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Color Or Colour: Which One Is The Right Spelling

by Shahnawaz Alam
The only difference between color or colour lies only in the regional preferences of the words. Both words are grammatically correct. Either one is not a spelling mistake. You can use the word with a “u” letter included after “o” or you can omit it. 

Is it color or colour? While you were texting your friend about the new yellow pastel-coloured shirt, you bought and suddenly bumped into this confusion while typing. Now, you are wondering which one is correct when writing. 

There is a slight difference between the spelling of these two words. But none of them is wrong and can be used while writing. Here is a full breakdown of these two versions of the same word.

Color or Colour: History

Color or Colour: History

The word color or colour is used to denote the hue or pigmentation of any object. When writing this word, you can use both of the spellings. However, you must remember the type of English audience you are writing for as there are regional preferences for different spellings. These preferences have led to different spellings for the same words.

For example, this difference is evident between British and American English. In American English, the word is spelled as “color” while in British English, the same word is spelled as “colour.”

The use of the spelling “color” has been evident in American English for some centuries now. There were some other spellings of the same words. For instance – Color, culoure, and coolor. The Americans started to stick to the spelling “color” in the middle of the 19th century. The British spelling for the. 

Color or Colour: The Difference

Color or Colour: The Difference

Their regional differences set the duality of English words and their spelling. There are several words for which you will see different spellings in American and British English. Some examples of these are – travelling or traveling, honor or honour, rumour or rumor, favorite or favourite. Apart from America, all the other English -speaking countries use the spelling used in British English.

If we go through the etymology of the word “color”, then its Latin roots become visible. The Latin “Color” entered the Middle English Language through the Anglo-Norman word “colur.” It was a version of the Old French word “colour.” 

But the current differences in “color or colour” are visible credited to or blamed on the famous American Lexicographer named Noah Webster. In his book A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, Webster had reformed some changes in a few English words to promote American identity in the English language. This was also a means to manifest American independence through the English language. 

The primary reasons for these variations are the differences between American English and British English. Noah webster wanted too many other words, but a number of them failed. He proposed to change words like “soup” to “soop”; “near” to “neer”; “tongue” to “tung,” and “women to wimmin.” But, those words remained unchanged even in American English.

Webster is also responsible for the change of English words that ended with “re” to “er.” He reversed the words like “centre in centre.” Some words that end with “s” in British English are changed with “z.” For example, the word “realise” in American English is spelled like “realize” in American English.  

Color Or Colour: Examples

Color Or Colour: Examples

Is it colour or color? I think the answers are now visible to you. First, however, here are some examples using both versions of the words.

Both spellings are usable in different derivatives of the word. For example, you can use “color” if you write in American English. You can also use it like “colour” if you write in British English. Here are some derivatives of the word in both American and British English. 

American English Colored, coloring, colorful, colorer, and discolor.
British EnglishColoured, colourer, colouring, colourful, discolour. 

colour or color? Here are some examples for more clarity –

American English –

  • The color of your hair was blue back then. 
  • She colored the wall in a matte yellow finish. 
  • There is no color in your world; I cannot live there. 
  • The next James bond actor is going to be a man of color. 
  • What is the color of the flag of the US?

British English –

  • The colour of your hair was blue back then. 
  • She has coloured the wall in a matte yellow finish. 
  • There is no colour in your world; I cannot live there. 
  • The next James bond actor is going to be a man of colour. 
  • What is the colour of the flag of the US?

For further reassurance, you can see the spelling of the same word in American and British English newspapers. For example, you will see the use of the spelling “color” in “The New York Times, Business Insider. The use of the spelling “colour” is visible in the CBC, The Telegraph, etc. 

Synonyms of Color/Colour

Now that you know when to color and colour, you should also check out their synonyms. Learning the synonyms of color/colour will enhance the quality of your writing and help you to create a more vivid image in your reader’s mind. Here are some synonyms of color/colour and some example sentences: 

Hue

  • The planet’s red hue is caused by an abundance of iron oxide (rust).
  • The diamond shone with every hue under the sun.
  • The interior designer decided to paint the walls in a soothing hue of sky blue.
  • The sunrise painted the sky with vibrant hues of orange and pink.

Pigmentation

  • Acne scars can cause dark pigmentation on the skin.
  • The hippo has a condition that means it has less pigmentation in the skin.
  • Makeup artists praise the brand for its intense pigmentation and professional innovative formulas.
  • The light pigmentation is due to a lack of melanin, which normally colors the hair, skin, and eyes.

Shade

  • In the mornings the sky appeared a heavy shade of mottled gray.
  • Use a shade of white for the background to brighten up a narrow hallway.
  • My wife is fond of a particular shade of electric blue and would like you to wear such a dress indoors in the morning.
  • His eyes had changed color to a deep violet-blue, a beautiful shade of tanzanite.

Tint

  • Your hair has a slight tint of red.
  • I am fitting my car with very dark tinted windows.
  • The colour of the normal sapphire varies from the palest blue to deep indigo, the most esteemed tint being that of the blue cornflower.
  • The flowers are usually of a purplish colour, but are sometimes white, and the seeds, like the petals, vary in tint from dark violet to white.

Tinge

  • The yellow tinge of Eli’s skin suggests he may have jaundice.
  • Sam had a tinge of lipstick on his lips after kissing his wife.
  • The petals have a lovely pink tinge around the edges.
  • Some teeth have a yellowish tinge, some are more beige – very few are actually ‘white.’

Color or Colour: Which One Should You Use?

Color or Colour: Which One Should You Use?

Yes, regional differences make the same word spell differently in different places. But if you want to choose the right spelling, you should use the spelling prevalent in your country. If you are from the US, you have to use the spelling “color.”

People from the commonwealth countries can use the spelling prevalent in British English – “colour.” People to whom English is a second or third language can use whichever spelling was taught to them. 

Another correct way to use the spelling is to use it according to the audience you are writing for. For example, if you are writing for an American audience, you can stick with the American spelling for words with double spellings. You can choose to use the British spelling if it is meant for the British audience. 

Final Words

color or colour, whichever spelling you are using is correct. However, when using either of the spellings, you need to make sure that you are using it according to the audience you are writing for. Also, you can stick with your country’s spelling prevalence. 

I think you have found the answer to your queries. You can ask us in the comment if there are any further queries.

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