I have previously written on what spell check is and is not. Now I ask, do you know if your content speaks your language and that of your audience?

American English vs. British Canada English

By being consistent with your choice of language throughout your emails, marketing material, business correspondences or book, you will keep the flow and clarity in your writing. By setting your spell and grammar check to either English-United States or English-Canada you can keep consistency in your work. Based on the following differences, your cultural and educational background and the market you most serve, I leave the decision to you.

As Canadians we are influenced heavily by British standards of speech, grammar and punctuation especially if you were educated in the 1960s, before the age of Cable TV and then the internet. It is at this time that we begin to see wider variances in speech and grammar, beginning with the modern influence of American English. To keep consistency in your work, set your MS language tab to English Canada, you may/will notice errors if your content is being verified by a software such as Grammarly which defaults to American English. However, there are so many words that we interchange in speech and writing every day such as learned (American) /learnt (British), the ‘our’ endings, like the British, and the ‘izes’, as the Americans. The goal is consistency from beginning to end, writing, proofing and editing.

Canadian spelling is a mixture of styles, influenced by history and politics. Over the years we have mixed the two styles in our writing, however, there are a few major differences that remain – titles (Mr. vs. Mr), dates, time and quotations (vs. ).

American English vs. British Canada English – Spelling

What differentiates Canadian spelling from America spelling is the use of ‘U’ in words such as honour, colour, valour, and ‘Z’ vs. ‘S’. British spelling uses the ‘S’ in words like ‘recognized’. Canadians tend to use the American spelling with a ‘Z’. Least we forget the double ‘L’, Canadians double the final consonant when adding suffixes to words such as travel (travelling), jewel (jeweller) and total (totalled).

Without getting into the history and politics of English or all the exceptions, Latin or Greek derivatives or derivatives and inflected forms, here are a few more examples below:

Canadian English vs. American English


You will find differences in grammar as well from delexical verbs, prepositions, past tenses and even punctuation. Let’s face it, writing even a simple email can be daunting if it is your intention to deliver your message with clarity, flow and language that will impact your audience.

Some Tips:

  • Set your Proofing Language and Language preference to either Canadian or American English
  • Install Grammarly (free) and set your profile and preferences for Canadian or American English
  • If you are serious about writing, apply the enhanced feature on your MS spell check
  • Be consistent – check for consistency
  • Proofread over and over
  • If your word, sentence or paragraph lights up like a Christmas tree – with red, blue or green lines, you need to proof your grammar, spelling and sentence structure

It is the time of year for holiday newsletters and greetings, be attentive to your content, your words move your audience to action.

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Deborah FerdinandDeborah Ferdinand is an editor and cognitive non-fiction ghostwriter at Creative Consulting Services. She has had the pleasure of being the voice for authors from varying industries and disciplines based on their thoughts, methods or experiences. As a cognitive and intuitive writer, she uses those abilities to draw out their essence to construct the intent and feeling of their book. Presently, Deborah is in the process of crafting a book on ‘How to write and publish an Authoritative Book’.

Come to our booth at Word on the Street on September 23, 2018 at the Harbourfront Centre! LEARN MORE