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Center vs. Centre

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Both "center" and "centre" refer to the same thing. As nouns, they signify the "middle" part or point of an area. As verbs, they refer to the action of placing something into the middle of something else.

So why are they spelled differently, what is the difference between them and in which situation you should use each, in order to be considered linguistically elegant? Let's see what English grammar experts have to say about this!

Center vs. Centre

There is no difference between these two words; both forms are officially accepted, according to several notorious publications and dictionaries, including "Cambridge Learner's Dictionary". The only essential aspect that makes a difference between these two forms is represented by the region where they are generally used. "Centre" is preferred in UK while "center" is the commonly used US version.

When do we use "center"?

When we are in the US. American English speakers definitely prefer to spell the word like this for an easier pronunciation. If you are writing an official message towards an American person/company, then definitely choose "center".

When do we use "centre"?

Surely if you are not going to prefer this version, nobody will feel offended by your choice. Yet, for more elegance in a formal message towards a British person, "centre" is much preferred in UK.

Conclusion

While you will not be criticized no matter which version, "center" or "centre", you use, your efforts to use the more appropriate version according to the person you are writing to will certainly be appreciated, especially in the UK, where people tend to be more careful to these aspects and more appreciative towards those who make the more "traditional" choice. Just remember to use "centre" in British English and "center" when you communicate with an American, and your grammar will definitely be impeccable in this matter.

Center vs. Centre

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3 Comments

  • What is this British English? What you mean is ENGLISH. We do not have American French or German. There is a reason for that. It's not their language to change! They find it hard enough to pronounce and stay in the proper tense, let alone write. English was being spoken long before America existed as a modern country. 
    LikeReplyReport1 year ago
    • British English is the dialect of the English language spoken in Britain. American English is the dialect of the English language spoken in the United States of America. We do not speak of American French or American German because French and German are spoken by relatively few people in the U.S. On the other hand, English is
      the overwhelmingly dominant language in our country. This is because we were settled and founded by English-speaking people from England and the rest of Britain. Over time, the language spoken by the peoples on the separate sides of the Atlantic diverged somewhat from each other, and we were left with similar but distinct dialects. 
      LikeReplyReport1 year ago
  • Very useful. Thank you very much
    LikeReplyReport 12 years ago
  • Could you say 'center of a circle' and 'british center of intelligence' in british english? Or would they both have to be spelt 'centre'?
    LikeReplyReport 13 years ago

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