After all those hours spent in school trying to correct spelling mistakes, I feel like I’m back to square one. With different ‘American’ and ‘British’ spellings, I no longer know what is right. It’s just so confusing! Is it ‘centre’ or center’, ‘colour’ or ‘color’? No matter which spelling I use it is forever ‘not consistent with the standards’.
Now, I know that the “English Spelling Reforms” were done to simplify the words and make the spellings pronunciation-based. But it’s no longer simple as each country is having its own ‘standard form’ of spellings which are now further straying away from those very ‘standards’.
While the British tend to retain the orthodox spellings of words with Greek or Latin roots, using those same spellings which were used when these words were introduced into the English language back in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Americans have their terminology and spellings changed and supposedly ‘simplified’.
So here are a few basic differences in the British and American terminologies:
In British English colour, neighbour, favour, honour etc. While in American English they drop the ‘u’ making it color, neighbor, favor, honor etc.
British spelling mostly uses –ise (organise, recognise) while –ize is used in American spellings (organize, recognize).
Similarly –isation is used in Britain making it organisation and colonisation while it’s organization and colonization in America (-ization).
The same goes with –ising and –izing with organising in British and organizing in American.
Words that end in –re in Britain (centre, fibre, theatre) are often reversed to –er when spelled in American English (center, fiber, theatre)
British English uses –ogue while American English commonly uses the ending –og for words like analog(ue), catalog(ue), dialog(ue), monolog(ue), etc.
- doubling of consonants:
In both the spelling standards the final consonant which is stressed is doubled when adding a suffix like in strip/stripped.
But in the British standard even the consonants which are not stressed are doubled for eg. Travelling, travelled, traveller etc.
Whereas in American standard it’s not doubled for eg. Traveling, traveled, traveler etc.
Have you lost it yet?? No?! Well there’s more…
- How and when to drop “e” when adding suffixes (British prefer ageing, while American usually use aging)
- Use of double vowels “ae” and “oe” (American English: leukemia, estrogen. British English: leukaemia and oestrogen)
- The ending –yse is British and –yze is American. Thus, in British English it’s analyse, catalyse and paralyse, but in American English analyze, catalyze and paralyze.
And the list goes on and on… I have had enough with this standards! Just the same with today’s prompt! It’s Memorise for me and not Memorize!! Huh…
All these grammar rules can be really confusing, especially if you are learning English as a second language. I, myself prefer to write according to the British Standards as that was what we were taught in school. But dealing with different clients and copywriting for them sometimes demands different spelling standards, and then again I’m left high and dry!
How many of you face these spelling nightmares??
© 2017 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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