British and American Spelling Differences 

There are several areas in which British and American spellings are different. The differences often appear because British English has kept the spelling of words it has absorbed from other languages (e.g. French and German), while American English spellings reflect the way in which the words actually sound when they’re spoken. 

Words ending in –re

British English words that end in -re often end in -er in American English: 

  • Centre – Center
  • Litre – Liter
  • Fibre – Fiber

Words ending in –our

British English words ending in -our usually end in -or in American English:

  • Colour – Color
  • Humour – Humor
  • Labour – Labor

Words ending in –ize or –ise

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:

  • Apologise or apologize – apologize
  • Authorise – Authorize
  • Recognise or recognize – recognize

Words ending in -yse

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

  • Analyse – Analyze
  • Paralyse – Paralyze

Words ending in a vowel plus l

In British spelling, verbs ending in a vowel plus l double the l when adding endings that begin with a vowel. In American English, the l is not doubled:

  • Travel – Travel
  • Travelled – Traveled
  • Fuel – Fuel
  • Fuelled – fueled 

Words spelled with double vowels

British English words that are spelled with the double vowels ae or oe are just spelled with an e in American English:

  • Oestrogen- Estrogen
  • Manoeuvre- maneuver 
  • Paediatric- pediatric 

Nouns ending with –ence

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

  • Licence – license 
  • Offence – offense 
  • Defence – defense 

Nouns ending with –ogue

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

  • Catalogue- Catalog or catalogue 
  • Dialogue- dialog or dialogue 

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