American vs. British Spellings

Daily Prompt: Non-Regional Diction

When I was younger, I would always read books and think that I found spelling errors (I felt so clever). It turns out, they weren’t spelling errors. British and American spellings have always confused me. I find myself using both interchangeably, but always questioning which is the right one.

In fact, I remember that I took a spelling test (Ahh, remember those?) in the fourth grade, and one of the words was “gray.” I had written “grey” and gotten it wrong. And being the little fourth grader I was, I was truly outraged. Alas, I had read too much Roald Dahl books and was beginning to adapt to the British spelling that is considered “incorrect” in America. Long story short, British spellings are different than American spellings. After researching some more, I found that there are only a few different categories of different spellings.

Here are a few main ones to be aware of:

1. British: ‘-re’ (theatre, centre)

US: ‘-er’ (theater, center)


2. British: ‘-our’ (colour, favourite)

US: ‘-or’ (color, favorite)


3. British- double ‘l’s (travelling, fuelling)

US- single ‘l’ (traveling, fueling)


4. Here’s one I never knew: double vowels ‘ae’ or ‘oe’ are just ‘e’ in American English

British: (Leukaemia, manoeuvre, paediatric)

US: (Leukemia, maneuver, pediatric)


These are only a couple. I urge you to find more rules. I found all my info at British and American Spelling.


Boy was this difficult to write, because my autocorrect was being biased and kept changing the British spellings into American ones.

While writing these, I found myself reading the British spellings in my head in a British accent. Is that weird?


6 thoughts on “American vs. British Spellings

  1. Too funny, we were just talking about this the other day! Hubby grew up learning British spelling (overseas) and when he went to college here in the states he was shocked to hear his spellings were ‘wrong’. Even after explaining to his college professor, she did not give any leeway, it was just wrong.

    Thanks for this enlightening post.

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