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This is a guide on issues of spelling and punctuation.

National varieties of English[edit]

Wikivoyage prefers no major national variety of English over any other. American English and British English differ in vocabulary (truck vs. lorry), spelling (center vs. centre), date formatting ("April 13" vs. "13 April") and very occasionally surface grammar. Indian, Irish, New Zealand, Pakistani, Singaporean and South African English are almost identical in spelling to British English, and Canada and Australia mostly uses those spellings as well. These varieties are often collectively called Commonwealth English.

Some words are unique to a variety; in such cases, it's useful to gloss the meaning or the equivalent word in another variety in parentheses immediately after the first occurrence ("some drivers charge extra for the use of the trunk (boot) of their cabs"). Here, trunk and boot might not be known in some varieties, although cab and taxi are probably so widely known everywhere that it's not worth bothering with an explanation.

But it's no big deal. Don't worry if you're not familiar or comfortable with a particular variety of English. Just write in the style you're accustomed to, and eventually someone will come along and clean it up. However, it is generally seen as bad style to change the spelling without rhyme or reason or - worse yet - edit war over such trivial things as spelling.

The rule of thumb for articles related to the following countries (and articles about regions, cities, parks, and itineraries within them) is:

The rule of thumb for the articles about the following continents is:

If the destination has no history of using English and no clear preference for the variety to use, we prefer American English spelling. This isn't because American English is somehow better or to stomp on the rights, heritage, and cultures of other English-speaking countries. We just have decided to pick one default spelling style for consistency (however, there are some exceptions).

One exception to this is the preference for the British "traveller" rather than the American "traveler" in Wikivoyage project pages such as policy and guideline pages, expedition pages, and the name of the Wikivoyage:Travellers' pub. For articles, the general rule applies.

International English Spelling Chart
United States Canada United Kingdom UK (Oxford spelling) Australia
color colour colour colour colour
center centre centre centre centre
globalization globalization globalisation globalization globalisation
realize realize realise realize realise
analyze analyze analyse analyse analyse
traveling travelling travelling travelling travelling
defense defence defence defence defence
computer program computer program computer program computer program computer program
concert program concert program concert programme concert programme concert program
gray grey grey grey grey
fulfill fulfil/fulfill fulfil fulfil fulfil
aluminum aluminum aluminium aluminium aluminium

Reference guides for US spelling[edit]


  • Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Wiley Hoboken, NJ
  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.

Place names[edit]

Proper names[edit]

Some proper names do not follow spelling or punctuation conventions. Write them as they are used. Don't change them to conform to spelling conventions.

  • Joaquin Miller's home, "The Hights", rests on the heights of the Oakland hills.
  • King's Cross, St James's Park and Barons Court are London Underground stations.

It can be helpful to other editors to use an HTML comment to mark unconventional spellings in proper names:

* '''Café Art's<!-- sic -->''' - a popular cafe in the Paquis neighborhood of Geneva.

Corporate names[edit]

Wikivoyage does not follow all spelling idiosyncrasies employed by private corporations, particularly not when it comes to "corporate shouting" or the practice to write the name of the company in ALL CAPS and that may be considered as touting.

Foreign words[edit]

See also: Wikivoyage:Foreign words

In general if there is a genuine need to use a foreign word, the spelling you'd encounter at the destination should be used. For instance "Strasse" when talking about a Swiss destination, but "Straße" when talking about a German or Austrian place.


Plurals should not have apostrophes (unless the result is ridiculous).

  • "1800s" not "1800's"
  • "apples and oranges" not "apple's and orange's"

See also[edit]