Words with Two Spellings

I am getting ready to go to see a musical tonight, the first of my much-anticipated season tickets to the Performance Series at the Washington Pavilion.  (That would be the place in town to see touring professional performances.)  I am still trying to decide if a subscription for one counts as season tickets or if it is simple a season ticket.  I got six tickets, but only one for each show…

Because I am going to see a show, I started thinking about the word theater.  This has two accepted spellings: theater and theatre.  One is more common in American English, but both are acceptable and your spell check usually won’t insist on one of them.

There are  other words I thought of with two possible spellings.  Specifically, I’m thinking of words that give relatively equal preference to both options; when there’s a clear regional or formal use preference (like color and colour), it’s usually best to stick with the more common or more formal one.

I thought of the following word choices:

Theater and Theatre

Gray and Grey (I personally prefer the E version.)

Dialog and Dialogue

Doughnut and Donut

Catsup and Ketchup (those are WAY different)

Can you think of any others with (nearly) equally preferred variations?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 18:56:17

    Till and ‘Til
    Round and ‘Round
    These are tricky because they’re both abbreviation words (for “until” and “around”), so the apostrophe in place of the missing letter(s) makes sense, yet it’s not considered wrong to go with the alternate spelling.


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