As a copywriter and editor, I am often faced with spelling of English words contrary to what I’m used to.
There’s the American and the British way. And as a Canadian, I’m somewhere in-between as “Canadian” spelling is a combination of both – influenced as a British colony (before becoming a sovereign nation), and Canada’s proximity to the United States.
Examples of differences
Colour. In Canadian and British English, the ‘u’ is included. In American English, it’s spelled as color. But, verbs ending with ‘ise’ such as ‘organise’ are the British way, whereas in Canada and America it’s organize.
Words ending in ‘re’ such as centre (Canada/UK) are ‘er’ in America as center. But over the years, I’ve defaulted to center.
It’s a grey, cloudy day if you’re reading the weather in the UK/Canada and a gray one if in America. (And this one I have to look up, as keep forgetting the Canadian way!)
“Cheque, please!” is the common spelling in Canada/UK whereas “Check, please!” in America. Speaking of check, here is an extensive list of American and British spelling differences that you can, err, check.
I have a real appreciation for those learning English as another language.
Does it matter?
Yes and not really.
For me, it matters when I’m writing or editing a press release or blog, as I try to keep consistent with the preferred spelling style of the company.
So, for my American clients I will revert to color, and my European clients that prefer the British style, I’ll go with organise.
In the end, communication is key, and most non-native English speakers/writers (and native, too) won’t notice the difference.
It’s more of a preference. Like for me, colour is much more colourful with that ‘u’.
Which do you favour (or favor)?
Hopefully, you see the humor (or humour) in this.