Defense vs. Defence

Defense vs. Defence. What's the Difference?


This article will take learners on a journey through the linguistic history of American English and British English, explore the usage of "defense" and "defence" in both dialects, compare and give examples of these words in sentences, list resources for further learning, and provide ESL tips for non-native English speakers.

American English ESL Lesson Plan

The History of American and British English and Their Differences

English is a global language spoken by millions of people across the world. However, there are significant differences in how English is spoken in different parts of the world. The most notable differences are between American and British English. These differences emerged in the 17th century when English was first introduced in the United States. Over time, the language evolved differently on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to spelling, grammar, and vocabulary variations.

Examples of "Defense" and "Defence" Usage in American and British English

One of the most noticeable differences between American and British English is the spelling of certain words. In American English, "defense" (with an "s") is the preferred spelling, while in British English, "defence" (with a "c") is the standard spelling. However, it is worth noting that both spellings are correct and are widely used in both dialects.

Here are some examples of sentences and phrases:

American English

  • "The defense attorney made a compelling argument."
  • "The soccer team scored a goal because of their opponent's weak defense."
  • "The United States Department of Defense"

British English

  • "The defence barrister made a compelling argument."
  • "The football team scored a goal because of their opponent's weak defence."
  • "The Ministry of Defence"

ESL Tips on "Defense" vs. "Defence" for Non-Native English Speakers

For non-native English speakers, the differences between American and British English can be confusing. It is essential to understand these differences to communicate effectively in English. To help non-native speakers learn the differences between "defense" and "defence," here are a few ESL tips:

  1. Learn the spelling rules: American English generally uses an "s" in many words, while British English typically uses a "c" in the same words. For example, "defense" is American English, and "defence" is British English.
  2. Practice using the words in context: Thinking about the purpose of one's writing and the specific audience can help any writer choose the correct word accordingly. Use "defense" and "defence" in sentences to help understand their differences in meaning and usage.
  3. Familiarize oneself with common errors: Knowing the common grammatical and spelling errors related to "defense" and "defence" and other American and British differences can help students avoid these mistakes. Understanding these basic rules can help determine which spelling to use every time.

Resources for Further Learning on American and British English

Many resources are available online for anyone wanting to learn more about American and British English. Here are a few to get started:

  1. Amerilingua: Innovative ESL platfrom with lesson plans and resources for ESL teachers and learners
  2. Oxford Dictionaries: A comprehensive online dictionary that provides definitions, spellings, and usage examples for American and British English words.
  3. BBC Learning English: A website that provides free resources for learning English, including lessons on American and British English.

“Defense” vs. “Defense”: Conclusion and Final Thoughts

English is a complex language with many variations, and the differences between American and British English only add to its complexity. While the debate over "defense" vs. "defence" may seem trivial, it highlights the nuances of the English language and the importance of understanding these differences. Whether one prefers "defense" or "defence," it is essential to remember that both spellings are correct and widely used in both dialects.



Date: March 26th, 2023

Theresa - author of the article   Theresa

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