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Favour vs. Favor

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Languages can shift over time, even in different parts of the world. Many differences in spelling and usage have grown prominent between British and American English. Favor and favour, for instance, are American and British English spellings of the same word.

Consider the sentences:

Peter found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

I received a bottle opener as a party favour.

Both of these spellings are correct. Still confused? Keep reading.


The word favor originated from Middle English (in the noun sense ‘liking, preference’): via Old French from Latin favor, from favere ‘show kindness to’ (related to fovere ‘cherish’).

Favor as noun:

Favor is used as a noun in English language where it means approval, support, or liking for someone or something.

Training is looked upon with favor by many employers.

Favor also means overgenerous preferential treatment.

He was accused of showing favor to one of the players.

An act of kindness beyond what is due or usual is also called favor.

I've come to ask you a favor.

Favor as verb:

Favor is also used as a verb which means feel or show approval or preference for.

Slashing public spending is a policy that few politicians favor.

Favour vs. Favor

It is often used in polite requests to give someone (something desired).

Please favor me with an answer.

Spellings in Britain:

Favour is the older spelling of the same word. It was considered correct until recently, when American English takes is otherwise, but it is still the preferred spellings in British.


Punters have written off Julia Gillard in favour of former union boss Bill Shorten and backed the coalition to win the next federal election. [The Age (Australia)]

And that means Ferguson will urge Birmingham City to do him a favour against Arsenal. [Guardian (U.K.)]

The Supreme Court evidently favours a co-operative approach. [Globe and Mail (Canada)]

The opposition Congress twice staged a walkout from the Chhattisgarh Assembly today over the alleged favour shown by the state government. [MSN India (dead link)]

Spellings in U.S.:

The American adoption of favor was part of a broader early-19th-century effort to create a distinctly American English with spellings considered tidier or more logical. Favour was just one of many similar words that lost the u during this time. Others include colour (now color in the U.S.), labour (now labor), and rumour (now rumor).


It takes many forms—direct subsidies, anticompetitive regulations, mandates, tax credits and carve-outs—all of which tip the scales in favor of established businesses and industries. [The Wall Street Journal]

Favor or favour:

Is it favor or favour? Favor and favour are two different spellings of the same word. Favour is the preferred spelling in British English. Favor is the preferred spelling in American English. Since favor has a U, like U.K., you can fairly easily remember which is which. You should use favor with American audiences and favour with British audiences. You no longer have to be one of the many writers who wonder whether to use favor or favour in your writing.


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