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Defence vs. Defense: When to Use Defense or Defence in English


Defence vs. defense! When it comes to words that are spelled almost the same, with one different letter only, sometimes the answer is that one of the words is British, while the other one is American. That’s the case with defence and defense. Both spellings are acceptable but each is more widely used in a specific part of the world.

Defence vs. Defense

DEFENSE is an American word and DEFENCE is British. So, when you see a sentence like “The enemy was attacking us but our defensedefence was strong enough to stop him”, you can use one of the two words with confidence. You only need to remember where the audience you are writing your text for is from.

Many other words can be formed from defense or defence but, interestingly enough, this difference in spelling doesn’t stay in all of the cases. For example, there isn’t such a word as “defencive” or “defencible”: when these suffixes are added, both British and American people spell the words with a “s”, i.e. defensive, defensible.

When an American person is talking about sports, you might hear him use defense as a verb. Some style guides say that this isn’t the correct usage of the word but still, since many native speakers use it, you can, too. There’s nothing wrong with saying something like, “Our team defenses the opponent’s attack”. However, if you want to be correct according to all the style guides, it’s better to use “defend against” instead of “defense” when you need a verb.

Defence vs. Defense Examples

  • The defence budget was still growing.
  • Britain has allied itself with other western powers for trade and defence.
  • The government is trying to save £1 million on defence.
  • I’ve never played in a defence position.
  • The team has a strong attack, but its defence is weak.
  • They finally cracked the defence and scored a goal.
  • He realized none of his schoolmates would come to his defense.
  • Our defense should be strengthened.
  • Twenty eight percent of the federal budget is spent on defense.
  • The secretary of defense briefed the president on the enemy’s strength.
  • He was the then secretary of Defense.
  • A thick overcoat is a good defense against the cold.

Defense or Defence: What’s the Difference? | Picture

British and American English: Difference between Defence vs. Defense

Defence vs. Defense

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