American Vs British Spellings

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I have to say something. It pains me to say it, but here we go.

I prefer American spellings to British ones.

Honestly, that shouldn’t be hard to admit. I don’t have a patriotic bone in my body. But still, as a Brit, I cling to a stubborn resistance against the overwhelming influence of America.

This time, though, I’m letting go.

For professional reasons, I’ve been spending a lot of time switching between the two sets of spellings. The more I look at them, the more I realise that British spellings are full of choices that make them less instinctive for someone familiar with our shared alphabet and writing system. Extra letters. “S”s for “z” sounds. “Re” to make an “er” sound.

We cling to our system because it’s what we’re used to. If we’re using something then our brains find ways to justify it, rather than admit that we’ve been pouring effort into an inferior option. Brains are tricksy like that.

But American spellings are, in most cases, better.

I’m not going to just start using them. After all, I live in Britain. I have to work with that. But never again will I try to say that the Americans are the ones spelling stuff wrong.

They’ve got it right. We’ve got a mess.

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Andrew Knighton

Andrew Knighton is an author of speculative and historical fiction, including comics, short stories, and novels. A freelance writer and a keen gamer, he lives in Yorkshire with a cat, an academic, and a big pile of books. His work has been published by Top Cow, Commando Comics, and Daily Science Fiction, and he has ghostwritten over forty novels in a variety of genres. His latest novella, Ashes of the Ancestors, is out now from Luna Press Publishing.