Is it centre or center, litre or liter? Actually, depending on whichever side of the Atlantic Ocean you find yourself, either way of spelling the above words are classed as correct.
But how can a mutual language shared between two nations seem so separated? Well in the case of Britain and America they can. There are in fact several reasons, however one of the most significant causes to this age old question is the fact that the modern English language is influenced by a variety of languages such as Latin and French. And while the English language opted to adopt its influenced style and vocabulary, the American language evolved in a different fashion.
And without making it sound as though this article is a historical one, I do think it’s important to take a small trip down memory lane. Well to begin, the English language was first introduced in America in the early 17th century during the British colonization. Let’s skip forwards a few years and not too long after the, language spoken by Brits and the English spoken by Yanks began separating, resulting in the two opposed ways of speaking and spelling.
And in Britain, during the Norman conquest of 1066, French was used as the language of courts, the government and culture for over 300 years. For the duration of this period the English language was perceived as common, and was further deemed grammatically irrelevant.
This is why the modern English language carries a strong French influence in its lexicon. In the US however after the American Revolution, the language re-adapted. This meant that the spelling of words mirrored their sound, and that lead to the contrast of English spoken by British people and the English spoken by American people.
Below, we have some examples of how a word is spelt, subject to which side of the pond you are situated in!
Words ending in ‘our’ and ‘or’
• Britain> Colour| America> Color
• Britain> Labour| America> Labor
• Britain> Neighbour| America> Neighbor
Word ending in ‘yse’ and ‘yze’
• Britain> Paralyse| America> Paralyze
• Britain> Analyse| America> Analyze
• Britain> Breathalyse| America> Breathalyze
Word ending in‘re’ and ‘er’
• Britain> Centre| America> Center
• Britain> Theatre| America> Theater
• Britain> Litre| America> Liter