Combatting or Combating? Here’s the correct spelling + FULL explanation

Sometimes, we come across words in English that are spelled one way in American English and another in British English. It can cause some confusion amidst learners trying to pick up the language. Knowing whether it’s combating or combatting is one such example of when British and American English have differences.

Combatting or Combating – What is the correct spelling?

Combatting should be used when you’re using British English. Combating should be used when you’re using American English. In both languages, “combating” means the same thing. It means to take action to reduce or prevent something (i.e., combating drugs or crime). It can also mean engaging in a fight with someone or something (i.e., combating with the enemy at war).

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Why are “Combatting” and “Combating” spelled differently in American English and British English?

It’s common to see words like “combating” that vary from American to British English. This is because it stemmed from centuries ago when all native English speakers hailed from the island of Great Britain. As history went on and people began to drift further apart, languages like American English began to develop. In fact, most American linguists specifically steered their spellings away from the British “mother tongue.”

We have the differences between many words that have led to the two languages being very similar but just different enough. When speaking between American and British English, it’s almost impossible to tell which is which (unless you’re listening to the accents). However, when you’re writing it, you’ll notice spelling differences a lot easier and tell them apart quickly.

The reason for “combating” having dropped one of the “t” letters in American English most likely stems from American English constantly searching for ways to simplify the spelling of their language. The extra “t” in British English almost seems irrelevant and doesn’t add anything different to the word’s pronunciation, which is why American English removed the letter altogether.

Combatting vs Combating – Tip to remember the difference.

Knowing the difference is one thing, but remembering it is a whole other thing. Depending on which language you’re using yourself, you might be struggling a little bit to remember whether you need an extra “t” or not. It’s not that bad if you don’t come across native English speakers, as most people won’t call you out on the spelling. However, if it helps, we’ve got a quick tip for you.

Since “American English” as a word doesn’t have a “t” in it, they don’t have the extra “t” in “combating” when it’s written. However, “British English” has a “t” in the word “British,” which is also included as an extra letter in the word “combatting.” If you know which language you’re using, you won’t make a mistake again! It’s a simple way to help you remember.

If I am not from either the UK or the US – should I write Combatting or Combating?

If you’re from a non-English speaking country and need to write either “combatting” or “combating,” you might be at a bit of a loss. Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to know which one is for you. All you have to do is look at English-speaking countries outside of the US and the UK. Countries like Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada speak English and use the British English written form.

So, it’s more common for countries outside of the UK and the US to use British English. That means that if you’re trying to figure out which spelling is better for you, the British English “combatting” makes the most sense. However, it mostly comes down to personal preference and which one will work better for you.

Combatting and Combating – Synonyms

If you don’t fancy trying to remember the difference every time you write the word, there’s one last thing you can do! We recommend you look for some alternatives that’ll help. That way, you don’t have to worry about the differences between two languages, and you can convey your meaning with a different word altogether.

  • fighting
  • battling
  • tackling
  • countering
  • opposing

That’s the joy of the English language! If you’re struggling with one word, there’s always a replacement out there that means the same thing that you can use. Go for it.