Difference between American and British spellings

What is the major difference between American and British English?

There are some differences between the way British people speak and the way native American citizen would communicate. Now, IELTS is an International test, so all  accents are valid in the IELTS test. Yet, sometimes students get confused whether their spelling or their way of pronunciation is correct or not. Do you know there are two spellings for certain words?

This infographic here by Grammar.Net explains the major differences here. I have added by notes at the bottom and few other major differences between the two versions.

British and American words differences

UK & US Spellings – Image by Grammar. Net

Program or programmes?

Which one is correct? Let me help you. In general, program refers to the computer program for both American as well as for British English.

1. In British English, for television shows or live concert, the word “programme” is used whereas in American English, they spell it as “program“.

Similar differences can be found with some of the other words for British and American English.

2. The past participles of a verb are spelled differently in both versions. In British English, they usually speak with suffix “-ed” and for American English it is “-t”.

For example, past participle of learn becomes “learned” for British person and “learnt” for American user.

3. Another major difference can be seen in the spelling of certain words where you’re required to add an extra “-l” in British English.

Simple example is “traveller” – British

and traveler – American English

4. British English usually spell using suffix -re and American English spells using -er.

For example, British – theatre

American – theater

5. Words ending with -our in British English generally ends with -or in American English

British – colour

American – color

6. Certain verbs are spelled using -se suffix in the end for British English whereas the same words end with -ce in American English, that is same as their related nouns.

British: practise (verb)                   practice (noun)

American: practice (verb)             practice (noun)

7. Some words in British English use -se whereas the same words use -ze in the American English

British: analyse

American: analyze

8. Some nouns end with -ence in British whereas the same word ends with -ense in American English.

British: defence

American: defense

9. Certain verbs have suffix -ise at the end of the word and the same word suffix changes to -ize in American English.

British: finalise

American: finalize

Which one you should be using in IELTS?

Although there is a huge difference between the two spellings. Both are equally valid in IELTS exams. Whether you choose to write your essays with American English or with British spellings, it is absolutely valid. The examiner cannot deduct any point for writing any of these two spellings for a word.

That’s it.

Good Bye!


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