American and British English spelling differences

American and British English spelling differences are one aspect of American and British English differences.

British English (BrE)

American English (AmE)

Contents
• • • o o o o • 1 Historical origins 2 Spelling and pronunciation 3 Latin-deri ed spellings 3!1 -our" -or 3!2 -re" -er 3!3 -ce" -se 3!# -$ion" -ction # %ree& spellings

o o o • • o o • • • •

#!1 -ise" -i'e #!1!1 -(se" -('e #!2 -ogue" -og #!3 Simplification of ae ()) and oe (*) + ,ompounds and h(phens - .ou/led consonants -!1 .ou/led in British English -!2 .ou/led in American English 0 .ropped e 1 .ifferent spellings" different connotations 2 Acron(ms and a//re iations 13 4iscellaneous spelling differences

The spelling systems of Commonwealth countries, for the most part, closely resemble the British system. In Canada, however, while most spelling is "British", many "American" spellings are also used. Additional information on Canadian and Australian spelling is provided throughout the article.

Historical origins
In the early !th century, English spelling was not standardi"ed. #ifferences became noticeable after the publishing of influential dictionaries. Current British English spellings follow, for the most part, those of $amuel %ohnson&s Dictionary of the English Language ' ())*, whereas many American English spellings follow +oah ,ebster&s An American Dictionary of the English Language of !-!. ,ebster was a strong proponent of spelling reform for reasons both philological and nationalistic. .any spelling changes proposed in the /$ by ,ebster himself, and in the early -0th century by the $implified $pelling Board, never caught on. Among the advocates of spelling reform in England, the influences of those who preferred the +orman 'or Anglo1 2rench* spellings of certain words proved decisive. $ubse3uent spelling ad4ustments in the /5 had little effect on present1day /$ spelling, and vice versa. ,hile in many cases American English deviated in the 6th century from mainstream British spelling, on the other hand it has also often retained older forms.

Both Canada and Australia use aerodrome as a technical term. According to the 9E#. although both of these forms are now obsolescent. where the second suffi< is a =ree> word. 56 5S aeroplan airplane e 7otes Aeroplane. and so on. although aeroplane is not un>nown. airmail. aerostatics and aerodynamics. the past tenses of some irregular verbs differ in both spelling and pronunciation.Spelling and pronunciation In a few cases.and air. while the second occurs 'invariably* in aircraft. airliner. avion ? a roplanedesignating in 2rench the plane ancestor*. airport." In the British +ational Corpus. aeroplane outnumbers airplane by more than (7 . where the second suffi< is an English word. the first coming from the =ree> wordαέρας. especially in parts of 2rench Canada 'the current 2rench term is. for e<ample. essentially the same word has a different spelling which reflects a different pronunciation. Thus. As well as the miscellaneous cases listed in the following table. is the older spelling. originally a 2rench loanword. The spelling aluminium is the international standard in the sciences 'I/@AC*. term 'replacing aeroplane* after it was adopted by the +ational Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 6 :. however. The aluminiu aluminum m . it has until recently been no more than an occasional form in British English. as withsmelt 'mainly /5* versus smelled 'mainly /$*7 see American and British English differences7 8erb morphology. In Canada.both mean air. and then later aluminum. . The prefi<es aero. the first appears in aeronautics.loyd %ones recommended its adoption by the BBC in 6-!. [a]irplane became the standard /. The American spelling is nonetheless used by many American scientists. the element&s discoverer.$. Aumphry #avy. Although A. Airplane is used more commonly than aeroplane. The case is similar for /5 aerodrome and /$ airdrome. first proposed the namealumium. etc.

e(rie aerie Qhyme with "eary and hairy respectively. Both forms are found in Canada and Australia '"ass" to a lesser e<tent in the latterC "arse" may be used in +orth America as a "non1vulgar replacement"*. "cra"y". "foolish". so that the /$ form.eat or fish. grott( grod( Clippings of grotes$ueC both are slang terms from the 6:0s. chari ari shi aree"char In the /$. is reminiscent of the 6(0s disco dancing &boogie& to the /5 ear. Canada as /$. the E is accented when used as a foreign word. and is a corruption of the 2rench word. @ronounced the 2rench way 'appro<imately* in the /$. Australia as /5. Both forms originated in 6th century England from other senses7 !army meant "frothing Das of beerE"C !almy means "warm and soft Das of weatherE". Both spellings and pronunciations occur in the /$.boogeyman. British !army is generally misheard in +orth America as !almy. which has limited meaning in American English. which is also found in Canada and Cornwall. car/uret car/uretor British pronunciation I@A7 BI>KHbLFMNtL'M*BC tor /$ I@A7 BF>KMbLIMeOtPB. and is usually pronounced with a voiced e. Canada as /$. In the /$. where both terms are mainly i ari regional. furore furor #urore is a late !th1century Italian loan that replaced the . fillet fillet" filet . .atinate form in the /5 in the following century. /eho e /ehoo e /oge(m /ooge(man an The spo>en form is pronounced I@A7 BFboGgiH ImJnB '"B9A1ghi1man"* in the /5. coup8 coupe 2or a two1door carC the horse1drawn carriage is coup in bothC unrelated "cup"B"bowl" is always coupe. In sense "slightly insane". Canada spelling and pronunciation as /$. Australia has both. charivari is usually pronounced as shivaree.arse ass /arm( /alm( name aluminium was finally adopted to conform with the -ium ending of metallic elements. In vulgar senses "buttoc>s" '"anus"B"wretch"*C unrelated sense "don>ey"B"idiot" is ass in both.

.haulier Aaulage contractorC haulier is the older spelling. mum is used. g as scala"ag*.idlands English*C some British dialects havemam. especially in the case of the Boston accent. rumor*. In Canada. the British spelling is an also1ran. flavour. scally"ag is not un>nown. :uin :uint Abbreviations of 3uintuplet. armour. pernic&e persnic&et( &ersnic'ety is a late 6th1century +orth t( American alteration of the $cottish word pernic'ety. and also as a legal term for a contract under seal.erriam1.g. scall(.ost words ending in unstressed 1our in the /nited 5ingdom 'e. t8 ending D1&eOEC the British form is nativised. while it is still spelledmom. . honor.a scala.other. and this is often used in +orthern English. snigger snic&er According to ma4or dictionaries. both forms can occur in both dialects.flavor.e. .elsh English. moustac mustache In the /$. mum(m( mom(m() . according to the . yet the pronunciation with second1 syllable stress is a common variant. specialty prevailsC in Australia both are current. honour. tit/it tid/it hauler Latin-deri ed spellings -our" -or .here the vowel is unreduced. the British pronunciation of mum is often retained. nai et( nai et8"na9 e The American forms are from 2rench. this does not occur7 contour. colour. ending D1iE. Canada has mom and mumC in Australia. %om is sporadically regionally found ) in the /5 '. but specialty occurs in the field of medicine. armor..est . Irish and . In the /$ region of +ew England. rumour* end in 1or in the /nited $tates 'i. color.ag In the /$ 'where the word originated. although snigger can cause offense in the /$ due to the similarity to nigger( specialit specialt( In British English the standard usage ( is speciality.ebster he Collegiate #ictionary and the American Aeritage #ictionary.

The 1our ending was not only retained in English borrowings from Anglo12rench.enc>en ma>es the point that. where the u has since been dropped. harbor.ebster&s !-! dictionary featured only -or and is generally given much of the credit for the adoption of this form in the /$. After the +orman Con3uest. from among the variations in his sources7 he favoured 2rench over . "the 2rench generally supplied us. are spelled thus everywhere. or neighbor scarcely appear in the 9ld Bailey&s court records from the (th and !th century. as he saw it. was not an advocate of spelling reform. flavor.any words of the 1ourB1or group do not have a . errour.atin non1agent nouns having nominative 1orC the first such borrowings into English were from early 9ld 2rench and the ending was 1or or 1ur. $ome :th and early (th century British scholars indeed insisted that 1or be used for words of . color* and 1our for 2rench loansC but in many cases the etymology was not completely clear. .terrour. "E<amples such as color. After the Qenaissance.ost words of this category derive from . harbo'u*r. ." Those English spea>ers who began to move across the Atlantic would have ta>en these habits with them and A . as well as for emperour. and therefore some scholars advocated 1or only and others 1our only. unli>e .atin counterpartC for e<ample. behavio'u*r.atin were ta>en up with their original 1or terminationC many words once ending in 1our 'for e<ample. some such borrowings from . troubadour. but selected the version best1derived. though senses "tree" and "tool" are always arbor. horrour. neighbo'u*rC also arbo'u*rmeaning "shelter".ebster. chancellour and governour* now end in 1oreverywhere. and tremour. 9ne notable e<ception is honor7 honor andhonour were e3ually . though color has been used occasionally in English since the fifteenth century. tenour. armo'u*r. a false cognate of the other word. . #r %ohnson&s ()) dictionary used the -our spelling for all words still so spelled in Britain. but it seems to have got there rather by accident than by design. "honor appears in the #eclaration of Independence.g. as he put it. %ohnson. By contrast. governour.paramour.atin origin 'e. whereas e<amples of their 1our counterparts are numbered in thousands. In %effersonRs original draft it is spelled honour.atin spellings because. . behavior. the termination became 1our in Anglo1 2rench in an attempt to represent the 9ld 2rench pronunciation of words ending in 1or. but also applied to earlier 2rench borrowings.

A. In American usage. -re" -er . E$ceptions. humorous. behaviourism*C before .eri ati es and inflected forms.abor @arty. the normal spelling as a person&s name. American usage in most cases retains the u in the word glamour. which comes from $cots.$ Endeavour. . laborious. in the /5.ealth usage. Aonor still is. In Australia. although the probably related ad4ective savo'u*ry. etc. though -our is almost universal. rigour 'I@A7 BFrOgL'M*B* has a u in the /5C the medical term rigor'often I@A7 BFraOgSH'M*B* does not. invigorate*. In derivatives and inflected forms of the 1ourBor words. derivatives and inflected forms are built by simply adding the suffi< in all environments 'favorite. savoury* and suffi<es of =ree> or . Aonor 'the name* and arbor 'the tool* have 1or in Britain. and now are sporadically found in some regions. can be either dropped or retained 'colo'u*ration. usually in local and regional newspapers. .fre3uent down to the (th century. honourable. colo'u*ri"e*. in British usage the u is >ept before English suffi<es that are freely attachable to English words 'neighbourhood. -or terminations en4oyed some use in the 6th century. As a general noun. The British spelling is very common for "honour" 'and "favour"* on wedding invitations in the /nited $tates. has a u in the /5. as mentioned above. The $pace $huttle Endeavour has a u as it is named after Captain Coo>&s ship. not . li>e savour. the u can be dropped 'honorific. founded in !6 .atin suffi<es that are not freely attachable to English words. In Canada -or endings are not uncommon. The name of the herb savory is thus spelled everywhere. Commonwealth countries normally follow British usage. The name of the Australian .atin origin that have been naturali"ed 'favourite. though they are rarer in Eastern Canada. particularly in the @rairie @rovinces.* since the u is absent to begin with.atin or 2renchC saviour is a common variant of savior in the /$. savory. honorist. or can be retained 'colourist*. is a remnant of this trend. humourless.ommon.vigorous.

. spectral. winner* and comparative 'louder. tender. pentameter. disaster. for e<ample. mother. central. sepulchre after 1ch1. ochre. etc. powder. lucre. have a cognate in . river. The difference is most common for words ending 1bre or 1tre7 British spellings theatre. mediocre. entry derives from enter. fi!rous. sabre. massacre. letter. goitre. while poetic metre is often 1re. water.atin. titreC calibre. and Qomance words li>e danger.lustre. sober. timber. reconnoitered. It is dropped for other inflections. fibre. centering. ogre andeuchre are standardC manoeuvre and sepulchre are usually maneuver and sepulcherC and the other 1re forms listed are variants of the e3uivalent 1er form. member. for e<ample. saltpetre. parameter. fi!ers. ogre after 1g1C euchre. number.any other words have 1er in British English.odern 2rench spelled with 1re7 among these are chapter. or =ree> origin end with a consonant followed by 1re. . In the /$. 9ne conse3uence is the British distinction of meter for a measuring instrument from metre for the unit of measurement. as inacre. some words of 2rench.diameter. enter.ost of these words have the ending 1er in the /$. and sombre all have 1er in American spelling. spectre. centre. he<ameter. mitre. Aowever. 3uarter. with the 1re unstressed and pronounced BL'M*B. The difference relates only to root wordsC 1er rather than 1re is universal as a suffi< for agentive 'reader. $ome 1er words. which has not been spelled entre for centuries. After other consonants. naturally. The e preceding the r is retained in /$ derived forms of nouns and verbs.In British usage. The ending 1cre. reconnoitre. proper. Theater is the prevailing American spelling used to refer to both the dramatic arts and buildings where stage performances and screenings of movies ta>e place 'i. is preserved in American English. nicer* forms. #ecember. to indicate the c is pronounced B>B rather than BsB. minister. which are.e. litre. are always 1er. monster. filter. there are not many 1re endings even in British English7 louvre. E$ceptions. nitre.. li>e many 1re words. manoeuvre after 1v1C meagre.reconnoitred and centring respectively in British usage. These include =ermanic words li>e anger. "movie . oyster. Aowever such dropping cannot be regarded as proof of an -re British spelling7 for e<ample. fi!res. .

as minor variants. . +otre #ame.ealth usage. features the more common American spelling theater in its references to The Eisenhower Theater. a national newspaper such as The +ew Tor> Times uses theater throughout its "Theater". +ew Tor>*.C. in . piastre.erriam1 . In contrast. 2or British accoutre)ment*. named both before and after spelling reform. and timbre. These are not e<ceptions when a 2rench1 style pronunciation is used 'BM'L*Brather than BPB*. Qoc>ville Centre. was referred to by the +ew Tor> Times as the "American +ational Theater"C but the organi"ation actually uses "re" in the spelling of its name. or oeuvreC however. part of The 5ennedy Center. #. or The 5ennedy Center. and there may also be rare instances of the use of Center in the /5. macabre. as with double1entendre. and "Arts U . only in Canada. genre.ore recent 2rench loanwords retain an 1re spelling in American English. .g. but American English has abandoned the distinction . including cadre. 5ennedy Center for the @erforming Arts. maWtre d&. The -er spellings are recogni"ed. The %ohn 2. American Aeritage the -er spelling.ovies". In rare instances.ebster prefers the -re spelling. In -00V the proposal of the American +ational Theatre 'A+T*. -ce" -se +ouns ending in 1ce with 1se verb forms7 American English and British English both retain the nounBverb distinction in advice B advise and device Bdevise.ommon.Broadway theatre* 'and elsewhere in the /nited $tates* and in listings and reviews in "The Theatre" section of The +ew Tor>er.. the unstressed BPB pronunciation of an 1er ending is used more or less fre3uently with some words.theaters"*C for e<ample. the spelling Theatre or theatre appears in the names of many +ew Tor> City theaters on Broadway 'cf. eventually to be founded and inaugurated in the fall of -00(.eisure" sections.ashington.. places in the /nited $tates have Centre in their names 'e. ". /$ practice varies7 . The -re endings are standard throughout the Commonwealth.

According to the 9<ford English #ictionary the older spellings are more etymologically conservative. American English uses practice and license for both meanings. Also. It is still used in legal te<ts and British . refle<ion. since these four words actually derive from . that crucifiction is an error in either form of EnglishCcrucifi+ion is the correct spelling. The Times of . offensive.with licence B license and practice B practise 'where the two words in each pair arehomophones* that British spelling retains. inflection. /ntil the early 6!0s. but are not used at all in the /$7 the more common connection. Aowever. American English has >ept the Anglo12rench spelling for defense and offense.ED*. reflection.ondon also used conne<ion as part of its house style. deflection. which are usually defence and offence in British EnglishC similarly there are the American pretense and British pretenceC but derivatives such as defensive.ebster who discarded 1<ion in favour of 1ction for analogy with such verbs as connect. the ad4ective complected 'as in "dar>1complected"*. comple+ion 'which comes from the stem comple+* is standard and complection is not.ethodism retains the eighteenth century spelling conne<ion to describe its national organi"ation. infle<ion.atin forms in 1<io1. Conne<ion has found preference again amongst recent British government initiatives such as Conne<ions 'the national careers and training scheme for school early leavers*. for historical reasons. although sometimes ob4ected to. genufle<ion are now somewhat rare in everyday British usage. can be used as an alternative to comple+ioned in the /$. %ree& spellings . In both forms. and pretension are always thus spelled in both systems. +ote. -xion" -ction The spellings conne<ion. but is 3uite un>nown in this sense in the /5. although there is an e<tremely rare usage to mean complicated '. The /$ usage derives from . defle<ion. genuflection have almost become the standard internationally. however.

ac3uarie #ictionary. stating.+oah . The 1ise form is preferred in Australian English at a ratio of about V7 according to the . recognise. the 1i"e spelling is now rarely used in the /5 in the mass media and newspapers. recogni"e. and their endings are therefore not interchangeableC some verbs ta>e the 1"1 form e<clusively. such as organi"e. and reali"e.iterary $upplement. The same pattern applies to derivatives and inflections such as colonisationBcoloni"ation. is in its origin the =rDee>E 1YZ[Y\.ac3uarie #ictionary. the Biochemical %ournal and The Times . such as +ature. #espite these denouncements. however. among other sources. there is no reason why in English the special 2rench spelling in 1iser should be followed. $ome verbs ending in 1i"e or 1ise do not derive from =ree> 1YZ[Y\. even as an alternative ? and 2owler&s . The 9E# spelling 'which can be indicated by the registered IA+A language tag en1=B1oed*. and thus 1i"e. Canadian usage is essentially li>e American. . British usage accepts both 1i"e and the more 2rench1loo>ing 1ise 'organise. si"e and pri"e 'only in the "appraise" sense*. for instance capsi"e. . and is often incorrectly regarded as an Americanism. The 1i"e spelling is preferred by some authoritative British sources including the 9<ford English #ictionary ? which. The 9E# firmly deprecates usage of "1ise".in the British +ational Corpus. 1i"e endings prevail in scientific writing and are commonly used by many international organi"ations. is used in many British1based academic publications. until recently. The 1ise form is used by the British government and is more prevalent in common usage within the /5 todayC the ratio between 1ise and 1i"e stands at V7.DatinE 1i"]reC and.odern English /sage. did not list the 1ise form of many words. "DTEhe suffi<X. as the pronunciation is also with ".orldwide. gives the 1ise spelling first. in opposition to that which is at once etymological and phonetic. sei"e 'e<cept in the legal phrase to be seised ofBto stand seised to*. whereas .ebster re4ected 1ise for the same reasons. In Australia and +ew ^ealand 1ise spellings strongly prevailC the Australian . whatever the element to which it is added.-ise" -ize American spelling accepts only 1i"e endings in most cases. Conversely. realise*.

g. catalog has a slight edge over catalogue 'note the inflected forms. In Canada. surprise. a few of which derive from =ree> -. revise. The =ree> verb from which the word _`aYb 'lysis* 'and thus all its compound words* derives. paralyseC /$ analy"e. in Canada.ς. as in "analog computer" and many video game consoles might have an analog stic'*. improvise. is _`[Y\ 'lyein*. demise. although in +orth American English pry 'a bac>1 formation from or alteration ofprise* is often used in its place. including Canada. 2inally. advise. e<cise. can end either in -ogue or in -og7 analog)ue*. cataloged and cataloging v catalogued and cataloguing* C analog is standard for the ad4ectivebut both analogue and analog are current for the nounC in all other cases the -gue endings strongly prevail. in electronics. from whichanalyser was formed by haplology. 2inally. as in analyse B analy"e. dialog)ue*. etc. merchandise. 1y"e prevailsC in Australia. . neither of the endings has any resemblance to the =ree> original ending. e<cept for such e<pressions as dialog bo< in computing. catalyse. arise.e<ercise. hydroly"e. surmise. compromise. franchise.others ta>e only 1s17 advertise. Aowever. devise. the latter American. Thus. cataly"e. is different7 the former is British./0ς or α/1/. 1yse stands alone. /nli>e 1iseB1i"e. catalog)ue*. from 2rench analysiser. -yse" -yze The distribution of 1yse and 1y"e endings. comprise. analyse was commonly spelled analy"e from the first?the spelling preferred by $amuel %ohnsonC the word. circumcise. despise. incise. disguise. which came probably from 2rench analyser. pedag og)ue*. chastise. on =ree> analogy would have been analysi"e. homolog)ue*. the -ogue endings are the standard. +ew ^ealand and Australia as well as the /$ analoghas currency as a technical term 'e. and televise. In the /5 'and generally in the Commonwealth*. the verb prise 'meaning to force or lever* is spelledpri"e in the /$ and prise everywhere else. apprise.demagog)ue*.hydrolyse. -ogue" -og $ome words of =ree> origin. monolog)ue*. In the /$. paraly"e. supervise. /5 analyse. which are also used in the /5.

ealth usage. In others.phoeni<. and usually subpoena. diarrhoea.atin as caee and coee.gynaecology.any words are written with ae or oe in British English. The sound in 3uestion is BiB or BNB 'or unstressed BLB*. and later applied to words not of =ree> origin. which has imported words from all three languages. oeconomics. guvre*. British aeroplane is an instance 'compare other aero1 words such as aerosol*. 9edipus. while oenology is a minor variant of enology. oestrogen. @hoebe.atin 'for e<ample. and aenigma. The now chiefly +orth American airplane is not a respelling but a recoining. . . The ligatures J and g were introduced when the sounds became monophthongs. homoeopathy. the digraph has been reduced to a single e in all varieties of English7 for e<ample. mediaeval. anaesthesia. since the . but the spellings with 4ust e are increasingly used. oesophagus. in both . toe.atin 1ae plurals 'e. In American usage. E<amples 'with non1American letter in bold*7 anaemia.maelstrom. e is usually preferred over oe and often over ae as wellC in Australia and elsewhere. This is especially true of names7 Caesar. at which time aero1 was trisyllabic.Simplification of ae (æ) and oe (œ) . In Canada.g. cgli* and 2rench 'for e<ample. In many cases. it is retained in all varieties7 for e<ample. modelled on airship and aircraft.ommon. etc. orthopaedic. caesium. leu>aemia. haemophilia. Airplane dates from 60(. foetus 'though the British medical community deems this variant unacceptable for the purposes of 4ournal articles and the li>e. British usage prevails. There is no reduction of. In English.ords where British usage varies include encyclopaedia. %anoeuvre is the only spelling in Australia and the most common one in Canada. aestheticsand archaeology prevail over esthetics and archeology. but a single e in American English. often written ajro1.atin spelling is actually fetus*. In . paediatric. larvae*C nor where the digraph caeeBcoee does not result from the =ree>1style ligature7 for e<ample. it is now usual to replace hBJ with AeBae and iBg with 9eBoe. where maneuver and manoeuver are also sometimes found. praemium. The Ancient =ree> diphthongs cdYe and cfYe were transliterated into .

and the special character "o" 'sometimes "m"* for "oe". as in "I have been waiting for you for ever"C and forever. Icelandic. such as counter1 attac'. 9ther senses always have the two1word formC thus Americans distinguish "I couldn&t love you anymore Dso I left youE" from "I couldn&t love you any more Dthan I already doE". as in "They are forever arguing". Canadian and Australian usage is mi<ed. however. while #utch uses them '"ae" is rare and "oe" is the normal representation of the sound I@A7 DuE. . l becomes ae and m becomes oe*. as do $wedish.e. meaning for eternity 'or a very long time*. =erman. Internationally. the single1 word form is usual in +orth America and Australia but unusual in the /5.forever prevails in the "for eternity" sense as well. always. $imilarly. whereas American English discourages the use of hyphens in compounds where there is no compelling reason.atin alphabetC for instance. meaning continually. at least in formal writing. retains its e3uivalent of the ligature. and others. so counterattac> is much more common. for ever or forever7 Traditional British usage ma>es a distinction between for ever. In contemporary British usage. although Commonwealth writers generally hyphenate compounds of the form noun plus phrase 'such as editor1in1chief*. for when written without the umlaut. Aungarian uses "n" as a replacement for "ae" 'although it becomes "e" sometimes*.Canada. words resemble the British usage 'i. • • any more or anymore7 In sense "any longer". oe and ae are used occasionally in the academic and science communities. @olish. the American spelling is closer to the usage in a number of other languages using the .ompounds and h(phens British English often prefers hyphenated compounds. while written "u" represents either the sound y or k in I@A*. through umlauts. #anish. . +orwegian and some other languages retain the original ligatures.any dictionaries do not point out such differences. in spite of several style guides maintaining . almost all Qomance languages 'which tend to have more phonemic spelling* lac> the ae and oe spellings 'a notable e<ception is 2rench*.

which is written as one. di2alledC /$ usually fu2el2ing di2aled*  The distinction applies to victuallerBvictualer in spite of the irregular pronunciation I@A7 B FvOtlL'M*B . modeling. $uarrelled. cruellest. Therefore. This e<ception is no longer usual in American English. The -ll-spellings are nonetheless still regarded as acceptable variants by both . travellerC American usually counselor. cruelest. "The nearby house".ords with two vowels before l are covered where the first either acts as a consonant 'Br e$ualling. initialledC /$ usually e$ualing. near !y or near!y7 $ome British writers ma>e the distinction between the adverbial near !y. -ing. o parallel >eeps a single -l. -or.ebster Collegiate and American Aeritage dictionaries. =enerally this occurs only when the word&s final syllable ends with a single vowel followed by a single consonant.• the distinction. initialed* or belongs to a separate syllable 'Br fu2el2ling. In American English the one1word spelling is standard for both forms. apparently because of +oah . to avoid a cluster -llell-. a final -l is often doubled even when the final syllable is unstressed. signalli ng. and the syllable is stressedC but in British English. -er.in British English. o . as in.ebster. $uarreled. -est* and for noun suffi<es -er. unparalleled*. • The British English doubling is re3uired for all inflections '-ed.ou/led consonants . . as in. British counsellor. which is written as two words.modelling. American writers usually useforever in all senses.erriam1.ou/led in British English The final consonant of an English word is sometimes doubled when adding a suffi< beginning with a vowel. as in American English 'paralleling. signalin g. traveler. "+o one was near by"C and the ad4ectival near!y.

i>ewise. 2or -ee. 'E<amples7 !imetallism. introduced by the Chicago Tribune in the 6-0s. . are common alongside 'idnapped and "orshipped. . . the spellings 'idnaped and "orshiped. but 4e"ellery is most used. dualism. but two in marvellous and li!ellous. e+celling. novelist. practice varies for some words. as in the /5. often . propelled. e+cellent. -ish usually do not double the l in British English7 normalise. British English has a single l in scandalous and perilous. crystalli 3e. -ist. These are cases where the alteration occurs in the source language.• • • • • • • British "oollen is a further e<ception '/$ "oolen*C also. such as where the final syllable has secondary stress or an unreduced vowel. sometimes triallist 2or -ous. British 4e"elleryC American 4e"elry. American English has unstressed -ll-. devilish o E<ceptions7 tran$uilliseC duellist. Canada has both. Commonwealth 'including Canada* has 4e"eller and /$ has 4e"eler for a 4ewel'le*ry retailer. According to 2owler. Endings -i3eB-ise.  Among consonants other than l. in some words where the root has -l. chancellor. /$ I@A7 BFdpu'L*lriB* do not reflect this difference. "ooly is accepted in America though "oolly dominates in both. re!elling 'notice the stress difference*C revealing. cancellation. 4e"elry used to be the "rhetorical and poetic" spelling in the /5. tonsillitis* But both dialects have compelled. the only standard British spellings. British English has li!ellee. In the /$. fooling 'double vowel before the l*C hurling'consonant before the l*. medallist. Canadian and Australian English largely follow British usage.iscellaneous7 • • British calliper or caliperC American caliper. The standard pronunciations '/5 I@A7 BFdpuH'L*lriB.atin. 2or -age British English has pupillage but vassalage. panellist. -ism.

/5 prefers li'ea!le. where /$ prefers to drop the -eC but /5 as /$ prefers !reatha!le. s"ingeing. to distinguish from dying. Comparable cases where a single l occurs in American English include fullquseful. ratea!le. prova!le. s'il)l*ful. Both systems retain the silent e in dyeing. handfulC allqalmighty. mova!le. In the /5 ll is used occasionally in distil)l*. stall. /5 often routeingC /$ usually routing 'for routeC rout ma>esrouting everywhere* . instal)l*ment. but has a specific distinct sense. pall. roll. . /$ less soC "hinge is chiefly British. instil)l*. data!le. "elcomeC chillqchil!lain C and others where the connection is less transparent. altogetherC nullqann ul. annulmentC tillquntilC "ellq"elfare. singeing. /5 often "hingeing. lunging. thral)l*dom. fulfil)l*m ent. The $cottish tolbooth is cognate with toll booth. enrol)l* and enthral)l*ment. usa!le. !atheand the British !ath both form !athing.. syringing.appal)l*. $uota!le. no ta!le. and dulness are now rare. thrall. ageism*. In contrast. solva!le. American usually aging 'compare raging. 2ormer spellings instal.ropped e British English sometimes >eeps silent e when adding suffi<es where American English does not. still. livea!le. scala!le. s"inging. s'ill. Before -a!le. Both systems vary for tinge and t"ingeC both prefer cringing. singing. cura!le. • • British prefers ageing. hinging. #r %ohnson wavered on this issueC his dictionary of ()) lemmati"es distil and instill. and .ou/led in American English Conversely. The preceding words have monosyllabic cognates always written with -ll7 "ill. +ote that British fulfil and American fulfill are never fullfill or fullfil. fulfil)l*. uns ha'ea!le. do"nhil and uphill. fulness. enrol)l*ment. and often inenthral)l*. salea!le. there are words where British writers prefer a single l and Americans usually use a double l. These include "il)l*ful. si3ea!le. fill. lova!le.

although the former strongly prevails in the /$ and the latter prevails in the /5 e<cept in law. only the latter in the /5. Both spellings are etymologically sound '=ree> dis'os. where4udgment is standard. floppy dis> and hard dis>C short for dis>ette*. 2or this limited application. ch. The informal Briticisms moreish )causing a desire for more of something* and blo>eish usually retain eC more established words li>e slavish and!luish usually do not. dependent is usual for both noun and ad4ective. Both 4udgmentand 4udgement can be found everywhere. In computing. $imilarly for a!ridgment. Canadians prefer artifact and Australians artefact. dependant or dependent7 British dictionaries distinguish between dependent 'ad4ective* and dependant 'noun*. these spellings are used in both the /$ and the Commonwealth. as in 'no"ledgea!le.ifferent spellings" different connotations • artefact or artifact7 In British usage. In American English. Compact #iscC #8#. although dis' is earlier.atin discus*. notwithstanding that dependant is also an acceptable variant for the noun form in the /$. #igital 8ersatileB8ideo #isc* while dis' is used for products using magnetic storage 'e. as in tracea!le.• • those where the root is polysyllabic. disc or disk7 Traditionally. disc is used for optical discs 'e. cachea!le. In the /$. $imilarly for lodg)e*ment. . artefact is the main spelling and artifact a minor variant. Both a!ridgment and the more regular a!ridgement are current in the /$. a C#. but ridgeling to ridgling.g. artifact is the usual spelling. Both prefer fledgling to fledgeling. un!ridgea!le.g. disc used to be British and dis' American. according to their respective dictionaries.changea!leC both retain e after -dge. li>e !elieva!le or decida!le. Both systems retain the silent e when necessary to preserve a soft c. • • • • • . or g. .

programme or program7 The British programme is a 6th1century 2rench version of program. lists in$uiry and en$uiry as e3ual alternatives. matt refers to a non1glossy surface. written around 60! and listing both spellings. in that order.ebster&s usage notes. since it conformed to the usual representation of the =ree> as in anagram. but in$uiry prevails in writing. and en$uiry to the act of 3uestioning. while insure sometimes stresses the ta>ing of necessary measures beforehand ccareful planning should insure the success of the partye matt or matte7 In the /5. In Australia. but prefer in$uiry for the "formal in3uest" sense. Both are current in Canada. present the two spellings as interchangeable variants in the general sense.any 'though not all* British writers maintain this distinctionC the 9E#. $ome British dictionaries.erriam1. where en$uiry is often associated with scholarly or intellectual research. The distinction is only about a century old. and matte to the motion1picture techni3ueC in the /$. and this helps e<plain why in '+orth* America ensure is 4ust a variant of insure. said program was preferable. butensure may imply a virtual guarantee cthe government has ensured the safety of the refugeese. In the /$. The 9E# entry. the word ensure 'to ma>e sure. ensure or insure7 In the /5 'and Australia*. matte covers both. in$uiry should be used in relation to a formal in3uest. In British English. diagram. to ma>e certain* has a distinct meaning from the word insure 'often followed by against r to guarantee or protect against. which first appeared in $cotland in the (th century and is the only spelling found in the /$. in$uiry and en$uiry are often interchangeable. more often than not. program is the common spelling for • • • • • • . .• enquiry or inquiry7 According to 2owler. typically by means of an "insurance policy"*. According to . ensure and insure "are interchangeable in many conte<ts where they indicate the ma>ing certain or Dma>ingE inevitable of an outcome. telegram etc. on the other hand. such as 5ham!ers 67st 5entury Dictionary . only in$uiry is commonly used.

Contractions.. program prevails... This does not apply to most initialisms. +asa B +A$A or /nicef B /+ICE2. such as @c '@olice Constable*. Abbreviations where the final letter is not present generally do ta>e stopsBperiods 'such as vol.. In Australia. and the Canadian 9<ford #ictionary ma>es no meaning1based distinction between it and programmeC many Canadian government documents useprogramme in all senses of the word also to match the spelling of the 2rench e3uivalent.me.computer programs.rs.onsieur. • • tonne or ton7 in the /5. Acron(ms and a//re iations @roper names formed as proper acronyms are often rendered in title case by Commonwealth writers.. are often written in British English without stopsBperiods '. . #r.*C British English shares this convention with 2rench7 .r..C though it is occasionally done for some. the spelling tonne refers to the unit of mass usually >nown as the metric ton in the /$C the short ton and the long ton are always thus spelledC un3ualified ton usually refers to the long ton in the /5 and to the short ton in the /$. but usually as upper case by Americans7 for e<ample..r.icallef @rogram'me*. program has been endorsed by government style for all senses since the 6:0s. ed. but for other meanings programme is used. although programme is also commonC see also the name of The . In Canada. #r. for which an older English written distinction between etymologically related forms with different meanings once e<isted.rs. such as /$A or AT. In American English. always re3uire stopsBperiods. where the final letter is present. $t*. .lle. but . and #r. . for . but was obviated in the regulari"ation of American spellings. 4iscellaneous spelling differences 56 5S <emar&s . . Compare also meter8metre. abbreviations li>e $t. etc.$te.

donut is indicated as a /$ variant fordoughnut( draught draft The /5 usually uses draft for all senses as a verbC for a preliminary version of a documentC for an order of payment 'ban> draft*. a$e a$" a$e Both noun and verb. $ome /$ financial institutions. c(pher doughnu doughnu In the /$.is chiefly in pharmacy.is literary and popular". prefer che3ue. noun. etc. the +orth American term for what is elsewhere >nown as a current account or che3ue account is spelled che3uing account in Canada and chec>ing account in the /$. camomil chamomi In the /5. The /$ uses draft in all these cases 'although in regard to drin>s. Aence pay che3ue and paychec>. che:ue chec& In ban>ing. cipher" cipher Both spellings are 3uite old. and for military conscription 'although this last meaning is not as common as in American English*. notably American E<press. draught is ad'e" ad' anne$ . it is usually spelled with an -e at the end in the /5. In the le e /$ chamomile dominates in all senses. not military con3uest. Canada as /$. according to the 9E#. which would be anne+ation r . che$ueredBchec'e red flag. In the /5. when spea>ing of an anne+)e* r the noun referring to an e<tension of a main building. It uses draught for drin> from a cas> 'draught beer*C for animals used for pulling heavy loads 'draught horse*C for a current of airC for a ship&s minimum depth of water to floatC and for the game draughts. che:uer chec&er As in che$uer!oardBchec'er!oard. after . >nown as chec>ers in the /$.atinC chamomi camomil that with ca. It uses either draught or draft for a plan or s>etch 'but almost always draughtsman in this senseC a draftsman drafts legal documents*. Accordingly. but in the /$ it is not. verb*. "the e" le" spelling cha. cos( co'( In all senses 'ad4ective. The two1letter form is more etymologically conservative 'the word comes from 9ld English J<*. both are used with donut indicated as a t t" donut variant of doughnut. .hile "chec>er" is more common in the /$. "e<che3uer" is commonly used.ad'e anne$e To anne+ is the verb in both British and American usageC however.

Canada as /$. mollus&" The related ad4ective is normally molluscan in mollusc both. is all but none<istent in the /$. always spelled thus. =eneral American BdrJftB*.edieval building and guard. This spelling is unused in Britain and less usual in America than gauntlet. In Canada both have mold wide currency. The omelette shorter spelling is older. Both=rey and =ray are found in proper names everywhere. The spelling draughtis olderC draft appeared first in the late :th century. gaol and gaoler are used. The word is an alteration of earlier gantlope by fol> etymologywith gauntlet '"armored glove"*. Canadians tend to prefer grey. licorice Licorice prevails in Canada and is common in Australia. according to dictionaries*. gauntlet" . despite the etymology sometimes found*. cur/ 2or the noun designating the edge of a roadway 'or the edge of a D/5E pavementBD/$E sidewal>BDAustraliaE footpath*. The pronunciation is always the same for all meanings within a dialect 'Q@ BdrK7ftB. 5ur!is the older spelling. but is rarely found in the /5C li$uorice. +on1cognate greyhound is never grayhound. draft is used for technical drawings. In all senses of the word. %ohnson and others.gauntlet gl(cerin e gre( =ail" gaol &er/ li:uorice mollusc mould moult neurone" neuron neuron omelette omelet" . molt .hen meaning "ordeal". gl(cerine gra( =rey became the established British spelling in the -0th century. is accepted for the "current of air" meaning. in the phrase running the gantlet ga'u*ntlet. Canada uses both systemsC in Australia. gl(cerin" $cientists use the term glycerol. according to dictionaries. some American style guides favor gantlet. and in the /5 as in the /$ is still the proper spelling for the verb meaning restrain. apart from literary usage.melette prevails in Canada and Australia. chiefly to describe a . and is preferred by professionals in the nautical sense. =ail In the /5. which has a fol> etymology cognate with li$uor. pace #r. '"chiefly British". and is but a minor variant in American English.

ebster&s pic>.ebster&s reform and was first recorded as sno" plough. <ceptic also pre1dates the settlement of the /$ and follows the 2rench scepti$ue and . predates . Canada has both plough and plo". .hird ' 6: *. "rec'* In "'w*rac> and ruin". as the entry in9e!ster:s . Although plo" was . sulphur" <ulfur is the international standard in the sciences sulfur 'I/@AC*. is the -ism) earlier form. preferred by (-al" 2owler. The word sno"ploughBsno"plo". $ulphur $prings. the . All are pronounced with a hard "c" though in 2rench the letter is silent and is pronounced li>e septi$ue. Both date bac> to . plough continued to have currency in the /$.g. is still used by British and Irish scientists and is still actively taught in British and Irish schools.evel of a building. plough has been the standard spelling for about three centuries..atin scepticus.hird ' 6: * impliesC newer dictionaries label plough "chiefly British". cf. has now become "chiefly British". In the mid1 !th century #r %ohnson&s dictionary listed s'eptic without comment or alternative but this form has never been popular in the /5C sceptic. percent plo.ar. this word made its phon( appearance in Britain during the @honey . originally an Americanism. Canada has both. B1&dpKmL"B or B1&dpJmL"B in the /$. with both spellings thus accepted as variants for senses connected to torture 'orig. @ronounced B1&dpKHmL"B in the pa=amas /5. +ote also the differing plural. prevails in Canada and Australia. "rac'. a>in to =ree>. although sno"plough is much rarer than sno"plo". storeys vs stories respectively.iddle EnglishC the 9E# records several do"en variants. and is also found in some American place names 'e. rac>* and ruin 'orig.1less variant is now prevalent in the /5 but not the /$. $ulphur was preferred by %ohnson. s&eptic The American spelling. an e3ual variant in 9e!ster:s . 9riginally an Americanism.phone( p(=amas per cent plough rac& and ruin sceptic (-al" -ism) store( sulphur '2rench omelette*. and is supported by the /5&s Q$C.rac& $everal words "rac>" and "wrac>" have been and ruin conflated. . In the /5. stor( . Australians generally follow British usage. and used by many Canadians.

Toghurt is an also1ran in the /$. . In Canada yogurt prevails. . B4oG1B.ouisiana*. despite the Canadian 9<ford preferringyogourt. Americans 'and Canadians* retain a medieval distinction between vise 'the tool* and vice 'the sin and the . >HA76 ?@5 H@AE >HA> BAS 5SEC5L . though many continued to use tire for the iron variety. . Although 9<ford #ictionaries have always preferred yogurt. Australia as /$ with regard to pronunciation. The two14aw tool. which contacts the road or rail and may be metal or rubber. Australia as the /5.atin prefi< meaning "deputy"*.hatever the spelling. AmE usage guides suggest sulfur for technical usage. The Times newspaper was still using tire as late as 60).t(re tire ice ise (oghurt" (ogurt (ogurt Te<as and $ulphur. The outer lining of a wheel. possibly because it was used in some patent documents. The word comes from the Tur>ish yoturt. in current British usage yoghurt seems to be preferred. the word has different pronunciations in the /5 B4s1B 'or B4LG1B* and the /$.atin* alphabet was traditionally written gh in romani"ations of the 9ttoman Tur>ish 'Arabic* alphabet used before 6-!. but both were used in the )th and :th centuries 'for a metal tire*C tire became the settled spelling in the (th century but tyrewas revived in the /5 in the 6th century for pneumatic tyres.C the voiced velar fricative represented by t in the modern Tur>ish '. Canada as /$. English and 2rench.ire is the older spelling. as yoghourt is in the /5. which has the advantage of being bilingual. both of which are vice in the /5 'and Australia*. and both sulphur and sulfur in common usage.