Many non-native English speakers may not notice it, but Americans and Brits spell many words differently. Have you ever wondered why they bother to spell words differently? Here's the quick and easy answer.
In the examples below, the first word is the British spelling while the second word is the American spelling.
favourite - favorite
realise - realize
jewellery - jewelry
humour - humor
metre - meter
Back in 1828, Noah Webster created what would be called Webster's Dictionary. The Webster's Dictionary of 1929 has since become the primary resource for finding the correct spelling of American English words.
Before 1828, many words had many acceptable spellings, primarily due to their French or Latin origin. However, Webster wanted to standardize the spelling of some words for use in America.
You might be wondering why the Brits didn't just follow suit. Well, they kind of did. For instance, they dropped the letter K from the spelling of words like musick and publick. However, they didn't really like these new "Americanized" words, so they stuck to the lengthened spelling of words with that extra "u" and words that use "-ise" instead of "-ize."
Publishers of tabloids and rags were thrilled with the shortened Americanized words, but the more formal newspapers stuck to the old British spelling. Taking the lead of serious newspapers, the rest of the country followed suit.