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Liter vs. Litre

In this article you will learn the differences between Liter and Litre.

2:37 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Have you ever wondered about the spellings of liter? Does writing liter makes you rethink and reconsider how you should spell it for you have come across two types of liter? You are not to be blamed! The word liter exist in two alternative spellings.

The oil prices have increased to $5 per liter.

It can also be written as:

The oil prices have increased to $5 per litre.

Liter as noun:

The word liter is a noun that is a metric unit of capacity, formerly defined as the volume of one kilogram of water under standard conditions, now equal to 1,000 cubic centimetres (about 1.75 pints).

It originated from the Greek language in early 18th century when it was known as litra and later in the late 18th century the French adopted it as litron via Medieval Latin. After a few decades, liter evolved and since then has been used as a unit of measurement.

Many liter bottles of water were wasted on the pool party.

Liter is primarily used in British and other English speaking countries but the United States uses gallon, which is a non-metric unit of measurement. Each gallon equals to 3.78 liters of any liquid.

Liter can be written with an e as the last or second last letter. Both of these spellings are acceptable all over the English speaking world but one is more common in American English while the other one is used predominantly in British English.

Let’s see which spellings are common where.

Liter vs. Litre


Liter , with the e as the second last letter, is used in the United States of America. The Americans changed the original spellings after they got their independence from Great Britain to demonstrate themselves as a distinct country with different spellings, dialect and norms. So if you are a resident of America, you should use these spellings, that is, if you ever have to use them.

One new event is turkey bowling, which involves rolling frozen turkeys into 10 two-liter bottles. (Buffalo News)


The other spellings, with e as the last letter of the word, are the original spellings as they were evolved from litron in 19th century. These spellings are predominantly used in British, Ireland, Canada, Australia and many other English speaking countries. If you live in any of these countries then you can proudly use the original spellings and call yourself a preserver.

I bled out two litres of plasma during each treatment, but I was always given back more than two litres of fluid to prevent dehydration. (The Guardian)

Liter or litre:

Litre is a unit of measurement which is a commonly used metric unit to measure volume or volume. It is most widely used in British and other English speaking countries where it is spelled as litre. Although, it is scarcely used in America, but whenever it is used, it is spelled like liter. Both of the spellings are correct and can be used by anyone, but people living in Europe like to use litre whereas, Americans tend to prefer liter.

So tell us, are you a liter person or a litre person?

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