The words “councillor” and “councilor” are not only pronounced the same and similarly spelled, they also have the same meaning. So how do you know which is the correct spelling to use in your writing? We’ve put together a quick guide with all the details you need.
Dialect: British or American English?
The English language is quite complex, especially because spelling and grammar rules can vary depending on the dialect you’re writing in.
The key determiner in the correct spelling between “councillor” and “councilor” is dialect:
● In British/Australian English, “councillor” is the appropriate spelling.
● In American English, “councilor” is the appropriate spelling.
Now let’s take a look at the definition and some examples to further help you choose the right spelling.
Councillor vs. Councilor
“Councillor” is a noun that refers to a member of a professional organization or council (i.e., a group of people who deliberate and offer advice), such as an elected representative of a local government. For example:
The small town was governed only by one mayor and two councillors.
The councillors assembled to approve the city’s budget.
“Councilor” is simply the American English variant of the same word. Therefore, it can be used in the same context:
The small town was governed only by one mayor and two councilors.
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The councilors assembled to approve the city’s budget.
To help you remember the difference, consider that both British and Australian dialects double the “l,” while the American English dialect only uses a single “l.”
The “Doubling Up” Rule
Speaking of doubling the “l,” it can also be helpful to learn the “doubling up” rule to understand the correct spellings to use in your writing.
This rule explains when to double the final consonant of words when adding a vowel suffix. For example:
They plan to hold a council planning meeting on Friday.
When it comes to multi-syllable base words, such as “council,” British and Australian English typically double the consonant, while American English usually doesn’t:
British/Australian (Double Consonant)
American (Single Consonant)
Summary: Councillor or Councilor?
Although these words have the same meaning, there’s a key difference in how they’re spelled:
● Councillor is the appropriate spelling in British/Australian English.
● Councilor is the appropriate spelling in American English.
Hopefully, this will help you avoid mixing up these words in your writing. If you want to ensure that you’re consistently using the correct spelling and grammar conventions in your writing, our proofreading service is the perfect solution! You can give it a try by uploading a 500-word document for free today.