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Difference between behavior or behaviour?

behavior or behaviour

The difference between “behavior” and “behaviour” lies not in their meaning but in their spelling, which reflects the variety of English being used. Both terms refer to the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others, or the way in which a machine or natural phenomenon works or operates. The distinction is a matter of American English versus British English preferences.

Quick Facts Table

SpellingAmerican EnglishBritish English
DefinitionThe way in which one acts or conducts oneself; the way something operatesIdentical to “behavior”
UsagePreferred in the United StatesPreferred in the UK, Canada, Australia, and other countries using British English standards
Example“The study of animal behavior is fascinating.”The study of animal behaviour is fascinating.
behavior analysis

Difference Between Behavior and Behaviour

Definition and Meaning

"Behavior" and "behaviour" share the same definition and application in language, referring to actions or reactions of a subject (usually a person, group, or machine) under specific circumstances.

Spelling Variants

  • Behavior: This spelling is used in American English. It reflects the American preference for simpler, more phonetic spellings in some cases.
  • Behaviour: This variant is used in British English and is also common in other countries that follow British spelling conventions, such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Usage Context

The choice between “behavior” and “behaviour” often depends on the intended audience or the standard spelling conventions of the country in which the text is being written or published.


The pronunciation of both “behavior” and “behaviour” is nearly identical, with minor variations possibly occurring in the accent or emphasis due to regional dialects. The primary difference lies in spelling rather than pronunciation.

Usage in Sentences

Use of Behavior in Sentences

  1. Teachers often discuss students’ behavior with their parents.
    • “Behavior” is used in the context of American English.
  2. Behavioral science seeks to understand the reasons behind human actions.
    • The American English spelling is employed in a scientific context.

Use of Behaviour in Sentences

  1. The teacher praised the child for good behaviour during class.
    • “Behaviour” is used in the context of British English.
  2. Behavioural studies can offer insights into animal instincts.
    • The British English spelling is employed in a scientific context.


Whether to use “behavior” or “behaviour” depends on the version of English you are using or the audience you are addressing. Both spellings are correct and interchangeable, with the choice of spelling reflecting regional language conventions. Understanding and respecting these differences is important for effective communication across different English-speaking audiences.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can “behavior” and “behaviour” be used interchangeably in academic writing?
    • Yes, but consistency with either American or British English spelling throughout a document is crucial in academic writing.
  • Is one spelling more correct than the other?
    • No, neither spelling is more correct; the choice depends on the regional spelling conventions.
  • How can I decide which spelling to use?
    • Consider the primary audience for your writing or follow the spelling conventions of the publication or institution for which you are writing.
  • Do “behavior” and “behaviour” have different meanings?
    • No, they have the same definition and use, with the difference purely in spelling based on American and British English conventions.
Behaviour vs. Behavior


What is the difference between behavior and behaviour?

“Behavior” and “behaviour” both refer to the actions, reactions, or conduct of individuals or organisms. The difference lies in the spelling, where “behavior” is the American English spelling and “behaviour” is the British English spelling.

What is behavior analysis?

Behavior analysis is a field that involves studying and understanding behavior patterns in both humans and animals. It focuses on analyzing and modifying behavior through the application of scientific principles and strategies. The aim of behavior analysis is to promote positive changes and improve overall behavior.

What is behavior therapy?

Behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy that aims to identify and modify maladaptive or undesirable behaviors. It is based on the principles of behavior analysis and utilizes various techniques and strategies to address behavioral issues. Behavior therapy is commonly used to treat conditions such as anxiety disorders, phobias, and addiction.

How can behavior modification be used to address behavioral issues?

Behavior modification is a therapeutic approach that focuses on changing behavior through the use of positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and other techniques. It involves identifying target behaviors, creating behavior plans, and implementing interventions to promote desired behavioral changes. Behavior modification techniques can be used to address a wide range of behavioral issues, including those related to addictions, mental health disorders, and learning disabilities.

Why is understanding behavior patterns important?

Understanding behavior patterns can provide valuable insights into actions, reactions, and tendencies exhibited by individuals. It allows us to identify trends, predict behaviors, and develop strategies for effective communication and interaction. Furthermore, understanding behavior patterns can help in modifying and improving behaviors, promoting personal growth, and fostering healthier relationships.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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