18721001439_b79fc1e9fb_bIs that color between black and white gray or grey? Do we go to the theater or the theatre? Do we head toward or towards the light? Do you honor or honour your mother? Do you obtain a driver’s license or licence? Do you like to write dialog or dialogue?

Well, it depends upon where you live. The first of each of the above pairings is the American version, and the second is British. We may use the British spelling because it looks more sophisticated to write:

I went to the theatre last night and saw an excellent production of Romeo and Juliet.

I tend to favor the British spelling of dialogue rather than the American version. Good dialog is difficult to write, so maybe I do that to have the word reflect the complexity of the task.

One version is not right and the other wrong. If you write in the United States, it’s best to use the simplified spellings. If you write in a British territory or for British residents, use that spelling. More important than the version you choose is to remain consistent throughout. Pick one spelling of a word, and stick with it. Don’t flip back and forth between the two versions.

What’s your tendency? Do you have any words you spell in non-traditional ways? Any British versions you use consistently? Tell us about it.

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