[Fwd] Spelling Differences btw BrE and AmE

For years, I’ve been familiar with American English, but I want to learn voc. of British English now.
English is not just “American.” So, this is just a note for me to refer to.

Forward from: http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/jones/differences.htm
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Spelling differences between American and British English

-or vs. -our

American

British

color

colour

favorite

favourite

honor

honour

-ll vs. -l

American

British

enrollment

enrolment

fulfill

fulfil

skillful

skilful

-og vs. -ogue

American

British

analog

analogue

catalog

catalogue

dialog

dialogue

-ck or -k vs. -que

American

British

bank

banque

check

cheque

checker

chequer

-ense vs. -enze

American

British

defense

defence

license

licence

-ze vs. -se

American

British

analyze

analyse

criticize

criticise

memorize

memorise

-er vs. -re

American

British

center

centre

meter

metre

theater

theatre

-e vs. -oe or -ae

American

British

encylopedia

encylycopaedia

maneuver

manoeuvre

medieval

mediaeval

-dg vs. -dge (or -g vs. -gu)

American

British

aging

ageing

argument

arguement

judgment

judgement

Other

American

British

jewelry

jewellery

draft

draught

pajamas

pyjamas

plow

plough

program

programme

tire

tyre

In British English, words that end in -l preceded by a vowel usually double the -l when a suffix is added, while in American English the letter is not doubled. The letter will double in the stress is on the second syllable.

Base Word

American

British

counsel

counseling

counselling

equal

equaling

equalling

model

modeling

modelling

quarrel

quarreling

quarrelling

signal

signaling

signalling

travel

traveling

travelling

excel

excelling

excelling

propel

propelling

propelling

Spelling of verbs

This is related to formation of the past participle for verbs. For a complete list of irregular verb spellings, see Susan Jones’ Complete List of English Irregular Verbs at this web site. Below is a sampling of the three main categories of differeneces with verbs.


-ed vs. -t

The first category involves verbs that use -ed or -t for the simple past and past participle. Generally, the rule is that if there is a verb form with -ed, American English will use it, and if there is a form with -t, British English uses it. However, these forms do not exist for every verb and there is variation. For example, both American and British English would use the word ‘worked’ for the past form of ‘to work’, and in American English it is common to hear the word ‘knelt’ as the past tense of ‘to kneel’.

Base form

American

British

to dream

dreamed

dreamt

to leap

leaped

leapt

to learn

leareded

learnt


base form vs. -ed

The second category of difference includes verbs that use either the base form of the verb or the -ed ending for the simple past.

Base form

American

British

to fit

fit

fitted

to forecast

forecast

forecasted

to wed

wed

wedded


irregular vs. -ed

The third category of difference includes verbs that have either an irregular spelling or the -ed ending for the simple past.

Base form

American

British

to knit

knit

knitted

to light

lit

lighted

to strive

strove

strived


So what does tall his mean for learners of English? In the beginning, unfortunately, it means a lot of memorization (or memorisation) and of course, a few mistakes. For spoken English, the differences are barely audible, so forge ahead and don’t be too concerned with whether a word is spelled ‘dwelled’ or ‘dwelt’. With written English, however, if you are unsure about the spelling, better to ask your teacher or look the word up in the dictionary and see what the experts say.


4 responses to “[Fwd] Spelling Differences btw BrE and AmE

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