I'm asking this here to get an understanding from those who use this particular SE site in regards to editing posts. I come across posts all the time with US English spelling and with my browser spell-checking in UK English, I sometimes change those.

Does it really make a difference if I correct those from the US English spelling to the UK English (for my own pedantic way of completeness)? I don't want to pose any offence (or offense) to someone (who isn't natively from the UK or America by changing their posts regarding spelling).

I would only assume it wouldn't matter unless that was all I was doing to a post i.e. just changing such spelling 'errors' and nothing else, am I correct in this assumption?

Note: Like I said I'm pretty pedantic (I'm certainly showcasing that with the asking of this question) when It comes to completeness in editing posts, I don't ever just edit posts for such smalls 'issues' (issues being subjective to where the reader is from).

2 Answers 2


When writing a post, use whichever spelling you prefer, as long as it's understandable idiomatic English.

But when editing just leave the spelling choices of the original author. Spelling mistakes should obviously be corrected, as should strange archaic English that may be difficult to understand for readers, but color v.s. colour? Just leave it be.

The spell check can indeed be annoying. I have it set to British by default but when editing "American" posts I just change it for that post:

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  • Great advice, yet again. Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 12:07

The same question on the general Stack Exchange Meta came to these conclusions:

  • Posts should use whatever style of English the original author preferred. Please don't change it.
  • Tags should consistently use US-English

I see no reason why we should divert from this guideline. Maybe we could say to use American English when talking about US politics, British English when talking about UK politics, Australian English when speaking about Australian politics and anything you want for non-English speaking countries, but personally I think that this would just be pedantic.

  • Thanks for an informative answer (+1 for the information on the tags, I did not know this). Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 12:09
  • On the side note, I believe it should be as such. Like I mentioned in the question, the clarification is for the pedantic of us on here, but I will abide by the original authors intent regardless of where the subject area is. Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 12:30
  • There is no need to divert from the general guidance. Proper nouns should have localised spelling "Secretary of Defense" (USA), but the "Secretary of State for Defence" (UK). However, it isn't worth doing an edit just to fix that.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 6:31
  • Not to be too pedantic but wouldn't that prevent me from talking about, say, Australian politics because I am not fluent in Australia's dialect of English?
    – anon
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 7:05
  • Is it okay if I edited the post to British English which started British English and had few (or one) American English? Ref: politics.stackexchange.com/posts/74294/revisions Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 17:32
  • @SeverusSnape Well, if you have nothing better to do and you are not pushing up old posts up that way...
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 21:10

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