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Published by at March 14th, 2024 , Revised On March 22, 2024

Behaviour Vs Behavior – Differences & Examples

The English language, despite its global reach, has several variations around the world. These variations, primarily in spelling and vocabulary, can sometimes cause confusion, even for native speakers. One such point of confusion arises with the words “behaviour” and “behavior.” 

Here is a small summary of the difference between behaviour vs behavior. 

United States, Canada (except some regions), PhilippinesUK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, some parts of Canada

Let’s explore these differences in detail. 

Behaviour Vs Behavior – Differences

While both “behaviour” and “behavior” refer to the way someone or something acts, there’s a slight spelling variation that sets them apart. Here’s the lowdown:


This spelling is predominantly used in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and some parts of Canada. It follows the British English convention, where the addition of a “u” after the “v” is common in various words like “favour,” “flavour,” and “labour.”


This spelling is the standard in American English and is widely used in the United States, Canada (except for some regions), and the Philippines. It adheres to the simplified spelling system adopted in American English, removing unnecessary letters in certain instances. For example, “favorite”. 

So, the difference boils down to a matter of regional preference and adherence to specific spelling conventions within each dialect of English.

Behavioral Vs Behavioural 

  • The study focused on analysing the behavioral patterns of children with autism.
  • The research project investigated the behavioural responses of rats to different stimuli in a controlled environment.

Use Of Behaviour Vs Behavior

While how they are spelled is the primary distinction, there might be instances in how these terms are used in specific contexts. However, it is important to remember that these are not always strictly followed, and there’s often an overlap in usage.

Here’s a glimpse into some potential, but not always definitive, differences:

  • “Behaviour” might have a slightly more formal connotation compared to “behavior” in some circles, particularly in academic writing or formal communication.
  • “Behavior” might be more commonly used in everyday speech in both American and Australian English.

Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that these are just potential tendencies, and both terms are generally understood and accepted in both dialects.

Differences In Australia

As an Aussie, you are perfectly fine using either “behaviour” or “behavior.” Both are widely understood and accepted. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and whether you want to stick to the traditional British English spelling or align with the American English convention.

Here are some additional points to keep in mind:

  • If you’re writing for an international audience, it might be safer to opt for “behavior” as it’s the more widely recognised spelling globally.
  • If you’re unsure, consulting a style guide or dictionary can help you determine the preferred spelling for your specific context.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to realise that consistency and clarity in your writing and communication are essential.

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Behaviour Vs Behavior Examples

Now, let’s put this knowledge into practice with some examples, using both “behaviour” and “behavior” in different contexts:

Australian English (Behaviour)American English (Behavior)
She exhibited disruptive behaviour in class.She exhibited disruptive behavior in class.
His behaviour at the party was inappropriate.His behavior at the party was inappropriate.
The company has a strict policy on employee behaviour.The company has a strict policy on employee behavior.
The child’s aggressive behaviour concerned the teacher.The child’s aggressive behavior concerned the teacher.
The dog’s behaviour changed after training.The dog’s behavior changed after training.
His behaviour towards his colleagues was rude.His behavior towards his colleagues was rude.
The cat’s behaviour was unpredictable.The cat’s behavior was unpredictable.
Good behaviour is rewarded in this school.Good behavior is rewarded in this school.
His behaviour reflects his upbringing.His behavior reflects his upbringing.
The software monitors user behavior.The software monitors user behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

“Behavior” and “behaviour” are variants of the same word, differing in spelling based on regional preferences (American English vs. British English). They both refer to actions or conduct. “Behavior” is used in American English, while “behaviour” is the preferred spelling in British English.

In the UK, the correct spelling is “behaviour.” This follows British English conventions, which often use “-our” endings (e.g., “colour,” “flavour”). “Behaviour” refers to actions or conduct. However, in American English, the equivalent word is spelled “behavior,” dropping the “u” in “-our” endings.

“Behavior” refers to actions or conduct exhibited by individuals or entities. “Behave” is a verb indicating the manner in which someone conducts themselves. While “behavior” is a noun, “behave” is the corresponding action verb, describing how someone acts or conducts themselves in a given situation.