­or in American English. British American colour color flavour flavor labour labor rumour rumor behaviour behavior favourite favorite ­re vs. ­er Words ending in ­re in British English are usually written ­er in American English. British American centre center metre meter litre liter Massey University > OWLL > Academic writing > Editing and proofreading > American vs. British spelling
  2. 2. 5/25/2017 American vs. British spelling ­ OWLL ­ Massey University­writing/american­vs­british­spelling.php 2/3 theatre theater fibre fiber ­ise vs. ­ize For many verbs that end in ­se or ­ize, British spelling most commonly uses ­ise, whereas American spelling uses ­ize. Some British spelling sources, such as the Oxford English Dictionary, also prefer ­ize. British American specialise specialize realise realize equalise equalize recognise recognize organise organize ­ogue vs. ­og Most words spelt ­ogue in British English are spelt ­og in American English. British American analogue analog catalogue catalog dialogue dialog ­ll­ vs. ­l­ When adding a suffix (e.g. ­ed, ­er, ­ing) to some words ending with l British spelling doubles the l, whereas American spelling does not. British American travelled traveled counsellor counselor cruellest cruelest Other words
  3. 3. 5/25/2017 American vs. British spelling ­ OWLL ­ Massey University­writing/american­vs­british­spelling.php 3/3 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Online form Massey University Private Bag 11 222 Palmerston North 4442 New Zealand Site map | A­Z index | Disclaimer | Privacy  Copyright © 1998 ­ 2010 Massey University. All rights reserved. Some other common words are also spelt differently. British American programme program* bank cheque bank check defence defense speciality specialty aluminium aluminum sceptic skeptic * In British English “program” is used for computer software, but “programme” for other meanings. References and further reading Marriot, S., & Farrell, B. (1992). Common errors in written English. Edinburgh: Chambers. Page authorised by Director, CTL Last updated on 25 October, 2012