The way words are spelled in America differs substantially from the Commonwealth, this is believed to originate from the War of Independence when Americans began changing things in order to be different from the British - this is also why Americans eat differently with a knife and fork.

Canada, although part of the British Commonwealth, has been influenced by its American neighbor and has a kind of a pick and choose attitude with spelling, some words are spelled the American way and some the English way.

For some words, American’s cut off ”ue” because is it considered archaic.

Catalogue Catalog
Analogue Analog

The OUR versus OR difference

"-our" in the Commonwealth is replaced with just "-or" in the USA.

Neighbour Neighbor
Colour Color
Harbour Harbor

Of course, Americans being what they are make exceptions to this rule:

Glamour is not spelled glamor (go figure?)

The ISE versus IZE difference

"-ise" in the Commonwealth is replaced with "-ize" in the USA.

Also "-isation" replaced with "-ization".

Realise Realize
Emphasise Emphasize
Organisation Organization
Revitalisation Revitalization

Once again, Americans make exceptions to this rule:

Advertise is not spelled Advertize, and Compromise is not spelled Compromize, neither is Surmise spelled Surmize, and also compensation (go figure again?)

The RE versus ER difference

"-re" in the Commonwealth is replaced with "-er" in the USA.

Metre Meter
Theatre Theater
Centre Center

There is a trend in America now to "misspell" certain of these words in order to give a sense of exclusivity such as "theatre" and "centre".

The double letter versus single letter difference

"-ll-" in the Commonwealth is replaced with a single"-l-" in the USA. Same with t.

Travelling Traveling
Travelled Traveled
Targetting Targeting
Panelling Paneling
Revelling Reveling

The "further" vs. "farther" difference

Americans use the word farther when describing distance, e.g. "Let's not drive any farther today". Whereas when describing a process, the word further is used, e.g. "Let's not take this matter any further today".

In the Commonwealth, only the word further is used in all instances.

The AE vs. E

Certain scientific words are spelled with an "ae" in British English but only an "e" in American English


Archaeology Archeology 
Gynaecology Gynecology
Haematology Hematology
Paediatric Pediatric
Anaesthesia Anesthesia

The "no reason at all" differences

Then there are many words that are just spelled differently for no discernible  reason!


Aluminium Aluminum
Analogue Analog
Cheque Check
Byelaw Bylaw
Kerb Curb
Defence Defense
Doughnut Donut (started by Dunkin' Donuts)
Draught Draft
Grey Gray
Gaol Jail
Jewellery Jewelry
Judgement Judgment
Licence (noun, verb is spelled license) License (both noun and verb)
Manoeuvre Maneuver
Mould Mold
Omelette Omelet
Pyjamas Pajamas
Programme Program
Sceptic Skeptic
Speciality Specialty
Tyre Tire
Vice (as in the clamp) Vise

If you know of any words or differences I have missed please submit them to me here

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