Canadian vs American Spelling

Recently, a few members of my writing group and I had a conversation about choosing between using American or Canadian spelling. As Canadians, we use British spelling. As Canadian writers, we often submit to American markets. I always use Canadian spelling in my writing, both academic and creative. Stephanie always uses American spelling, as she was taught during her journalism program. She also argues that if an American market chooses to publish our writing, it’ll be edited into American English anyways. This is true, but I still can’t bring myself to do it.

How do you choose which to use? As a proud Canadian and a stickler for proper spelling and grammar, I will probably always use British/Canadian spelling. Reading something that I know was written by a Canadian and finding American spelling makes my inner editor cringe a little. I know it’s still technically correct, which is why it’s just a little cringe.

Anyone have any thoughts on the topic?

S. :)

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3 Responses to Canadian vs American Spelling

  1. One just has to remember that American spelling was brought forth by the author of Webster’s dictionary. He insisted, to differentiate Americans from British, on a different spelling. This is also akin to the fact that only Americans today still use the Imperial system in instead of metric, unlike 90-some % of the world. As far as I know, if they want to spell things differently than the rest of the English speaking world, that’s their problem, not ours.

    • Sylvie says:

      The thing is that, as authors trying to get published, we need to decide which set of rules to use when submitting to various markets. The popular opinion seems to be that you should use the spelling conventions of the market to which you are submitting. American market = American spelling. This makes perfect sense to me, and if I were submitting to American markets in hopes of being published, I would use American spelling. It’s just that my preference is definitely Canadian spelling, and it’s what I use instinctively.

      When I’m writing, I’m not thinking about what I’m going to be doing with the piece afterwards. That’s an invitation for writer’s block. I’ve never finished a novel yet, so I’ve never made it to the revision stage. However, whenever I do, depending on what I plan on doing with the manuscript after, I will edit with that in mind.

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