Color Or Colour – British vs. American English

23.10.23 British English vs. American English Time to read: 4min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


Colour-or-Color-01
In academic writing, it is important to use the same style throughout. Whether it is a research paper, an essay, or a dissertation, it is crucial to maintain professional and clear academic communication. Students frequently have a hard time telling the difference between British English vs. American English, especially when it comes to whether the word “color” or “colour” is correct. In this article, you will discover the difference between these two words.

“Color” or “colour”

In the English language, “color” and “colour” both function as nouns, referring to the shade or hue of something, and verbs, referring to the act of changing the shade or hue of something. The verb is also employed figuratively to denote the act of enhancing or expressing something.

Color or Colour UK flag

British English

colour

Color or Colour US flag

American English

color

As you can see above, there are two ways to correctly write the term, which differ by only one letter. The use depends on the type of English you are referring to. In this situation, it is essential to maintain consistency in your choice of English. Both spellings are considered correct, but “colour” is the predominant choice in the UK, while “color” is the commonly preferred spelling in the US.

Examples of using “color” and “colour”

The following examples will shed light on the different spellings of “color/colour” used in sentences in British English vs. American English.

Colour Examples UK flag
  • The colour of her dress was a beautiful shade of blue.
  • The artist mixed blue and red to create the colour purple.
  • Her actions during the crisis revealed her true colours.
Color Examples US flag
  • The color of her dress was a beautiful shade of blue.
  • The artist mixed blue and red to create the color purple.
  • Her actions during the crisis revealed her true colors.

“Color” or “colour” as a verb

The verb form “to color/colour” refers to the action of adding pigments or hues to something to change its appearance or make it more colorful. It’s used when you want to describe the act of applying “color/colour”. Here’s how you can use it in sentences:

  • She decided to colour the walls in a bright, cheerful shade of green.
  • The artist carefully coloured the flowers in the painting.
  • Anna will colour the picture with bright markers.
Colour-verb-UK flag
  • She decided to color the walls in a bright, cheerful shade of green.
  • The artist carefully colored the flowers in the painting.
  • Anna will color the picture with bright markers.
Color-verb-US flag

“Color” or “colour” as a noun

The choice between “color” and “colour” as a noun should align with the conventions of the variety of English you are using or the preferences of your intended audience.

Colour-noun-UK-flag
  • The colour of her eyes was a striking shade of emerald green.
  • The artist used a wide palette of colours to create the painting.
  • The living room was painted in warm, earthy colours.
Color-noun-US-flag
  • The color of her eyes was a striking shade of emerald green.
  • The artist used a wide palette of colors to create the painting.
  • The living room was painted in warm, earthy colors.

“Color” or “colour” in the “-ing” form

When used to indicate an ongoing action, both terms “colouring” and “coloring” in the “-ing” form function as present participles. In these sentences, “coloring/colouring” functions as a present participle, indicating that the process of coloring is happening at the described time.

  • She is colouring a picture.
  • As I walked by, I saw him colouring a detailed mandala design.
  • The children were happily colouring pictures of animals.
Colour-ing UK flag
  • She is coloring a picture.
  • As I walked by, I saw him coloring a detailed mandala design.
  • The children were happily coloring pictures of animals.
Color-ing US flag

FAQs

The pronunciation and meaning of “color” and “colour” are the same; they simply reflect the spelling references in their respective regions.

  • Color” is the standard American English spelling
  • Colour” is the standard British English spelling

It depends on whom you are addressing. In American English, “color” is written without an “u”. However, in British English, “colour” is written with an additional “u” after the second “o”.

It’s generally best to use the spelling that aligns with the variety of English you are using or the expectations of your audience. Mixing American and British spellings within the same piece of writing can appear inconsistent and may be distracting. To maintain clarity and consistency, it’s advisable to stick with one spelling throughout your communication.

Print your dissertation at BachelorPrint!
For students in Ireland, our printing services have got you covered. Avail of high quality for printing and binding your dissertation, starting from just 7,90 €. That’s not all! On top, take advantage of our FREE express delivery and receive your order in no time.