Offence vs Offense | Definition, Spelling & Examples

UK vs US updated on  January 9, 2024 3 min read
Offence and offense are two ways of spelling the same noun, which refers to a sports tactic aiming to score on the opponent, a breach of rule or illegal act, or a state of resentment due to a perceived insult.

The spelling depends on the type of English you use:

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

Examples: Offence vs offense
The offence/offense of the losing team just wasn’t good enough.
Committing a criminal offence/offense can result in various penalties.
Despite his good intentions, I took offence/offense to his comment.

Offensive and offensively

The spelling difference does not apply to related words, such as the adjective offensive (never “offencive”), which describes something that’s insulting. Offensive can also be used as a noun in a military context.

The related adverb offensively is also always spelled with an “s” (never “offencively”).

Examples: Offensive and offensively in a sentence
Jack’s offensive comments during the meeting led to heated debate.
The military offensive was strategically planned to weaken the enemy’s positions.
Ted’s comments were not only rude but also delivered offensively.

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 offence vs offense

Is it take offense or take offence?

Offence and offense are two spellings of the same noun. The spelling depends on the type of English.

  • In British English, “offence” is the normal spelling, so it’s take offence.
  • In American English, “offense” is standard, so it’s take offense.

The same distinction applies to similar words, such as defence or defense, licence or license, and pretence or pretense.

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

Is it first offence or first offense?

Offence and offense are two spellings of the same noun. The spelling depends on the type of English.

  • In British English, “offence” is the usual spelling, so it’s first offence.
  • In American English, “offense” is standard, so it’s first offense.

The same difference applies to similar words, such as defence or defense, licence or license, and pretence or pretense.

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

Is it no offence or no offense?

Offence and offense are two spellings of the same noun. The spelling depends on the type of English.

  • In British English, “offence” is most common, so it’s no offence.
  • In American English, “offense” is standard, so it’s no offense.

The same difference applies to similar words, such as defence or defense, licence or license, and pretence or pretense.

It's important to choose one spelling 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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