British vs. American English - Spelling Differences

There are some well-known spelling differences between British English and American English. Many of these spelling differences result from French influence on English. British English has a tendency to keep the spelling of many words of French origin. Americans try to spell words more closely to the way they sound phonetically and they tend to omit some letters.

The general spelling differences between British and American English are listed below.

* But Note:defensive - offensive
! Remember: In British English, verbs that end in -l preceded by a vowel usually double the final -l when a suffix -ed/-ing is added. In American English the final -lis doubled only when the last syllable is stressed.

* Additional notes:
  • British English uses both "-ise" and "-ize" forms but tends to prefer -ise(-isation) form.
  • Verbs in British English that can be spelled with either "-ize" os "iise" at the end are always spelled with "-ize" in American English.
  • Verbs in British English  that end in "-yse" (e.g.analyse) are always spelled "yze" in American English (analyze).

It is useful to learn both British and American English forms, but a good recommendation is to aim for consistency in your spelling.


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