I have seen Americans use centre.

Yet I have never seen an American write "centre of the circle". So far I've only seen them write it for places (buildings or areas) where the place carries weight.

Are there any rules as to when which should be used among Americans?

(I saw this question but it doesn't help since it's under the assumption that it's just a matter of Britain vs American)

  • 16
    Americans do not use normally centre. But you can name a building or place whatever you like, and plenty of developers think unusual, vaguely archaic or foreign spellings will add some flair, hence the chronic infection of Shoppes, Centres, Olde Townes, Pointes, and so forth. And let me tell you: The Olde Tyme Smoak Shoppe in Centre Pointe at Olde Towne is not of the caliber of the old-time smoke shop near the center point of old town, plus it's on the far side of the watre.
    – choster
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 18:25
  • 2
    @choster Don't you want to edit that to have Ye Olde, with incorrect article for lack of a thorn (þ)? Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 21:32
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    @AndrewLazarus No, we don't want to run into the ye tax. Such is commercial real estate's insatiable demand for e's that hundreds of tech startups have been priced out the market, hence Flickr, Pixlr, Tumblr, Scribd, et al.
    – choster
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 22:22
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    Where have you seen Americans use centre? Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 3:31
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    The answer to the question (like the answer to most "what are the rules questions, here) is that there is no rule. Most AmE speakers and writers use what most other AmE speakers and writers use, most of the time - and that happens to be center. That's all.
    – Drew
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 22:04

2 Answers 2


Are there any rules as to when which should be used among Americans?

In American English, after the spelling reforms of Webster, center is not spelled centre.

Names are capitalized proper nouns and are free to be spelled in any way.

eg: The Town Centre Mall is the mall in the center of town.

  • Already checked but -1 for not noting that the use is specifically archaic or a specific attempt to class up the joint.
    – lly
    Commented Feb 26 at 12:56

Those who use "centre" in everyday writing are usually from abroad or write for The New Yorker.

  • Is there we have a discussion about, relative to the US, whether Canada is abroad or not? Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 22:04
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    The New Yorker (notoriously) has a style guide; they don't just let people write "centre" or "center" based on personal preferences. I can't find any evidence that the current New Yorker style guide calls for "centre" to be used in more circumstances than is usual for an American publication (basically, all the results for "centre" that I found from an online search of their site are in proper nouns, aside from a few examples from the 1940s).
    – herisson
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 22:16
  • Side point: The comment above tacking a "citation needed" on the New Yorker slam is hilarious. It's very obviously intended towards the kind of people who pretend to read the New Yorker and is precisely on point. That half-assed gesture towards class is precisely the origin of any American use of the spelling 'centre'.
    – lly
    Commented Feb 26 at 13:00

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