American vs English – Spelling

So why the differences between British English and American English spelling? Well, British English spelling is heavily influenced by the languages that words were borrowed from: generally French & German. American English spelling is, for the most part, based on how the word sounds when spoken.

English was introduced to North America by the British settlers in the 17th Century and has evolved with every wave of immigration since. The first dictionary of American English was compiled by Noah Webster in 1806 and records the American spelling of words such as harbor instead of harbour. A later edition printed in 1828 already contained over 70,000 words.

As we have already seen in the example of harbor/harbour, one of the most common differences between American and British spelling is the change from -our to -or. Here are some more examples :

British

arbour

ardour

armour

behaviour

clamour

colour

dolour

favour

flavour

harbour

humour

labour

neighbour

odour

parlour

rumour

saviour

American

arbor

ardor

armor

behavior

clamor

color

dolor

favor

flavor

harbor

humor

labor

neighbor

odor

parlor

rumor

savior

If I’ve left any out please write in the comments below :)))

Verbs in British English that end with -ise are always end with -ize in American English. Here are just a few examples to the rule:

British

apologise

organise

recognise

American

apologize

organize

recognize

Another common variation is with verbs that end in –yse in British English which are always spelled –yze in American English:

British

analyse

breathalyse

paralyse

American

analyze

breathalyze

paralyze

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