Posted by: Jack Henry | January 22, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Doctor Who? No, American & English Spellings, Part II.

Good morning!

I had so many of you Anglophiles writing to me yesterday about other words that are spelled differently between American and British English, I decided to send you the remainder of this article today rather than stringing you along for an extra day. I somehow misplaced the link for the list below, but for similar information on British and American spellings, click here and here.

British and American Spelling

Words ending in -yse

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

British US
analyse analyze
breathalyse breathalyze
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:

British US
travel travel
travelled traveled
travelling traveling
traveller traveler
fuel fuel
fuelled fueled
fuelling fueling

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:

British US
leukaemia leukemia
manoeuvre maneuver
oestrogen estrogen
paediatric pediatric

Note that in American English, certain terms, such as archaeology, keep the ae spelling as standard, although the spelling with just the e (i.e. archeology) is usually acceptable as well.

Nouns ending with –ence

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

British US
defence defense
licence license
offence offense
pretence pretense

Nouns ending with –ogue

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

British US
analogue analog or analogue
catalogue catalog or catalogue
dialogue dialog or dialogue

The distinctions here are not hard and fast. The spelling analogue is acceptable but not very common in American English; catalog has become the US norm, but catalogue is not uncommon; dialogue is still preferred over dialog.


British American
aeroplane airplane
aluminium aluminum
axe ax
cosy cozy
kerb (edge of road) curb
furore furor
grey gray
carat (gold) karat
liquorice licorice
moustache mustache
nought naught
pyjamas pajamas
sceptic skeptic
phial vial
whisky whiskey

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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  1. […] misuse the terms that follow. Here is a brief lesson on alumnus, alumna, and alumni—but not aluminum or aluminium. From The Grammar Devotional, by Mignon […]

  2. […] · Editor’s Corner: Dr. Who […]

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