American English V. Australian English

This entry was posted in Book writing,Editing,Fiction,Thesis,Writing on July 26th, 2012 by

American and Australian/British EnglishThough American and Australian English seem similar, there is a vast difference when it comes to the written language. It is difficult for people to keep up with Australian conventions while writing, given our constant exposure to American English in all fields, be it for students, authors or businesses.

Let’s look at some of the basic differences between the two and how we can avoid the usage of Americanism.


One of the basic difference between the two systems is their spellings. For example, American English uses ‘iza’, ‘ize’, ‘izi’ and ‘yze’, while Australian English uses ‘ise’, ise’, isi’ and ‘yse’. This means that while ‘materialize’ is American English, ‘materialise’ is Australian English. Similarly, ‘analyze’ is American, while ‘analyse’ is Australian/British English.

Another common spelling error occurs while using words with ‘ou’. American English replaces the ‘ou’ with an ‘o’, contrary to Australian English. Therefore, ‘color’ is American English, while ‘colour’ is Australian English.

Some of the basic spelling differences are listed below:

American English

Australian English

















Full stop/periods in abbreviations:

American English tends to use Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., etc while Australian English uses Mr, Ms, Mrs, Dr, etc, without any full stop at the end of the abbreviations.


American English use a double quotation mark (“) to begin and end their quotes, while it uses the single quotation mark (‘) only to quote inside the quote. It is the complete opposite in Australian English. It uses the single quotation mark (‘) to begin or end its quotes while only using the double quotation mark (“) to quote inside the quote.

For example,

American English: According to Smith, “Wibert was researching on the ‘Modern Women.'”

Australian English: According to Smith, ‘Wibert was researching on the “Modern Women”‘.

Punctuation quotations.

Also notice in the above examples that the punctuation at the ends of the sentence is different.

American English puts its punctuation (ie, full stop, comma, etc) inside the closing quotation mark. Conversely in Australian English the punctuation mark will usually come after the closing quotation mark, unless the quotation is also a complete sentence. Compare the following two examples. (Both use Australian English).

The salsola is a salt marsh plant. ‘It stores the salt in its leaves, so is a naturally seasoned plant.’
The salsola is a salt marsh plant. As salt is stored in its leaves, it is ‘naturally seasoned’.

Note that in the first example, the quotation mark and the end of the sentence are the same and therefore the punctuation comes inside the quotation mark. In all other instances, the punctuation  mark is placed outside the quotation mark, in Australian English.

Just by keeping these small things in mind, one can avoid usage of Americanism while writing in Australian English.

However, we recommend using professional editing service like Edit-A-Word as there is more to edit then just spelling and grammatical errors. Stylistic error checks and ensuring consistency are a part of our services.


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