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American and British English Spelling Differences

American and British English Spelling Differences

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Published by kaparthy
A complete article explaining the many differences between British and American english
A complete article explaining the many differences between British and American english

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Published by: kaparthy on Nov 30, 2008
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04/19/2014

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American and British Englishspelling differences
American and British English spelling differences
are oneaspect of American and British English differences. 
British English (BrE)
 
American English (AmE)
Contents
1 Historical origins2 Spelling and pronunciation3 Latin-derived spellingso3.1 -our, -oro3.2 -re, -ero3.3 -ce, -seo3.4 -xion, -ction4 Greek spellings
 
o4.1 -ise, -ize4.1.1 -yse, -yzeo4.2 -ogue, -ogo4.3 Simplification of ae (æ) and oe (œ)5 Compounds and hyphens6 Doubled consonantso6.1 Doubled in British Englisho6.2 Doubled in American English7 Dropped e8 Different spellings, different connotations9 Acronyms and abbreviations10 Miscellaneous spelling differences
 The spelling systems of Commonwealth countries, for the mostpart, closely resemble the British system. In Canada, however,while most spelling is "British", many "American" spellings arealso used. Additional information on Canadian and Australianspelling is provided throughout the article.
Historical origins
In the early 18th century, English spelling was notstandardized. Differences became noticeable after thepublishing of influential dictionaries. Current British Englishspellings follow, for the most part, those of Samuel Johnson's
Dictionary of the English Language
(1755), whereas manyAmerican English spellings follow Noah Webster's
An
 
 AmericanDictionary of the English Language
of 1828.Webster was a strong proponent of spelling reform for reasonsboth philological and nationalistic. Many spelling changesproposed in the US by Webster himself, and in the early 20thcentury by the Simplified Spelling Board, never caught on.Among the advocates of spelling reform in England, theinfluences of those who preferred the Norman (or Anglo-French) spellings of certain words proved decisive. Subsequentspelling adjustments in the UK had little effect on present-dayUS spelling, and vice versa. While in many cases AmericanEnglish deviated in the 19th century from mainstream Britishspelling, on the other hand it has also often retained olderforms.
 
Spelling and pronunciation
In a few cases, essentially the same word has a differentspelling which reflects a different pronunciation.As well as the miscellaneous cases listed in the following table,the past tenses of some irregular verbs differ in both spellingand pronunciation, as with
smelt 
(mainly UK)versus
smelled
(mainly US): see American and British Englishdifferences: Verb morphology.
UK USNotesaeroplaneairplane
Aeroplane
, originally a French loanword, isthe older spelling. According to the OED,
[a]irplane
became the standard U.S. term(replacing
aeroplane
) after it was adopted bythe National Advisory Committee forAeronautics in 1916. Although A. Lloyd Jonesrecommended its adoption by the BBC in1928, it has until recently been no more thanan occasional form in British English." In theBritish National Corpus,
aeroplane
outnumbers
airplane
by more than 7:1. Thecase is similar for UK 
aerodrome
andUS
airdrome
, although both of these formsare now obsolescent. Theprefixes
aero-
and
air-
both mean
air 
, the firstcoming from the Greek word
αέρας
. Thus, forexample, the first appears in aeronautics,aerostatics and aerodynamics, and so on,where the second suffix is a Greek word,while the second occurs (invariably)in aircraft, airport, airliner, airmail, etc. wherethe second suffix is an English word. InCanada,
 Airplane
is used more commonlythan
aeroplane
, although
aeroplane
is notunknown, especially in parts of FrenchCanada (the current French term is,however,
avion
aéroplane
designating inFrench the plane ancestor). Both Canada andAustralia use
aerodrome
as a technical term.
aluminiumaluminum
 The spelling aluminium is the internationalstandard in the sciences (IUPAC). TheAmerican spelling is nonetheless used bymany American scientists. Humphry Davy,the element's discoverer, first proposed thename
alumium
, and then later
aluminum
. The

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