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Spelling differences between British and American English

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“-er/re” Words that end in –re in Britain often have those two letters reversed when spelled in American English. Here are some examples:

  • British English: centre, fibre, litre, theatre,
  • American English: center, fiber, liter, theater

“-nse/nce” While the British use the –nce ending, Americans generally prefer –nse.

  • American English: defense, license, offense, pretense
  • British English: defence, licence, offence, pretence

“-ize/ise” American English uses the –ize spelling at the end of words, and while some people in Britain accept that as a valid spelling, you’ll usually see those same words spelled with the  –ise ending instead.

  • British English: apologise, organise, recognise
  • American English: apologize, organize, recognize

“-or/-our” In British English, the preferred spelling of words ending in –our is not maintained in American English; in the United States, the “u” is dropped from the word.

  • American English: behavior, color, humor, labor, neighbor, flavor
  • British English: behaviour, colour, humour, labour, neighbour, flavor

Double vowels “ae” and “oe” While the British retain the more complex spelling of words with Greek or Latin roots, using the orthodox spelling that was established when those words were brought into the English language as far back as the 14th and 15th centuries, the Americans, as usual, like their terminology simplified.

  • American English: leukemia, maneuver, estrogen, pediatric
  • British English: leukaemia, manoeuvre, oestrogen, paediatric

Words ending in a vowel plus –l While Americans have dropped the double “l” when adding suffixes to verbs that end in the letter “l” the British still generally use the two-“l” approach to their spelling.

  • American English: traveling, traveled, traveler, fueled, fueling
  • British English: travelling , travelled, traveler, fuelled, fuelling

A bunch of words are given below:


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