Which English do you use? American or Canadian English?

When writing for a North American audience, which type of English do you use? Canadian or American? My experience with American audiences for the 15 years I’ve worked in large (more than 50k employees) organization is that for the most part it has to be American English. Canadian Anglophone audiences seem to consider either American or Canadian English – at least that’s my perspective (what is yours? post it in the comments).

Here’s how this thought came about. An example for your communications policy for your organization to be truly North American is to say Use the language of the country where the communication is originating from. So if your instructional designers and developers (or marketing department or communication strategists) come from Canada, use Canadian English (so write flavour, colour, manoeuvre, centre, etc. to your heart’s content). When the material comes from the USA then write in American English (so check instead of cheque, jewelry instead of jewellery, and so forth – more of these examples here).

In implementing such a policy, I’ve found that its not always what was accepted. Some of our American audience were not too keen with this consideration so American English was used wherever the originating document came from. Canadian audiences did not mind the difference. What do you think is driving this perspective? I’d be interested in learning from you so please post your comments below.

PS. That's my doodle when this discussion happened at one of our sessions

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