via Daily Prompt: Memorize
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:

  • our/or:

In British English colour, neighbour, favour, honour etc. While in American English they drop the ‘u’ making it color, neighbor, favor, honor etc.

  • ize/ise:

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.

  • er/re:

Words that end in –re in Britain (centre, fibre, theatre) are often reversed to –er when spelled in American English (center, fiber, theatre)

  • ogue/og:

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
All Rights Reserved

0 thoughts on “SPELLINGS!!

  1. This is such an interesting post! I’m a Canadian living in Chicago; for me, I seem to have to switch between what I learned in Canada (the British spelling) and now the American spelling! I definitely get confused between the two and have been told, “You spelled that word incorrectly” by my fellow Americans! *LOL* Cher xo

  2. Thank you for putting this post together, you have shown the difference we face when you have learned everything in British system and have to apply American system. Beginning it was very confusing, now a days it’s much better, but still confusing.

    1. Hey thanks for reading. Glad you found it useful. I know it’s a tough task to learn any language, so many grammar rules! And interestingly we never think of them as “rules” coz we are so used to them. When I read the grammar rules of Marathi (my mother tongue) I go crazy coz I never had to learn marathi that way. Guess any language

  3. Great post and it can be a terrible dilemma for writers too trying to publish in two language zones. Personally, I think it should be owned up across the pond and accepted they took our language and didn’t know how to spell properly leaving us with global turmoil. A tongue in cheek quip point used many times in humorous debates which usually cause much frowning as we don’t spell that word “humourous,” even though the stem is humour….savvy? Usually they say “No,” our way is complicated and silly…to wit I say “But you have a “u” in our.”
    Who’d be a copy editor??? Madness reigns… I feel your pain 🙂

      1. Lol, I have a good Welsh friend living over there who is constantly moaning her husband says she can’t spell properly. Endless source of mirth and that’s before we get into American football and some ancient confusion betwixt kicking it (football) and rugby (carrying it). All great fun though 😊

        1. Oh god.. Don’t even get me started on that! For some reason I can never totally comprehend when to call it “Football” and when “Rugby” or even “Soccer” (but I guess soccer is just another name for football, again confused! 😛 )

          1. ha, ha! Soccer and football are one and the same, eleven aside 90 minutes; rugby is 15 aside and 80 minutes…no idea how many millions of players American Football has, what with special teams and a game that lasts billions of hours and that’s before we mention Aussie Rules football which is played on an oval pitch!!!

              1. I rather think the perspective of other sports can do that. Even here people ponder the meaning of off-side on a daily basis. Cricket is far more relaxing and lends itself to easy radio listening. Well, test matches used to; now we have one days, 20-20 and its all rather a rush 🙂

  4. Great post, I knew all the differences but had definitely never registered how many there truly are! I live in India, and so it’s even worse for me – I can’t just blindly follow the norm here, because half the time I don’t know which that it xD
    I always favour British spellings for sure, but often find books using “z” instead of “s” and then I’m thrust back into this cycle of confusion.

    1. Yeah..I know what you mean. We Indians are all the more confused here with having studied in British English to all of us watching TV serials in American English!!
      Confusion hi confusion he solution kuch pata nahi 😛

  5. The other day my grammar checker kicked out surprise. When I would change it to their suggestion it would just flag it again and want me to change it back. It was very annoying. Finally, I just picked one and hit Ignore. LOL

    1. Haha… That’s very annoying. Everytime I try to write Marathi (my mother tongue) in Roman script, the spell checker suggests such funny alternative words and thanks to autocorrect I have keep rewriting half of the things. It’s annoying as hell but hilarious at times 😀

  6. A really informative one especially for students like me… We are always so confused because half d books refer to American spellings and the others to British… Though I never understood d difference!!😜 So many a times what happens we ask each other in Marathi (regional language) whether to write s or z… Whatever d majority suggests we all follow it!!! Thanks🙂

  7. Being a language teacher/trainer myself, I just use both or either one… who knows what’s British and American, I write it the way I learnt it. If we go to think what is right and wrong, we’ll never get very far.
    Excellent post!

Leave a Reply