Is It Humor or Humour? | Meaning, Spelling & Examples

UK vs US updated on  January 9, 2024 3 min read
Humor and humour are two ways of spelling the noun meaning “the characteristic of being amusing” or “mood.” The word can also be used as a verb to mean “indulge.” The spelling depends on the type of English you use.

  • In American English, “humor” is correct.
  • In British English, “humour” is standard.
It’s important to choose one spelling and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

Examples: Humor or humour in a sentence

His humor/humour always lightens the mood at work meetings.

After a good night’s sleep, her humor/humour improved drastically.

The principal decided to humor/humour the student’s imaginative story even though it was quite far-fetched.

Other forms of humor or humour

The same spelling difference applies to the past tense form humoured or humored and the present participle or gerund humouring or humoring.

  • In British English, “humoured” and “humouring” are standard.
  • In American English, “humored” and “humoring” are correct.

Examples: Humoured/humored and humouring/humoring in a sentence


Ethan humoured/humored his friend’s wild idea even though he thought it was impractical.


Humouring/humoring the elderly gentleman, the nurse patiently listened to his tales of the past.

Humourous or humorous

Even though “humour” is the correct spelling in British English, the related adjective humorous is always spelled without a “u,” both in American and British English. “Humorous” is a synonym for “amusing.”

Examples: Humorous in a sentence


Their humorous banter made the long road trip enjoyable.


Elsie wrote a humorous poem that had everyone laughing.


The humorous plot twist caught the entire audience in the theater by surprise.

Main differences between American and British English

American and British English are very similar, but there are a few main differences in spelling. Five important differences are:

Difference

Rule

Examples

-or vs -our

In American English, many Latin-derived words end in -or.

In British English, these same words end in -our.

Behavior or behaviour
Labor or labour
Favor or favour
Favorite or favourite
Color or colour
Honor or honour

-er vs -re

In American English, some French, Latin, or Greek words end in -er.

In British English, these same words end in -re.

Theater or theatre
Center or centre
Meter or metre
Liter or litre
Saber or sabre
Fiber or fibre

-ize vs -ise

In American English, many Greek-derived words end in -yze or -ize.

In British English, these words end in -yse or -ise.

Realize or realise
Recognize or recognise
Analyze or analyse
Organisation or organization
Minimize or minimise
Finalize or finalise

-ed vs -t

In American English, most verbs are regular and form their past tense with the suffix -ed.

In British English, some of these verbs are irregular and form their past tense with the suffix -t.

Learned or learnt
Burned or burnt
Kneeled or knelt
Dreamed or dreamt
Smelled or smelt
Spelled or spelt

Single vs double consonant

In American English, many words are spelled with a single consonant.

In British English, these same words are spelled with a double consonant.

Modeling or modelling
Traveling or travelling
Canceled or cancelled
Labeled or labelled
Buses or busses
Focused or focussed

Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, rhetorical devices, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


Common mistakes

US vs UK

Rhetoric

Irregardless vs regardless

Burnt or burned

Situational irony

Lable or label

Dreamed or dreamt

Trope

Now a days or nowadays

Kneeled or knelt

Metaphor

Every time or everytime

Smelled or smelt

Consonance

Alot or a lot

Travelling or traveling

Rhyme


Frequently asked questions about humor or humour

Is it sense of humour or humor?

Humor and humour are two spellings of the same noun or verb. The spelling depends on the type of English.

  • In American English, you use “humor,” so “sense of humor” is correct.
  • In British English, you use “humour,” so “sense of humour” is correct.

The same difference applies to similar words, such as “behavior or behaviour,” “labor or labour,” “favor or favour,” “favorite or favourite,” “color or colour,” and “honor or honour.”

It's important to choose one and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

Is it vitreous humour or humor?

Humor and humour are two spellings of the same noun or verb. The spelling depends on the type of English.

  • In American English, you use “humor,” so “vitreous humor” is correct.
  • In British English, you use “humour,” so “vitreous humour” is correct.

“Vitreous humour/humor” refers to the clear, gelatinous mass that fills the space in the eye between the retina and lens.

The same difference applies to similar words, such as “behavior or behaviour,” “labor or labour,” “favor or favour,” “favorite or favourite,” “color or colour,” and “honor or honour.”

It's important to choose one and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

Is it humor or humour in Australia?

Humor and humour are two spellings of the same noun or verb. The spelling depends on the type of English.

  • In American English, you use “humor.”
  • In British English, you use “humour.”

Australian English mostly follows British English guidelines, so humour is correct.

The same difference applies to similar words, such as “behavior or behaviour,” “labor or labour,” “favor or favour,” “favorite or favourite,” “color or colour,” and “honor or honour.”

It's important to choose one and use it consistently. The QuillBot Grammar Checker can help you with this.

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Julia Merkus

Julia has master's degrees in Linguistics and Language and speech pathology. Her expertise lies in grammar, language and speech disorders, foreign language learning, and child language acquisition.

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