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09 / 11 / 2006

UK AND US ENGLISH DIFFERENCES-3: meaning and examples

Good morning once again.

Today we finish outlining some of the minor spelling differences between US and UK English.

Many verbs that end with a single -l in British English end with -ll in US English.

Fulfil (GB) vs. fulfill (US)
Enrol (GB) vs. Enroll (US)
Appal (GB) vs. Appall (US)

When you add suffixes like -ing, -ed or -er to a word, the final consonant is doubled in British English, but not always in American English.

Cancel --> Cancelled (GB) vs. Canceled (US)
Model --> Modelling (GB) vs. Modeling (US)
Worship --> Worshipper (GB) vs. Worshiper (US)

Words in English of Greek origin with an oe- or ae combination in UK English have an e- or a combination, respectively.

Anaemia (GB) vs. Anemia (US)
Manoeuvre (GB) vs. Maneuver (US)
Gynaecology (GB) vs. Gynecology (US)

There are a number of words that are spelled differently in these varieties but don't clearly follow any of the categories presented thus far. They must be memorised (or memorized).

Mum (GB) vs. Mom (US)
Cheque (GB) vs. Check (US)
Aeroplane (GB) vs. Airplane (US)
Catsup (GB) vs. Ketchup (US)
Tyre (GB) vs. Tire (US)
Programme (GB) vs. Program (US)

Finally, there is a difference in how full stops are used in abbreviations. US English generally uses full stops with abbreviations and UK English doesn't.

Mr (GB) vs. Mr. (US)
US (GB) vs. U.S. (US)
UK (GB) vs. U.K. (US)

One final point on spelling differences: due to the dominance of US English in cinema and on Internet, many of these spelling differences are slowly disappearing as British youth are in constant contact with US spelling. What is evolving is a sort of "International" spelling that includes both systems.

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Enjoy the rest of your day!