Wednesday, March 27, 2013

defence/defense: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If you are writing for a British publication, use “defence,” but the American “defense” has the advantages of greater antiquity, similarity to the words from which it was derived, and consistency with words like “defensible.”


  1. It's not just the Brits who vary. If you are writing for a Canadian publication, use "defence" but "defensive." Similarly, the Canadian Press Stylebook uses "practice" and "licence" as nouns and "practise" and "license" as verbs. Eh!

    1. True! When these entries categorize usage as American English vs. UK English, you can interpret "UK English" to mean most English usage outside the US. This includes, most significantly, Canada, Australia, and English as it is used in India.