American English vs. British English in Research Manuscripts: A Free Guide

In a simpler world, English would be written the same way everywhere. However, when Noah Webster set out to create an American English dictionary in the early 1800s, he did more than just add new words to British English: he also revised the spelling of many common words to eliminate what he saw as unnecessary letters. His new spellings were adopted in the US but not the UK, and these spelling differences remain to this day.

American English vs. British English - AJEThe list below is intended to provide an overview of the most common spelling differences between British and American English. The words beginning each list are intended to establish overall patterns, whereas the words in italicstowards the end of the lists are examples of deviations from the rule. Remember that you can choose between “English (U.S.)” and “English (U.K.)” in Microsoft Word when setting the language for your document. This change allows the spell check to help catch these differences in spelling.

Click here to download a list of American English and British English spelling differences for future reference.

-ize (-yze)/-ise

American British
characterize characterise
prioritize prioritise
specialize specialise
analyze analyse
catalyze catalyse
size size
exercise exercise
The products of the catalyzed reaction werecharacterized using specialized equipment. The products of the catalysed reaction werecharacterised using specialised equipment.

-or/-our

American British
behavior behaviour
color colour
favor favour
contour contour
Because of its decolorization behavior, this material is favored. Because of its decolourisation behaviour, this material is favoured.

-er/-re

American British
center centre
fiber fibre
liter litre
parameter parameter
Five milliliters of the mixture containing thefibers was pipetted on the center of the slide. Five millilitres of the mixture containing thefibres was pipetted on the centre of the slide.

e/(ae or oe)

American British
ameba amoeba
anesthesia anaesthesia
diarrhea diarrhoea
leukemia leukaemia
cesium caesium
The leukemia patient was given anesthesiabefore the procedure. The leukaemia patient was given anaesthesiabefore the procedure.

-se/-ce

American British
defense defence
practice (noun and verb) practice (noun)/practise (verb)
license (noun and verb) licence (noun)/license (verb)
defensive defensive
advice (noun)/advise (verb) advice (noun)/advise (verb)
The defense attorney had practiced law for over thirty years. The defence attorney had practised law for over thirty years.

-/e, -og/-ogue

American British
aging ageing
acknowledgment acknowledgement
judgment judgement
analog analogue
dialog dialogue
dying/dyeing (from die/dye) dying/dyeing (from die/dye)
The aging analog-to-digital converter is slowly dying. The ageing analogue-to-digital converter is slowly dying.

-l/-ll OR -ll/-l

American British
fulfill fulfil
enroll enrol
skill, skillful skill, skilful
labeled labelled
signaling signalling
propelled propelled
revealing revealing
The skillful student noted that the drop inenrollment may be signaling a problem with the study design. The skilful student noted that the drop inenrolment may be signalling a problem with the study design.

This list of differences between American English and British English is by no means exhaustive, but we hope that it helps give you an idea of the distinctions between the two styles of writing. If you have questions about any particular word, please contact us.

Source: https://www.aje.com

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