Ambience vs. Ambiance: Which is Right?

  • Ambience is a character and mood of a place.
  • Ambiance is an alternative spelling of the same word.

When reading articles onilne, you’ll find ambiance—spelled with an -ance—like in the title of this new story:

Top restaurant performers in September won guest affection with ‘ambiance’ – Nation’s Restaurant News

In other articles, writers spell it ambience—with an -ence. Which one is correct—ambiance or ambience?


The Definition of Ambience

Ambience is derived from a French word that means “surrounding.” Ambience is a mood or atmosphere of a particular environment. Many factors contribute to ambience. Think of your favorite restaurant, for instance. The choice or volume of music, the color of the walls, and the smells of cooking food may lend to a pleasing or displeasing ambience. But what about ambiance? Is it a misspelling of ambience?

Ambiance is not a misspelling; it’s just an alternative spelling and it can be used in the same way as ambience. Do you know which one is most often used?


Ambiance vs Ambience: Examples and Usage

Ambience has been used in the English language longer than ambiance. Maybe that’s why ambience is the more familiar or standard spelling. Although both spellings are correct, some people feel more comfortable using the more popular one. What do you think? Seeing some examples might help you to make up your mind:

Example          “Welcome to the world of so-called ambience videos, a genre of YouTube video that pairs relaxing soundscapes with animated scenery in order to make viewers feel immersed in specific spaces, like a jazz bar in Paris or a swamp populated with trilling wildlife.” – The NY Times

Example          “That is why generating the optimal in-store ambience is vital as it plays such an important role in crafting the backbone to the perfect customer shopping experience.” – Hitachi Newsroom

Example          Pacotti says the intent was to adhere to the time-honored style of the celebration spot as much as possible, maintaining the intimate European ambiance in the evening while creating a softer, more welcoming daytime environment. – Mercury News

Ambiance and ambience are both accurate spellings of the same word. Ambience is the more commonly used of the two, but ambiance is also sufficient. Do you write about the character or mood of a place with the French spelling, or would you opt for the more popular ambience


Posted by Avatar photo
By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *