When answering questions should we use the American variant of a word or the British variant, or both?

  • 12
    The answer is 'yes'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


On EL&U, we have historically had no preference—each author is free to use any dialect or variety of English that they wish to. If a question specifies a dialect, then the questioner would likely want an answer that is suitable for that dialect, but beyond that, much like Wikipedia, we have not found a need to set a site manual of style.

As ELL is open to all English learners, I see no reason why the same policy should not be adopted.

  • 2
    This sounds like the best practice. Ideally questions which have two answers (one for American English and one for British English) will get two answers posted, or one answer which notes both answers. This will allow learners to decide for themselves whether British English or American English is more relevant for their personal learning.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 5:03

No one variety is preferred, and most people don't know (well) the other varieties.So the answerer should answer with the variety they are most familiar. Others are welcome to add an answer with respect to their own variety.

If it is not obvious, some notice should be made that 'this answer is with respect to [the particular kind of] English'.

That is:

  • there is no preference between British or American (or any other) English, expect by likelihood (New Zealand English probably doesn't have the numbers).
  • both in one answer is difficult to know well, but all varieties are welcome
  • the answerer should be welcome to edits or comments to state the variety
  • 2
    This should be the case for all situations where there are differences 'tween the variants. ie 'this answer is with respect to US English' (or Canadian, Australian, South African etc)
    – mcalex
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 2:51

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