Updated September 7, 2022 – I traveled (travelled?) around the Big Island of Hawaii the last two weeks and found that–even at Volcanoes National Park–I could not escape thinking about writing. This spelling grabbed my attention on the Sulphur Banks trail:
Why deal with spelling in a national park? Because on the Sulphur Banks trail, the park needed to explain the nature of sulfur.
When you think about whether to use U.S., British, or Canadian spellings, think about your audience. When I offer classes in nearby Vancouver, British Columbia, I always update spellings, and I consider using the word brackets for what I normally call parentheses.
This Oxford dictionaries page can help you with the basics, and this list covers most spelling differences–although not sulphur and sulfur. For Canada, a gray area (or grey?) when it comes to choosing between U.S. or British spelling, I consult The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling guide.
Here is a quick guide on the British vs. US Spellings
British English words which end in ‘our’ usually end in ‘or’ in American English:
British English verbs that can either be spelled with ‘ize’ or ‘ise’ at the end are always spelled with ‘ize’ in American English:
|apologize or apologise||Apologize|
|organize or organise||Organize|
|recognize or recognise||Recognize|
British English verbs ending in ‘yse’ are always spelled ‘yze’ in American English:
In British spelling, verbs that end in a vowel plus “l” double the “l,” while American English does not:
Words in British English that are spelled with the double vowels ae or oe are usually spelled with an e in American English: however, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, the word archaeology is spelled in the same way as British English, but archeology would be acceptable in America but is considered incorrect in the UK.
Some nouns that end with ‘ence’ in British English are spelled ‘ense in American English:’
Some nouns that end with ‘ogue’ in British English end with either ‘og’ or ‘ogue in American English:
|analogue||analog or analogue|
|catalogue||catalog or catalogue|
|dialogue||dialog or dialogue|
One word is always spelled the same way: the Hawaiian word and feeling of aloha.