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I mostly have exposure to American English online. I am currently writing out a resume and need some help.

In Australia, in general, we write programme to mean a schedule or community programme. However with computer studies I'm inclined to write program to mean a computer program rather than the proverbial programme.

What is the correct spelling?

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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Jan 3 '11 at 14:07

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"Program" if you are talking about a computer program is usually deemed acceptable in the UK. –  ChrisF Jan 3 '11 at 13:58
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Do IT literate speakers actually write "computer programme" at all? I thought the distinction was fairly clear: to a UK (IT literate) speaker, a "programme" and a "program" are simply different things. –  Neil Coffey Jun 1 '12 at 10:49
    
Related fact: "dialog(ue)" is often/usually spelled with the "ue" in e.g. literature, but always without in "dialog box". –  Mechanical snail Aug 24 '12 at 1:35
    
@NeilCoffey And what exactly is the difference? They are the same thing; whether or not as a matter of style one uses a specific spelling for a specific type of programme is another matter. –  Marcin Aug 24 '12 at 14:49
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Erm... on the basis that they're different things?!? –  Neil Coffey Aug 26 '12 at 1:48

5 Answers 5

We reference the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

In British English, we write television programme and computer program.

In American English, we write television program and computer program.

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3  
Agreed (from an Australian). Also Dialog refers to a pop up screen but dialogue refers to a two way communication. Catalogue is a list of items whereas catalog is a computerised list. –  dave Jan 3 '11 at 20:01
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The Guardian newspaper's style guide agrees with this answer's British English usage: "program (computer); otherwise programme". guardian.co.uk/styleguide/p –  Hugo May 26 '11 at 13:18
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In American English, the spelling is always analog, catalog, dialog, program. The dichotomy in Australia and Britain comes from using the American spelling for the meanings related to computers. –  Peter Shor May 26 '11 at 16:14
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I'm another Australian who agrees. In the early days of computers people did write "computer programme" but by the time this sense settled into the national vocabulary the "program" spelling definitely emerged as the standard one. –  hippietrail May 26 '11 at 16:26
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I think the propensity of the use of program for computer program is an adoption of the US spelling because that is where the vast majority of early computing literature came from. I believe that both options are acceptable in all cases, but that 'computer programme' would be considered a bit quaint. –  Richard A Sep 21 '11 at 4:32

In British (real) English programme is used in general, except in terms of computer programming, and related activities where the American form program is used.

A: Can you program the video recorder for me?

B: Sure, what programme do you wish to record?

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3  
+1 for defining British as "Real" English. Kind of hard to dispute ;-) –  LRE Jan 16 '11 at 4:38

I've mostly been exposed to American English myself; however, that said, when I've read articles in British magazines they seem to use "program" when referring to computer programs. Likewise, here's a blog entry that seems to back me up: Program vs. Programme.

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There's no good reason to draw a distinction between a computer programme and any other programme. For that reason, I always write "programme". I seem to be in the minority, though.

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You're right. It is not really necessary to have such a distinction. It seems to me that people who do so are probably ignorant of differences in American English or, are just copying American English, because of personal preference or just because other people are. –  Tristan Aug 24 '12 at 10:34

As a computer programmer, writing a computer programme is wrong. It might be acceptable linguistically, but in terms of communications, it is always program. And it does come from the American version, but is part of British English now.

"Quaint" is the polite version of what impression programme gives.

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Seeing þᵉ olde computator programme certainly does leave one with a … ‘quaint’ impression. –  tchrist Jan 28 '12 at 14:28
    
There is simply no distinction between the referents of "programme" and "program". They are the very same thing. –  Marcin Aug 24 '12 at 14:47

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