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Published by at March 15th, 2024 , Revised On March 26, 2024

Favourite Vs. Favorite: Differences & Examples

In the vast ocean of the English language, countless words and phrases navigate the tides of regional variations and historical influences. Among these linguistic companions are “favourite” and “favorite,” two seemingly identical terms that spark curiosity about their small differences. 

USUK & Australia
MeaningPreferred or most likedPreferred or most liked
ExamplesMy favorite colour is blue.My favourite colour is blue.
Pizza is my favorite food.Pizza is my favourite food.
She’s my favorite author.She’s my favourite author.

Origins & Evolution

To understand the disparity between “favourite” and “favorite,” it’s helpful to trace their origins. Both words stem from the Latin word “favoritus,” meaning “regarded with favor.”

In the early stages of the English language, before standardisation, spellings varied widely, and words were often phonetically spelled. Over time, spelling conventions began to solidify, leading to the emergence of distinct forms in different regions.

In British English, “favourite” became the accepted spelling, influenced by the French word “favori.” The addition of the letter “u” in “favourite” aligns with British spelling conventions, which often include extra vowels compared to American English. E.g. humour

Conversely, in American English, the spelling “favorite” prevailed, reflecting simplified spellings championed by lexicographer Noah Webster during the 19th century.

The Differences In Favourites Vs. Favorites

The primary distinction between “favourite” and “favorite” lies in their preferred usage within specific dialects of English.

In American English, the preferred spelling is “favorite”. This streamlined version reflects the broader trend in American spelling conventions, which often favor simpler forms by omitting silent letters.

Examples Of Favorite

  • To Kill a Mockingbird is widely regarded as a classic American favorite.
  • Her favorite dessert is a decadent slice of New York cheesecake.
  • Hawaii is a popular favorite among tourists seeking sun, sand, and relaxation.

On the other hand, “favourite” reigns supreme in British English, along with other English dialects influenced by British conventions. This spelling retains the “u” present in the word’s French and Italian ancestors, reflecting the historical ties between these languages and shaping the way British English evolved.

Examples Of Favourite

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is my all-time favourite book.
  • Grey has always been her favourite colour since childhood.
  • The quaint café on the corner is his favourite spot to unwind.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • American English: favorite
  • British & Australian English: favourite (and other dialects influenced by British conventions)

Other Considerations

While the preferred spellings differ based on geographical location and dialect, both “favourite” and “favorite” mean exactly the same thing: something well-liked or preferred above others.

This interchangeability allows for smooth communication and comprehension across different regions, despite the slight variations in spelling.

However, understanding the preferred spelling conventions in different contexts can enhance your writing and communication:

  • Formal writing: If you are unsure about the audience’s location or preferred dialect, it’s generally safer to choose the neutral option, which aligns with your intended audience’s style guide.
  • Informal writing: When writing for a specific audience, like a blog post targeting a specific region, using the appropriate spelling convention demonstrates cultural sensitivity and attention to detail.

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Examples Of Favourite Vs Favorite 

Favorite Favourite
To Kill a Mockingbird is a beloved favorite among American readers. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone remains a cherished favourite for British bookworms.
Blue is his favorite colour, reminiscent of the clear skies on a sunny day. She adores the rich hues of green, her favourite colour since childhood.
Pizza is a popular favorite among Americans of all ages. Afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream is a quintessential favourite in British culinary tradition.
The Shawshank Redemption consistently ranks as a top favorite in American cinema. British audiences often cite The Sound of Music as a timeless favourite film.
Hawaii is a perennial favorite destination for American tourists seeking tropical paradise. Cornwall, with its picturesque coastline and charming villages, is a favourite holiday spot for British holidaymakers.
The New England Patriots are a favorite team among American football fans. Manchester United has long been a favourite football club for British supporters worldwide.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen is a classic favorite that transcends generations. “Wonderwall” by Oasis remains a nostalgic favourite for British music enthusiasts.
Friends continues to be a favorite sitcom among American audiences, even years after its conclusion. Downton Abbey captivated British viewers with its portrayal of aristocratic life and social change, becoming a national favourite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both “favourite” and “favorite” are correct spellings, depending on the variant of English being used. “Favourite” is preferred in British English, while “favorite” is the standard spelling in American English. Both words convey the same meaning of something or someone preferred or held in high regard.

In Canada, both “favourite” (following British spelling conventions) and “favorite” (in line with the American spelling) are widely understood and accepted. While Canadian English tends to align more closely with British English, both spellings are commonly used, reflecting the country’s diverse linguistic influences from both British and American English.

In the United Kingdom, the correct spelling is “favourite,” following British English conventions. The inclusion of the letter “u” distinguishes it from the American English spelling “favorite.” “Favourite” is the standard spelling used in publications, formal writing, and everyday communication throughout the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

“Most favourite” is not technically grammatically correct. The term “favourite” implies singularity, representing the most preferred or favoured option. Therefore, adding “most” before “favourite” is redundant. Instead, you could simply say “favorite” to convey the superlative form without repetition or confusion.

Countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India typically use the spelling “favourite,” aligning with British English conventions. However, in the United States and some other English-speaking countries, the spelling “favorite” is preferred, following American English standards.