Is it colour or color? Behaviour or behavior?
Most New Zealanders know that New Zealand English (NZE) uses colour and behaviour, following British English (BrE) spelling.
So, are there any differences between NZE and BrE spelling?
It is probably not a surprise that the spelling of English words in New Zealand writing is virtually indistinguishable from that of BrE, just as most NZE grammar rules follow BrE. It is the vocabulary and the accent that distinguishes NZE the most from other forms of English.
However, there are a few small differences – though even then it would not be considered wrong to use the British English spelling variant:
One final note is that NZE writing does use American English (AmE) spelling when the word is part of a trademark – such as Cooper Tires or Colorsteel – or with American titles such as the FBI Medal of Valor. In addition, some newspapers (such as The New Zealand Herald) retain the American English spelling if the original article came from an American publication.
If you have written a book in New Zealand English and this all sounds too overwhelming, I can help.
I am a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. My business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction and non-fiction books. I can discuss with you where your book is at and what you need to do next.
For more information on how I can help you make your book shine, please contact me on: www.clearlingo.co.nz/contact.
I would love to hear from you.
Kennedy, G., Deverson, T. (2005) New Zealand Oxford Dictionary. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
New Zealand English: -ise vs -ize endings
New Zealand English: Single or double quote marks
New Zealand English: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
New Zealand English: Using Māori words in English text
New Zealand English: Burned vs Burnt
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. Her business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction or non-fiction books. For more information or enquiries for how she can help you make your book shine, please see her website: www.clearlingo.co.nz.
New Zealand English Series
*How to punctuate dialogue
*NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
*NZE: How to write times and dates
*NZE: Is our spelling different?
*NZE: Burned vs Burnt
*NZE: Using Māori words in English text
*NZE: -ise vs -ize endings
*NZE: Single or double quote marks
*NZE: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
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*Fact checking fiction writing
*Formatting your manuscript for submission
*How long does it take to edit a book?
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