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UK versus USA English
By Vanessa Finaughty

Many people don’t realise that American spelling and grammar is not always the same as UK spelling and grammar. It’s important to know the difference between the two in order to be consistent in your writing – whichever version you use, use it throughout.

Some of the common differences are listed below, though this list is far from extensive.

UKvsUSA English
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Note that, in UK English, ‘learned’ means ‘educated’ and ‘learnt’ means ‘attained new knowledge’. However, in USA English, ‘learned’ is used for both meanings.

In UK English, ‘spoilt’ means ‘pampered/indulged’ or ‘messed up’, and ‘spoiled’ means ‘rotten’. In USA English, ‘spoiled’ is used for both meanings.

Some countries, such as Canada, use a combination of UK and USA spelling and grammar – if you live in one of these countries and would like to use your country’s version of English, make sure you know the rules.

For a more in-depth discussion on the differences between UK and USA English, please see the Editors’ Bible.


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