I already know that there are different spellings in British and US English for "programme". Usually, I refer to a computer program with the US spelling as all programming is done in US English, so it only seems appropriate.

But what about the verb? Do you program something or do you programme something in British English?

  • 1
    Possible source of information: dailywritingtips.com/get-with-the-programme I wish I had time to find something more in depth, but I thought it might help! Aug 6, 2013 at 16:08
  • @GnoveltyGnome - That helps a lot. As I suspected, "program" was the correct spelling, but my brain was telling me to spell it the other way. Thanks! Aug 6, 2013 at 16:57
  • In the US, I of course see program for this. A few years ago I was surprised to see programme used in Canada. I don't know how wide-spread it is there.
    – GEdgar
    Nov 30, 2013 at 1:03
  • 1
    all programming is done in US English - citation needed. Jun 24, 2018 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


In British English, the spelling program is used when referring to computer programs, but the spelling programme is used for all other purposes.

The following entry is taken from a reputable British dictionary1
(I have omitted the entries relating to non-computer meanings for the word):

programme or (N Amer) program

5. (usually program) computing a set of coded instructions to a computer for the performance of a task or a series of operations, written in any of various programming languages.

verb (programmed, programming; N Amer also programed, programing)
3. to set (a computer) by program to perform a set of operations.
4. to prepare a program for a computer.

Note that this British dictionary uses the spelling program for all uses related to computing.

  • 1
    Even in North American, the past tense of to program is programmed.
    – tchrist
    Aug 7, 2013 at 0:23
  • That's great, thanks. I had assumed that was the correct version, but my brain was telling me to come on here and check. (Not my fault, blame my brain). Aug 9, 2013 at 1:07

Note, though, that the British dictionary definition states "usually" program. I'm a British English speaker who's worked as a software developer for many years, and in my experience 99% of British IT workers do indeed spell it "program", but I suppose I'm in the 1% who spells it "programme". I know of only one colleague (co-worker) who does the same as me. To my mind, though, there's no reason for a Brit to spell a TV show as "programme" but computer code as "program", other than the requirement that within the coding itself we must use the "American" spelling.

  • GeordieG, I wish I could go along with you but in reality, please compare this to billions… Until about 1960 there was a very clear difference - of 1,000 times - between American and British billions. Today, who would suggest there could be a difference? What previously mattered a great deal has been reduced to less than 1.000th of what it once meant… Personally, I'd much prefer that we all used "programme" all of the time and yet, democracy thinks you and I are wrong. Jun 24, 2018 at 20:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.