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What’s the Difference Between Program and Programme?

If you’re wondering about the difference between program and programme, it’s really quite simple! Program is the correct spelling in American English, as well as Canadian and Australian English. However, British English uses programme as its preferred spelling. In computing contexts, though, British people often use program rather than programme. 

Graphic showing difference in usage of Program and Programme

The word program appeared in both American and British writing many years ago, but once the nineteenth century rolled around, the British began to favor the French spelling of the word: Programme. Regardless of its spelling, this word refers to a plan of procedures, activities, or actions for a specific purpose. However, program/programme can also refer to a list of performers or acts associated with a concert or play.

Program also functions as a verb. It means to modify, regulate, or set in order to produce a specific result. In reference to writing code, Americans and Brits use the preferred spelling program

The middle school began a morning breakfast program before classes.

The tech-savvy student programmed her computer to wake her up as the sun rose.

The backup dancer felt discouraged when he realized his name wasn’t on the program.

Examples of Program in the United States

“Those who didn’t go through a rehabilitation program were much more likely to suffer from the same ailment again.”

“Learning to code websites and program computers can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.”

Examples of Program Outside the United States

“The Australian professional training program has produced dozens of top performers.”

“In Canada, an artificial intelligence program was trained to play card games–with much success.”

“The Irish health professionals appeared on a programme about healthy eating and proper exercise.”

The Bottom Line

Was the difference between program and programme easy for you to understand? It’s always fascinating to examine the differences between American and British English. While you’re here, take a look at this article about the difference between alright and all right!

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By Jessica Allen

Jessica is a full-time freelance writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish.

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