Love and War in Texas is an adventure /suspense novel told in both the nineteenth century and in the present day. The founders of the northeast Texas pioneer family central to the story are Zebediah and Mary Holmes who come to Texas in 1863, fleeing the wrath of a Yankee General in Missouri.
Doubled in American EnglishConversely, there are words where British writers prefer a single l and Americans a double l. In American usage, the spelling of words is usually not changed when they form the main part (not prefix or suffix) of other words, especially in newly formed words and in words whose main part is in common use. Words with this spelling difference include wil(l)ful, skil(l)ful, thral(l)dom, appal(l), fulfil(l), fulfil(l)ment, enrol(l)ment, instal(l)ment. These words have monosyllabic cognates always written with -ll: will, skill, thrall, pall, fill, roll, stall, still. Cases where a single l nevertheless occurs in both American and British English include null→annul, annulment; till→until (although some prefer "til" to reflect the single L in "until", sometimes using an apostrophe ['til]); and others where the connection is not clear or the monosyllabic cognate is not in common use in American English (e.g. null is used mainly as a technical term in law, mathematics, and computer science).
In the UK, ll is sometimes used in distil(l), instil(l), enrol(l), and enthral(l)ment, and often in enthral(l), all of which are always spelled this way in American usage. The former British spellings instal, fulness, and dulness are now quite rare. The Scottish tolbooth is cognate with toll booth, but it has a distinct meaning.
In both American and British usages, words normally spelled -ll usually drop the second l when used as prefixes or suffixes, for example full→useful, handful; all→almighty, altogether; well→welfare, welcome; chill→chilblain.
The British fulfil and American fulfill are never fullfill or fullfil.
Johnson wavered on this issue. His dictionary of 1755 lemmatises distil and instill, downhil and uphill.
Dropped eBritish English sometimes keeps silent e when adding suffixes where American English does not. Generally speaking, British English drops it in only some cases in which it is needed to show pronunciation whereas American English only uses it where needed.
- British prefers ageing, American usually aging (compare raging, ageism). For the noun or verb "route", British English often uses routeing, but in America routing is used. The military term rout forms routing everywhere. However, all of these words form "router", whether used in the context of carpentry, data communications, or military. (e.g. "Attacus was the router of the Huns at ....")
- Before -able, British English prefers likeable, liveable, rateable, saleable, sizeable, unshakeable, where American practice prefers to drop the -e; but both British and American English prefer breathable, curable, datable, lovable, movable, notable, provable, quotable, scalable, solvable, usable, and those where the root is polysyllabic, like believable or decidable. Both systems keep the silent e when it is needed to preserve a soft c, ch, or g, such as in traceable, cacheable, changeable; both usually keep the "e" after -dge, as in knowledgeable, unbridgeable, and unabridgeable ("These rights are unabridgeable").
- Both abridgment and the more regular abridgement are current in the US, only the latter in the UK. Likewise for the word lodg(e)ment. Both judgment and judgement are in use interchangeably everywhere, although the former prevails in the US and the latter prevails in the UK except in the practice of law, where judgment is standard. This also holds for abridgment and acknowledgment. Both systems prefer fledgling to fledgeling, but ridgeling to ridgling. Both acknowledgment, acknowledgement, abridgment and abridgement are used in Australia; the shorter forms are endorsed by Australian governments.
- The word "blue" always drops the "e" when forming "bluish" or "bluing".
Past tense differencesIn Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand it is more common to end some past tense verbs with a "t" as in learnt or dreamt rather than learned or dreamed. However, such spellings are also found in North America. The "t" past tenses may have been influenced by German past tenses; for example dreamt has an irregular ending found in no other English word, which is probably derived from the German geträumt.
Several verbs have different past tenses or past participles in American and British English:
- The past tense of the verb "to dive" is most commonly found as "dived" in British, Australian and New Zealand English. "Dove" is usually used in its place in American and Canadian English. Both terms are understood, and may be found either in minority use or in regional dialect.
- The past participle and past tense of the verb "to get" is most commonly found as "got" in British and New Zealand English. "Gotten" is also used in its place in American and Canadian, and occasionally in Australian English, as a past participle, though "got" is widely used as a past tense. The main exception is in the phrase "ill-gotten", which is widely used in British, Australian and New Zealand English. Both terms are understood, and may be found either in minority use or in regional dialect. This does not affect "forget" and "beget", whose past participles are "forgotten" and "begotten" in all varieties.
Different spellings for different meanings
- dependant or dependent: British dictionaries distinguish between dependent (adjective) and dependant (noun). In the US, dependent is usual for both noun and adjective, notwithstanding that dependant is also an acceptable variant for the noun form in the US.
- disc or disk: Traditionally, disc used to be British and disk American. Both spellings are etymologically sound (Greek diskos, Latin discus), although disk is earlier. In computing, disc is used for optical discs (e.g. a CD, Compact Disc; DVD, Digital Versatile/Video Disc), by choice of the group that coined and trademarked the name Compact Disc, while disk is used for products using magnetic storage (e.g. hard disks or floppy disks, also known as diskettes). For this limited application, these spellings are used in both the US and the Commonwealth. Solid-state devices also use the spelling "disk".
- enquiry or inquiry: According to Fowler, inquiry should be used in relation to a formal inquest, and enquiry to the act of questioning. Many (though not all) British writers maintain this distinction; the OED, on the other hand, lists inquiry and enquiry as equal alternatives, in that order (with the addition of "public inquiry" in a 1993 addition). Some British dictionaries, such as Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, present the two spellings as interchangeable variants in the general sense, but prefer inquiry for the "formal inquest" sense. In the US, only inquiry is commonly used; the title of the National Enquirer, as a proper name, is an exception. In Australia, inquiry and enquiry are often interchangeable. Both are current in Canada, where enquiry is often associated with scholarly or intellectual research.
- ensure or insure: In the UK (and Australia and New Zealand), the word ensure (to make sure, to make certain) has a distinct meaning from the word insure (often followed by against – to guarantee or protect against, typically by means of an "insurance policy"). The distinction is only about a century old. In American usage, insure may also be used in the former sense, but ensure may not be used in the latter sense. According to Merriam-Webster's usage notes, ensure and insure "are interchangeable in many contexts where they indicate the making certain or [making] inevitable of an outcome, but ensure may imply a virtual guarantee
Different spellings for different pronunciationsIn a few cases, essentially the same word has a different spelling that reflects a different pronunciation.
As well as the miscellaneous cases listed in the following table, the past tenses of some irregular verbs differ in both spelling and pronunciation, as with smelt (UK) versus smelled (US) (see American and British English differences: Verb morphology).
|airplane||Aeroplane, originally a French loanword with a different meaning, is the older spelling. The oldest recorded uses of the spelling airplane are British. According to the OED, "[a]irplane became the standard American term (replacing aeroplane) after this was adopted by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1916. Although A. Lloyd James recommended its adoption by the BBC in 1928, it has until recently been no more than an occasional form in British English." In the British National Corpus, aeroplane outnumbers airplane by more than 7:1 in the UK. The case is similar for the British aerodrome and American airdrome,Aerodrome is used merely as a technical term in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The prefixes aero- and air- both mean air, with the first coming from the Ancient Greek word ἀήρ (āēr). Thus, the prefix appears in aeronautics, aerostatics, aerodynamics, aeronautical engineering and so on, while the second occurs invariably in aircraft, airport, airliner, airmail etc. In Canada, airplane is more common than aeroplane, although aeroplane is not unknown, especially in parts of French Canada (where it is, however, used only in English – the French term is avion, and the French word aéroplane designates 19th-century flying machines).|
|aluminium||aluminum||The spelling aluminium is the international standard in the sciences according to the IUPAC recommendations. Humphry Davy, the element's discoverer, first proposed the name alumium, and then later aluminum. The name aluminium was finally adopted to conform with the -ium ending of metallic elements. Canada uses aluminum and Australia and New Zealand aluminium, according to their respective dictionaries.|
|arse||ass||In vulgar senses "buttocks" ("anus"/"wretch"/"idiot"); unrelated sense "donkey" is ass in both. Arse is very rarely used in the US, though often understood. Whereas both are used in British English.|
|behove||behoove||The 19th century had the spelling behove pronounced to rhyme with move. Subsequently, a pronunciation spelling was adopted in America, while in Britain a spelling pronunciation was adopted.|
|bogeyman||boogeyman or boogerman||It is pronounced // BOH-gee-man in the UK, so that the American form, boogeyman /ˈbʊɡimæn/, is reminiscent of the 1970s disco dancing "boogie" to the British ear. Boogerman /bʊɡɚmæn/ is common in the Southern US and gives an association with the slang term booger for Nasal mucus while the mainstream American spelling of boogeyman does not, but aligns more closely with the British meaning where a bogey is also nasal mucus.|
|brent||brant||For the species of goose.|
|carburettor||carburetor||UK //; US //.|
|charivari||shivaree, charivari||In America, where both terms are mainly regional, charivari is usually pronounced as shivaree, which is also found in Canada and Cornwall, and is a corruption of the French word.|
|coupé||coupe||For a two-door car; the horse-drawn carriage is coupé in both (meaning "cut"); unrelated "cup"/"bowl" is always coupe. In the United States, the "e" is accented when it is used as a foreign word.|
|eyrie||aerie||This noun (not to be confused with the adjective eerie) rhymes with weary and hairy respectively. Both spellings and pronunciations occur in America.|
|fillet||fillet, filet||Meat or fish. Pronounced the French way (approximately) in the US; Canada follows British pronunciation and distinguishes between fillet, especially as concerns fish, and filet, as concerns certain cuts of beef. McDonald's in the UK use the US spelling "filet" for their Filet-O-Fish.|
|furore||furor||Furore is a late 18th-century Italian loan-word that replaced the Latinate form in the UK in the following century, and is usually pronounced with a voiced e. The Canadian usage is the same as the American, and Australia has both.|
|grotty||grody||Clippings of grotesque; both are slang terms from the 1960s.|
|haulier||hauler||Haulage contractor; haulier is the older spelling.|
|jemmy||jimmy||In the sense "crowbar".|
|moustache||mustache||In America, according to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the British spelling is an also-ran, yet the pronunciation with second-syllable stress is a common variant. In Britain the second syllable is usually stressed.|
|mum(my)||mom(my)||Mother. Mom is sporadically regionally found in the UK (e.g. in West Midlands English). Some British dialects have mam, and this is often used in Northern English, Hiberno-English, and Welsh English. Scottish English may also use mam, ma or maw. In the American region of New England, especially in the case of the Boston accent, the British pronunciation of mum is often retained, while it is still spelled mom. In Canada, there are both mom and mum; Canadians often say mum and write mom. In Australia and New Zealand, mum is used. In the sense of a preserved corpse, mummy is always used.|
|naivety||naïveté||The American spelling is from French, and American speakers generally approximate the French pronunciation as /nɑːiːv(ɨ)ˈteɪ/, whereas the British spelling is nativised, as also the pronunciation /nɑːˈiːv(ɨ)ti/. In the UK, naïveté is a minor variant, used about 20% of the time in the British National Corpus; in America, naivete and naiveté are marginal variants, and naivety is almost unattested.|
|orientated||oriented||In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, it is common to use orientated (as in family-orientated), whereas in the US oriented is used exclusively (family-oriented). Both words have the same origins, coming from "orient" or its off-shoot "orientation".|
|pyjamas||pajamas||The 'y' represents the pronunciation of the original Urdu "pāy-jāma", and in the 18th century spellings such as "paijamahs" and "peijammahs" appeared: this is reflected in the pronunciation // (with the first syllable rhyming with "pie") offered as an alternative in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Both "pyjamas" and "pajamas" are also known from the 18th century, but the latter became more or less confined to the US. Canada follows both British and American usage, with both forms commonplace.|
|pernickety||persnickety||Persnickety is a late 19th-century American alteration of the Scots word pernickety.|
|quin||quint||Abbreviations of quintuplet.|
|scallywag||scalawag||In the United States (where the word originated, as scalawag), scallywag is not unknown.|
|speciality||specialty||In British English the standard usage is speciality, but specialty occurs in the field of medicine, and also as a legal term for a contract under seal. In Canada, specialty prevails. In Australia and New Zealand both are current.|
|titbit||tidbit||According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the oldest form was "tyd bit", and the alteration to "titbit" was probably under the influence of the obsolete word "tit", meaning a small horse or girl.|
|whilst||while||Penguin Working Words recommends while only, and notes that whilst is old-fashioned. The Cambridge Guide to English Usage and Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage comment on its regional character, and note that it is rare in American usage. It is thus safer to use only while in international English. (See the article While for further sources deprecating the use of whilst, and cautioning about uses of while.)|