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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Is it colour or color?

The spelling of the word colour in Australia contains the letter 'u'. The spelling without the letter 'u' is the American spelling. However, sometimes for some people this isn't clear.

One time when I asked a person why they spelt the word colour without the 'u' they said, "that's how I've always spelt it". It turned out they had an American teacher at school.

In the Fifth Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary the spellings colour and color were considered equal. In the Six Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary the spelling colour is now the primary spelling and the spelling color is listed as an 'Also' spelling, meaning it is a secondary less used spelling. If the Macquarie Dictionary can change its stance on the spelling of the word colour, it makes sense this is not as simple as people would think and why many people would be confused.

A check using Google of sites ending in .au, returns 7.23 million for colour and 7.5 million for color. A search using Bing, limiting results to the Australian region, returns 8.62 million for colour and 3.74 million for color. In the case of Google, one could easily feel we're seeing a change to color, but if you use Bing, the spelling is clearly in favour of colour. It really just depends on the data you're using to base your decisions. One extra point to keep in mind, is often in Australia the spelling color is used in brand names and that could potentially increase the returned values for usage, but brand name spelling is not necessarily correct spelling.

For the Macquarie Dictionary to reduce the spelling color from an equal to a secondary spelling, shows the Macquarie Dictionary team have put effort into reviewing the spelling variations and this should indicate the spelling colour is the primary spelling in Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge

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