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Difference between American and British English (Part I)

“We (the British and Americans) are two countries separated by a common language”, asserted world-renowned playwright, G.B Shaw and rightly so.

The diversity prevailing in both spoken and written English further corroborates the difference between American and British English.

English originated in England in the 10th century A.D and was introduced in America in the 17th century by the British Empire. British Colonialists introduced the English Language in other colonies as well which adopted the language with little modifications. Americans, however  (in the real sense of the word) Americanized English completely.

The American spellings are different from their British counterparts. Also, usage of Grammar and Syntax structure varies in both countries.

Let us look at the difference in spellings between American and British English:

Use of -or v/s -our

AmericanBritish
colorcolour
favoritefavourite
honorhonour
endeavorendeavour
favorfavour
humorhumour

Use of -ze v/s -se

AmericanBritish
analyzeanalyse
criticizecriticise
memorizememorise
recognizerecognise
realizerealise

*Surprise surprisingly remains Surprise in American English. Overgeneralizing the rule may lead to some errors.

Use of -ll v/s -l

AmericanBritish
enrollmentenrolment
skillfulskilful
fulfillfulfil

Use of -er v/s -re

AmericanBritish
centercentre
metermetre
theatertheatre

Use of -og v/s -ogue

AmericanBritish
analoganalogue
catalogcatalogue
dialogdialogue

Use of -e v/s -oe or -ae

AmericanBritish
encyclopediaencyclopaedia
maneuvermanoeuver
medievalmediaeval

Use of -ck or k v/s que

AmericanBritish
bankbanque
checkcheque
checkerchequer

Use of -dg v/s -dge (or -g v/s -gu)

AmericanBritish
agingageing
argumentarguement
judgmentjudgement

*Management does not become Managment in American, so take care.

Use of -ense v/s -ence

AmericanBritish
defensedefence
licenselicence
offenseoffence

Others

AmericanBritish
jewelryjewellery
pajamaspyjamas
plowplough
programprogramme
tiretyre
Base WordAmericanBritish
counselcounselingcounselling
equalequalingequalling
modelmodelingmodelling
quarrelquarrelingquarrelling
signalsignalingsignalling
traveltravelingtravelling

*Exceptions

Base WordAmericanBritish
excelexcellingexcelling
propelpropellingpropelling

The above list of differences is not all-inclusive but will definitely come in handy!

Using correct spellings in your copy will reflect very well on your merit as a copywriter especially when the content you are working on is country-specific and sensitive.

So spell correctly and keep up the Quality!


Looking for an experienced team that can write search engine optimized content for your business? Reach out to us at letstalk@cueblocks.com.

I am a writer, reader, and a part time adventure and travel enthusiast. The other three things that vie for my mind share are dark chocolate, coffee, and photography. I am highly motivated by user perspectives and addressing the common human experience when I write.

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