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Canadian spelling?


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Yes, I'm probably overthinking this, but I'd love some input on whether I should go through my SoPs and try to switch all my Canadian spelling habits to their American equivalents for my applications to American schools.

My feeling right now is that as long as I'm consistent, the Canadian spellings shouldn't be a problem. But it's something that comes up a lot (given that my field of interest involves using the word 'behaviour' excessively), and I know some people get titchy about spelling. So yes, input would be lovely.

(P.S. It's not just behaviour; I think some others are centre, endeavoured, favourite, travelled, defence, practise, etc)

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Yikes, that's no fun at all. Though I can understand it, if it is an American publication, because then it's not so much about the author as it is about consistency in the journal.

That did scare me into switching out all my behaviours for behaviors, though!

Now they just look sad and lonely without their 'u's :(

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Consistency is the most important, but, depending on the field, many people might not even know all of the conventions. Canadian convention is also weird since we mostly follow UK conventions, but American styles are also very prevalent.

In addition, not every prof at a American/Canadian school will be an American/Canadian. I wrote all of my SOPs and I continue to write in Canadian style at my US school. I figure that it is like my "accent" -- I'm not going to change the way I speak, so why would I change the way I write?

For journals though, it does make sense to write to whatever style they request because they would want consistency in publications. But they usually provide very detailed Style Guides, while graduate schools generally do not. In addition, this is also an argument for using whatever convention you want -- all academics have to be familiar with both styles if they are publishing in international journals (e.g. in the sciences, the journals Science and Nature are the two highest impact journals and they use American and UK conventions, respectively).

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Yes, I'll just chime in to say consistency is key. If you go back and try to 'Americanize' everything, you might miss one or two words, and then they will stick out more. I understand that you might want to Americanize if you're, say, publishing in an American journal (which is perhaps what ktel is referring to?). But in terms of personal statements and writing samples, I think you're fine.

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