British English vs. American English: Differences in Spellings

In the 16th and 17th centuries, British sailors brought the language to America via sea. There was no standardisation of spelling back then. It wasn’t until the first dictionaries were written that these words were established as they are today. Scholars in London compiled the dictionary in the United Kingdom; meanwhile, in the United States, a man by the name of Noah Webster served as the lexicographer. In order to show that the American version of the words was distinct from the British version, he allegedly changed the spelling of the words.

We have compiled a list of differences that you see in the spellings of the two languages. Whether you follow British version or the American one, what matters is that you should be able to differentiate between the two and maintain consistency.

British English words ending in ‘our’ usually end in ‘or’ in American English:


Verbs in British English that can be spelled with either ‘ize’ or ‘ise’ at the end are always spelled with ‘ize’ at the end in American English:

memorize or memorisememorize
organize or organiseorganize
synchronize or synchronisesynchronize

Verbs in British English that end in ‘yse’ are always spelled ‘yze’ in American English:


In British spelling ‘L’ is doubled in verbs ending in a vowel plus ‘L’. In American English, the ‘L’ is not doubled:


Some nouns that end with ‘ence’ in British English are spelled ‘ense in American English:


Some nouns that end with ‘ogue’ in British English end with either ‘og’ or ‘ogue in American English:

cataloguecatalog or catalogue
monologuemonolog or monologue

One response to “British English vs. American English: Differences in Spellings”

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