American and Australian spelling

Different American and Australian/New Zealand spellings make life difficult, especially since Microsoft Word has a tendency to continually default to American spelling. Some of the major differences are:

  • able or –eable, usable or useable
    Both are used in Australian, New Zealand and British English. American English uses -able.
  • ae or -e, -paediatrician or pediatrician
    British spelling uses -ae, American -e and Australian and New Zealand spelling uses -ae with some words (paediatrician, anaesthetic) and -e with others ( encyclopedia, medieval).
  • -ing or -eing, aging or ageing
    Both are used in Britain, aging is standard in American English. Ageing is the preferred Australian and New Zealand spelling.
  • -ise or -ize, customise or customize
    The -ize spelling is standard in American spelling, the -ise ending is the preferred British, Australian and New Zealand usage.
  • -l or -ll, instal or install
    American English tends to use the single l, Australian and New Zealand English uses single for many words (instil, enrol, enthral, dispel), but two lls for forestall and install.
  • -ment or -ement, judgment or judgement
    American English tends to use no -e ( judgment, acknowledgment, abridgment). Australian, New Zealand and British spelling use both forms. The preferred form in everyday writing seems to be with an –e (judgement, lodgement), though judgment is used in legal writing.
  • -oe or -e, foetus or fetus
    The -oe spelling is British, the -e American. Australian and New Zealand English uses -oe for some words (homoeopath, oestrogen), and -e for others ( homeostasis).
  • -our or –or, colour or color
    The -or form is American and -our form British, Australian and New Zealand.
  • -yse or –yze, analyse or analyze
    The -yze form is American and the –yse form British, Australian and New Zealand. Similarly, American English uses -ize and British, Australian and New Zealand English -ise (civilize, civilise).

Australian English has now adopted the American spelling of program, but New Zealand still uses programme.

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