Tag Archives: dictionary spelling preferences

Which Form is Correct?

People ask me which word is correct: canceled or cancelled, gray or grey, traveled or travelled, color or colour, theater or theatre?

Whichever variant you see listed first in the dictionary is the preferred spelling. It’s not a question of right or wrong, it’s just the preferred form.  I find it interesting that in America we rarely use the “—our form of a word, but we do write glamour.  Perhaps we think it looks more glamorous (which we do not spell glamourous!).

I am taking a break for a couple of weeks, so I’ll be back to torture you the beginning of August.

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Which Spelling Is Correct?

English has quite a few words that are spelled two ways and mean the same thing.  When you look these words up in the dictionary, the convention is to give the preferred spelling first.  Here are some words you can spell two ways:

AX/AXE

ADVISOR/ADVISER

ARCHAEOLOGY/ARCHEOLOGY

BARBECUE/BARBEQUE

DISC/DISK

WHISKEY/WHISKY

GRAY/GREY

COLLECTIBLE/COLLECTABLE

British people write judgement, while in America we omit that middle e.  Similarly, they write colour, honour, centre and theatre, while Americans prefer color, honor, center and theater.  Language changes in spelling, grammar, meaning and usage, but the changes are rarely so rapid that you can’t keep up.

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