Favorite Vs. Favourite Spelling: What’s the Difference?

Favorite or Favourite spelling varies according to location. Some terms spell differently between American and British writers, even though they imply the same thing. 

It’s common for these spelling discrepancies to be caused by a lack of editorial uniformity. These norms can and do change as languages progress.

Every time you read something in the US or the UK, you’ll notice the different spellings used. For example, the word “favorite” could appear in an article in The Wall Street Journal or The Economist.

There are numerous instances when British and American spellings diverge. British English has a tendency to retain the spelling of terms it has borrowed from other languages (such as French). American English has changed its spelling to reflect how the words actually sound when they are pronounced.

When writing for British audiences, only British spellings should be used. In a couple of instances, the popular American spellings are also acceptable in British English, particularly the -ize/-ization ends.

However, choosing between these two options when you use the word is up to you as an author. In general, neither is wrong, but there are some cases where favorite is better than favorite. In this case, as in so many others, it boils down to whom you’re writing for.

So, what’s the proper way to write “favourite”? Let’s find out what’s going on.

 in the English language,
 Favorite vs Favourite: What’s the Difference?

The Origin: Favorite and Favourite

Like many other terms in the English language, “favorite” and “favorite” have a long and exciting history. 

While “honor” is spelled with an ending that includes the letter “-or,” the word is spelled “honour” in British English. Several other examples of the words exist such as flavor, color, rumor, etc., all of which are spelled in the same way. 

Britain had no agreement on how to spell words ending in ‘-or’ or ‘-our’ for a long time. According to Samuel Johnson’s famous 1755 lexicon, the British lexicographer preferred the -our forms of terms. 

Similarly, an American lexicographer, Noah Webster, attempted to make the English language spoken in the United States more ‘Americanized.’ 

His 1828 dictionary stated that the disputed words should be spelled with the -or ending. To this day, Webster continues to be credited with having a significant impact on American English usage.

Favorite Vs Favourite Spelling- How to Spell

The United States and the United Kingdom are sometimes described as two countries divided by a shared language. 

English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, a distinction is frequently made between American English and British English. 

In general, the distinctions between the two kinds of English are modest, but they do exist, particularly in spelling.

Depending on whether you employ American or British spelling standards, both favorite and favourite are acceptable spellings. 

In American English, the term favorite is preferred, but in British English, the term favourite is preferred. Sometimes, either favourite or favorite can be used; the exact form depends on the style manual you use.

Pronunciation of Favourite and Favorite

It’s easy to decide between favorite and favorite:

  • Just think about who you’re writing for.
  • Choose favorite if you are an American reader.
  • If you’re British, choose favourite.

Both “favorite” and “favourite” are correct spellings, have the same meaning, and are pronounced identically (FAY-vuh-rit or FAY-vit).

Trick to Remember: Since the word “favourite” has an extra “U,” like “United Kingdom,” you can easily recall how to differentiate them now.

How to Use the Word “Favorite” in a Sentence

Favourite As an Adjective

As an adjective, favourite describes a noun chosen by a person or entity over other nouns of its sort.

For example, Black is Daniel’s favorite colour.

Favourite As a Noun

Favorite, as a noun, refers to a person or item that is well-liked and desired over the rest of its sort.

For example, My favorite instructor is Mr. Godwin.

Favorite as a noun sometimes refers to the most likely winner of a game or competition on whom people place wagers.

For example, The Junaid team from the Bahamas is the clear favorite.

Favourite As a Verb

Favorites list the websites that the user visits or bookmarks most frequently. As a verb, “favorite” means to mark the address of a website or other digital data to get faster access in the future.

For example, I’ve favorited Facebook because I use it frequently.

To Wrap Up

As we have seen, favourite spelling differs from favorite in both the spelling and pronunciation of the word. However, the terms mean the same thing. Always remember, favourite spelling is just a matter of preference.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

How to Improve Your Spelling As an Adult

Both native speakers and language learners find English spelling tough to master. Because English is a language that absorbs new…

June 13, 2022

How to Spell Yesterday — a Quick Spelling Guide

There are times when English can seem confusing. Many of the words in English are freely borrowed from other languages.…

June 13, 2022

Can’t Spell Review? Read This Right Away!

There are times when English spelling can appear confusing. English borrows many of its words from other languages. This Germanic…

June 13, 2022

How to Spell None — a Quick Spelling Guide

Sometimes, English spelling can seem perplexing. Many of the words in English originated in other languages. Germanic language English consists…

June 13, 2022

Having Some Issues? Correct Spelling of Issue!

English may seem confusing at times. Many of the words in English were freely borrowed from other languages. Languages such…

June 13, 2022

The Correct Way of Spelling Decide!

English spelling can sometimes seem confusing. English borrows many of its words from other languages. English, a Germanic language, consists…

June 13, 2022