Favourite Or Favorite – British vs. American English

18.12.23 British English vs. American English Time to read: 5min

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Consistency is a crucial aspect of achieving coherence and clarity in academic writing. Nonetheless, students often find it challenging to distinguish between British English vs. American English, leading to confusion with the correct spelling of certain words, such as “favourite” or “favorite.” Continue reading to discover the subtle differences between these two English variants.

“Favourite” or “favorite”

“Favourite/favorite” is an adjective as well as a noun used to describe something or someone that is preferred or liked more than others. It can refer to a person’s most preferred choice or the most liked among a set of options. As an adjective, it modifies nouns by indicating a higher level of preference or liking. As a noun, “favourite/favorite” refers to a person or thing that is preferred or liked more than others. It is often used to denote something that is particularly favored or held in high esteem by an individual. This can apply to a wide range of subjects, such as a favorite book, favorite food, favorite movie, or even a favorite person, like a friend or family member. The term indicates a special status among a group of options or individuals due to personal preference, affection, or enjoyment.

British English

favourite

American English

favorite

As you can see above, both spellings are widely accepted in their respective regions, and there’s no strict rule against using either form. It’s essential to be consistent within the chosen variant. In contexts where you need to follow a specific style guide, like in academic writing, you may adhere to the guidelines provided.

Note: The spelling “favourite” with a “u” in British English reflects historical developments in the English language. The addition of the “u” in words like “favourite” aligns with the influence of French spelling conventions. While the letter “u” in these words does not always affect pronunciation, it has become a distinctive feature of British English spelling.

Examples of using “favourite” and “favorite” as an adjective

The following examples will illustrate the difference in the spelling of the adjective “favourite/favorite” in British and American English.

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  • Her favourite book is ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
  • Italian cuisine is my favourite type of food, especially pasta dishes.
  • Friday is my favourite day of the week.
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  • Her favorite book is ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
  • Italian cuisine is my favorite type of food, especially pasta dishes.
  • Friday is my favorite day of the week.

Examples of using “favourite” and “favorite” as a noun

The following examples will illustrate the difference in the spelling of the noun “favourite/favorite” in British and American English.

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  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 is my favourite among his compositions.
  • She received a puppy, which quickly became her favourite.
  • Everyone is betting on the fastest horse as their favourite to win.
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  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 is my favorite among his compositions.
  • She received a puppy, which quickly became her favorite.
  • Everyone is betting on the fastest horse as their favorite to win.

“Favour” or “favor”

One form that is closely related to “favourite/favorite” is the word “favour” or “favor”. The additional “u” can also be applied for this instance. The same goes for other words that are like “favourite/favorite”, namely “favouritism/favoritism” and “favourable/favorable”. “Favour/favor” is a noun that means an act of kindness or a preference for something or someone. As a verb, it means to show kindness or preference. Here is how it is spelled in each English variant.

  • British English: Favour
  • American English: Favor
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  • Could you do me a favour and pick up some groceries? (Noun)
  • She decided to favour the new design for the company logo. (Verb)
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  • Could you do me a favor and pick up some groceries? (Noun)
  • She decided to favor the new design for the company logo. (Verb)

“Favouritism” or “favoritism”

“Favouritism/favoritism” refers to the practice of giving preferential treatment or showing bias toward a particular person, group, or thing over others, often based on personal preferences, relationships, or subjective reasons. It involves showing favor or partiality without considering objective criteria or merit. Which form is used, in which English variant, will be listed below.

  • British English: Favouritism
  • American English: Favoritism
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  • The teacher was accused of favouritism by parents.
  • Favouritism can lead to resentment among employees.
  • The coach’s favouritism affected the team’s unity.
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  • The teacher was accused of favoritism by parents.
  • Favoritism can lead to resentment among employees.
  • The coach’s favoritism affected the team’s unity.

“Favourable” or “favorable”

“Favourable/favorable” are spelling variations used in British English and American English, respectively. Both terms are adjectives and share the same meaning, which means they can be used interchangeably. The term means conducive to success, positive, or advantageous.

  • British English: Favourable
  • American English: Favorable
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  • The team considered the favourable conditions before the launch.
  • Her decision to wait for more favourable was wise.
  • The project’s success was influenced by the favourable climate.
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  • The team considered the favorable conditions before the launch.
  • Her decision to wait for more favorable was wise.
  • The project’s success was influenced by the favorable climate.

FAQs

Both “favourite” (British English spelling) and “favorite” (American English spelling) are correct, and the choice between them depends on the English variant you are using.

In Canada, which follows Canadian English, both spellings “favourite” and “favorite” are generally accepted. However, Canadian English tends to align more closely with British English in terms of spelling conventions. Therefore, “favourite” is often the more commonly used spelling in Canada.

While “most favourite” is commonly used in everyday language, it is technically considered redundant from a strictly grammatical standpoint. Both “most” and “favourite” imply a superlative sense, indicating the highest degree of preference or liking. Therefore, saying “most favourite” is redundant because “favourite” already implies the superlative.

“Fave” and “favorite” essentially convey the same meaning, but “fave” is an informal or colloquial abbreviation of “favorite.” The difference lies in formality and usage.

  • Favorite: Standard and formal spelling used in proper English, suitable for all contexts, including formal writing and speech.
  • Fave: Informal, abbreviated form, often used in casual conversations, social media, or informal writing. It is more commonly seen in modern online communication.
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