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Counsellor vs. Counselor

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Spelling differences in American and British English are widespread and well-documented. From consonant doubling to -ise and ize suffixes, American writers and British writers are likely to spell many common words differently, even when these writers may be referring to the same thing. Counsellor and counselor are two spelling variants of the same word. Each language community prefers a different spelling. While this might be a confusing difference for international therapists, most of us only need to consider who are audience is before deciding which version to use. Continue reading to learn more about this word.


The word counselor originated from Middle English (in the general sense ‘adviser’): from Old French conseiller, from Latin consiliarius, and Old French conseillour, from Latin consiliator, both from consilium ‘consultation or advice’.

Counselor as noun:

The word counselor is used as a noun in English language where it means a person trained to give guidance on personal or psychological problems.

We went to a marriage counsellor.

Counselor is also used as a noun to describe a senior officer in the diplomatic service.

A counsellor at the Russian embassy.

In American English, the word counselor refers to a barrister.

Use of Counselor:

The spellings counselor (with a single l) are used in American English and if you are an American or are writing for American audience, you should use these spellings.


Teachers and school counselors help select students who might benefit from the program. [Washington Post]

Of course, now that I’m married to my Lutheran summer camp counselor Peter, Arondel and I only meet up for coffee a couple of times a year. [Slate]

Counsellor vs. Counselor

Starting in January, those students were required to meet with a financial counselor to talk about what they planned to use that money. [Courier-News]

The late Roger Ailes ran Fox News for two decades, all the while counseling Republican politicians on their careers — part of his previous professional life. –The Washington Post

Use of Counsellor:

Counsellor is an alternate spelling of the same word. Where counselor is used in American English, counsellor is used in British English. If you are addressing British audience, you should use these spellings (with two ls).


She has also been seeing a psychiatrist and grief counsellor. [Daily Mail (U.K.)]

In fact I’m in the middle of Googling an old camp counsellor I had a crush on. [National Post (Canada)]

Police and gambling counsellors say they are worried about a trend where vulnerable gamblers of all ages … are becoming drug mules. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Counselling and other psychological therapies can do more harm than good if they are of poor quality or the wrong type, according to a major new analysis of their outcomes. –The Guardian

Counsellor or counselor:

Counseling is a verb that means giving guidance or therapy. It can also be used as a noun, where it refers to this guidance or therapy. Counselor is an American English spelling. Counsellor is the British English spelling of the same word. Since counselling has an extra L, and the British city of London starts with an L, this letter will be your clue that counselling is the British spelling of this word.


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1 Comment
  • Dave Sudds
    Dave Sudds
    most of us only need to consider who "are" audience is
    OUR ?
    LikeReply 13 years ago


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