UNRESOLVED ESL ISSUE No.1: American or British English Spellings?


(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2bJO6oN)

In this series of posts I’d like to raise a few ESL issues with you ESL teachers to find out your preference or your opinion.

Today the issue is should students be learning American or British English in terms of how certain words are spelled?


Flavour vs flavor

Colour vs color

Travelled vs traveled

…and so on. I have many students ask me – which should I use, and in particular in the IELTS exam, as the last thing they want is to lose marks because of this confusion.

So tell me, what would you say to your students if they ask this question?

Should I spell in American or British English?


2 thoughts on “UNRESOLVED ESL ISSUE No.1: American or British English Spellings?

  1. It really depends! Here in France they learn British English at school so I tell them to go for that spelling at school but when I was in Mexico teaching English the students there learnt American English.

    And it mostly applies if they have to take a test. I speak more American English but in the Cambridge examination I had to adapt a little to British English.

    • Okay so you would recommend that they need to think about which test they are doing and follow that one – if it’s IELTS – stick with the British spelling, if it’s TOEFL – go with the American.

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