The Muse Marquee

Marquee Blog
Meet the Editors
Poppacrit's Den
Mother Hen's Bin
Up From Down Under
Worlds Apart
Between Writer and Pen
October 2009 Flashers
Flashers Archives
Poets Corner
POETRY Archives
Marquee E-Book Shop
Interview Archives
Marquee Bookstore
The Muse Marquee Ad Rates
Advertisers Links
Helpful Links
Up From Down Under April 2009

Vive la Difference


No, this article isn't about sex, but it should be of interest to both sexes. It's a brief look at some differences between Australian English and American English. Many of the references to Australian English will apply equally to British English - but not all, so I'll let the British be the judge of that.




I often append the words "Australian English" to my writing, and sometimes I add, as an extra precaution, "Australian Spelling". It still hasn't prevented the occasional American from querying my spelling. Surely, they don't suspect my spelling could be wrong?

There are a few major groups of differences:

The "tre" words -

  • In this category we have words such as centre, theatre and spectre. (American = center, theater, specter)

The "ise" words -

  • Here you would include realise, recognise and civilise. (American = realize, recognize, civilize.)

The "our" words -

  • Examples to consider are favourite, humour, honour and colour. (American = favorite, humor, honor, color.)

The "double consonant" words -

  • Examples: travelling and focussed. (American = traveling, focused.)

However, where Americans write willful, Australians write wilful.

The "u" words -

  • I mean words such as gauge and baulk. (American = gage, balk.)

Other odd words -

  • cheque (that is, a bank cheque) (check)
  • dialogue (dialog)
  • aluminium (aluminum)
  • tyre (on a wheel) (tire)

... and so many more.


Don’t despair about the differences; rejoice that variety is the spice of life and English is such a vibrant living language.


Les Stephenson

Up From Down Under  - April 2009