British and American Spelling

7 British/American Spellings

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Some British English and American English words have the same meaning and pronunciation but different spellings. Here are seven common groups. If you are not sure about a spelling, it’s best to look it up in a British or American dictionary as appropriate.

1. ogue/og

BrE: analogue, catalogue, dialogue

AmE: analog, catalog, dialog

2. our/or

BrE: colour, favourite, honour

AmE: color, favorite, honor

3. ence/ense

Bre: defence, licence

AmE: defense, license

4. s/z

BrE: analyse, criticise, organisation (but z is also used)

AmE: analyze, criticize, organization

5. l/ll

BrE: enrolment, fulfil, skilful

AmE: enrollment, fulfill, skillful

6. re/er

BrE: centre, theatre, metre

AmE: center, theater, meter

7. miscellaneous

BrE: jewellery, programme, practise, pyjamas

AmE: jewelry, program, practice, pajamas

NB1: in BrE program is used when talking about computers

NB2: in BrE practise is a verb and practice is a noun

For different meanings in British and American, see:

(by Josef Essberger, Founder of EnglishClub The Learning English Video Project)