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 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 both the countries.

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

-or v/s -our

American                            British
color                                          colour
favorite                                   favourite
honor                                      honour
endeavor                               endeavour
favor                                        favour
humor                                    humour

-ze v/s -se

American                           British
analyze                                  analyse
criticize                                 criticise
memorize                             memorise
recognize                              recognise
realize                                    realise

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

-ll v/s l

American                         British
enrollment                          enrolment
skillful                                   skilful
fulfill                                      fulfil

-er v/s -re

American                       British
center                                centre
meter                                 metre
theater                              theatre

-og v/s -ogue

American                      British
analog                               analogue
catalog                              catalogue
dialog                                dialogue

-e v/s -oe or -ae

American                       British
encyclopedia                  encyclopaedia
maneuver                         manoeuver
medieval                           mediaeval

-ck or k v/s que

American                       British
bank                                  banque
check                                cheque
checker                            chequer

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

American                        British
aging                                   ageing
argument                          arguement
judgment                           judgement

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

-ense v/s -ence

American                        British
defense                               defence
license                                licence
Offense                                Offence

Others

American                            British
Jewelry                                  Jewellery
pajamas                                 pyjamas
plow                                        plough
program                                programme
tire                                           tyre

Base Word              American         British
counsel                    counseling            counselling
equal                         equaling                equalling
model                       modeling              modelling
quarrel                    quarreling            quarrelling
signal                       signaling               signalling
travel                       traveling               travelling

*Exceptions

excel                       excelling          excelling
propel                    propelling        propelling

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!

About Nosheen

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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