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How different is spelling between The United States and Canada?

The simple answer is very.

Until recently, I never realized exactly how many words are spelt differently between these two countries. Confusion isn’t something I like, so I put together the following chart.

Difference Canada United States
add an ‘e’ before ment abridgement, acknowledgement, judgement abridgment, acknowledgment, judgment
add an ‘o’ amoeba, manoeuvre, moustache ameba, maneuver, mustache
‘s’ vs. ‘z’ analyse analyze
‘our’ vs ‘or’ arbour, behaviour, candour, clamour, colour, demeanour, favour, favourite, glamour, harbour, honour, humour, labour, neighbour, parlour, odour, rigour, saviour, smoulder, splendour, tumour, valour, vapour, vigour arbor, behavior, candor, clamor, color, demeanor, favor, favorite, glamor, harbor, honor, humor, labor, neighbor, parlor, odor, rigor, savior, smolder, splendor, tumor, valor, vapor, vigor
add an ‘e’ axe, matte, ageing, sizeable ax, matt, aging, sizable
double the ‘l’ before ‘ed/er/ment’ in Canada (extra ‘l’ extends to an ‘ing’ ending for these words as well) barrelled, cancelled, dialled, duelled, fuelled, funnelled, gruelling, jeweller, initialled, installment, imperilled, labelled, levelled, marvelled, modelled, panelled/panelling, pummelled, shrivelled, signalled, spiralled, totalled, traveller, tunnelled barreled, canceled, fueled, dialed, dueled, funneled, grueling, jeweler, initialed, instalment, imperiled, labeled, leveled, marveled, modeled, paneled/paneling, pummeled, shriveled, signaled, spiraled, totaled, traveler, tunneled
‘re’ vs. ‘er’, (general exception are words that end in cer e:- acre) calibre, centre, centimetre, fibre goitre, kilometre, litre, louvre, lustre, meagre, metre, millimetre, sceptre, sombre, theatre caliber, center, centimeter, fiber goiter, kilometer, liter, louver, luster, meager, meter, millimeter, scepter, somber, theater
add an ‘a’ anaesthesia, aeon, aegis, aesthetic, archaeology anesthesia, eon, egis, esthetic, archeology
‘ette’ vs. ‘et’ brunette, burette, omelette brunet, buret, omelet
‘ogue’ vs. ‘og’ analogue, catalogue, dialogue, queueing analog, catalog, dialog, queuing
‘que’ vs ‘ck’ cheque, racquet check, racket
double ‘l’ counsellor, crystalline, crystallize, marvellous, medallist, tranquillize counselor, crystaline, crystalize, marvelous, medalist, tranquilize
‘er’ vs. ‘est’ crueller, cruelest,
‘ce’ vs. ‘se’ defence, licence, offence, vice defense, license, offense, vise
add a ‘u’ gauge, mould, moult gage, mold, molt
‘e’ vs ‘a’ grey gray
practice(n) practise(v) practice(n/v)
‘y’ vs ‘a’ pyjamas pajamas
‘ph’ vs ‘f’ sulphate, sulphur sulfate, sulfur
‘ne’ vs. ‘n’ tonne (metric) ton (imperial)
Double ‘p’ worshipped, kidnapped worshiped, kidnaped
Hyphens co-author, co-opt, counter-attack, by-product, pre-empt, pre-exist, pre-war, re-educate, re-enter, re-entry, re-examine coauthor, coopt, counterattack, byproduct, preempt, preexist, prewar, reeducate, reenter, reentry, reexamine
‘a’ vs. ‘e’ dependant dependent
‘t’ vs. ‘ed’ dreamt, leapt dreamed, leaped
‘en’ vs. ‘in’ inquiry(formal request), enquiry (questioning), insure(protect against), ensure(make certain) inquiry (for both), insure (for both)

While this is not a complete list, it should give readers and writers a good grasp of the differences between the two countries.
Happy reading!

Published by C. A. King

C. A. King

C.A. King was born and raised in Halton County. She currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her two sons.

After the loss of her loving parents and husband, Ms. King was devastated. Confronted with depression, she decided to do a bit of soul searching. It was during this time that writing became her passion. She found she was able to redirect her emotions through her writing and in 2014 decided to publish some of her works.

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