Article »

Catalog vs. Catalogue

This Grammar.com article is about Catalog vs. Catalogue — enjoy your reading!

As you read English, you will notice that some words can be spelled multiple ways. Catalogue, for instance, is sometimes spelled without the -ue, forming catalog instead. This -ue ending derives from Greek suffixing conventions. Since English borrows many words from Greek and other languages, it’s not surprising that this suffix made its way into modern English, as well. But as English evolves, so do spelling conventions, and in some parts of the world it is common to end such words at the G. You should read this article to find out exactly which parts those are.

In this article, I will compare catalog vs. catalogue. I will provide example sentences for each spelling to illustrate when it’s appropriate to use one over the other. I will also discuss a useful memory tool to help you decide whether to use catalog or catalogue when you write.

Origin:

The word catalogue originated from late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin catalogus, from Greek katalogos, from katalegein ‘pick out or enrol’.

Catalogue as noun:

The word catalogue is used as a noun in English language where it means a complete list of items, typically one in alphabetical or other systematic order, in particular. A list of all the books or resources in a library is a catalogue.

A computerized library catalogue.

Catalogue is also a list of works of art in an exhibition or collection, with detailed comments and explanations.

This collection of paintings is the subject of a detailed catalogue.

Catalogue as verb:

The word catalogue is also used as a verb which means to make a systematic list of (items of the same type).

It will be some time before the collection is fully catalogued.

To enter (an item) in a catalogue is also termed as catalogue.

The picture was withdrawn before being catalogued.

Use of catalogue:

Catalogue is the standard spelling of the same word in British English. It is also a noun and a verb, and can be used in all of the same contexts as catalog.

Example:

The new boss of Argos, John Rogers, is planning a remarkable nationwide tour in an attempt to boost staff morale and improve customer service at the catalogue retailer after it was bought by Sainsbury’s. Rogers will visit eight shops a day for five days in the run-up to Christmas. –The Guardian

Use of catalog:

Only in the late 19th century, with the movement in the U.S. to develop a uniquely American form of the language, did catalog begin to make a comeback. It was not one of the original American spellings, though; the word is listed as catalogue in all early editions of Noah Webster’s dictionary, which played a large role in conventionalizing many other uniquely American spellings. By the 1890s, however, instances of catalog are easily found in all sorts of American texts.

Examples:

The company will continue to produce print versions of its other seasonal catalogs. [Wall Street Journal]

The catalog is filled with hand-drawn illustrations (shown above), color photographs and articles from the 1800s. [Los Angeles Times]

Until the mid-20th century, the world’s greatest artworks were cataloged in shoeboxes. [New York Times]

These brightly painted sculptures cataloging styles of Southern houses are accompanied by short texts, or “legends,” as the artist called them, that document their histories and the lives of their inhabitants. [The New York Times]

Catalog or catalogue:

Catalog and catalogue are two spelling variants of the same word, which as a noun means a list of items, and as a verb means to make such a list. Catalog is preferred in American English. Catalogue is the British spelling. Since catalogue and United Kingdom are each spelled with a U, you can use that letter as a mnemonic device to help you remember which version is which. There will always be confusing words in English, and no writer can hope to memorize all of them. When you need help with writing, be sure to check this site for practical explanations that are easy to understand.

 

 

Have a discussion about this article with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"Catalog vs. Catalogue." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 25 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/catalog_vs._catalogue>.

Free Writing Tool:

Instant
Grammar Checker

Improve your grammar, vocabulary, and writing -- and it's FREE!


Improve your writing now:

Download Grammar eBooks

It’s now more important than ever to develop a powerful writing style. After all, most communication takes place in reports, emails, and instant messages.