Bob Forgets American Spelling

Neighbour or neighbor? Grey or gray? Bob just can’t figure it out.

Ryver Knight
3 min readMay 25, 2021

Hey there, neighbour!” says Bob.

Don’t you mean neighbor?

“Hey there, neighbor!” Bob corrects. “Sorry, I didn’t realise I was supposed to use American spelling.”

Realise? Ah, you mean realize. It’s alright.

“I was just about to tell you about this cheque I received yesterday. I swear, the colour of the paper kept on changing. It went from white to green to red in an instant.” He furrows his brow. “I think there’s something wrong with my eyes.”

Oh. That sounds nice, Bob. But I can’t help but point out that cheque is supposed to be check. And colour is supposed to be color.


That’s alright.

“No, it’s not alright. But it my defence, I was never really good with languages, ya know?”

It’s defense. But you’re doing really well. Go on.

“About this cheque — ”


“Yeah, about that check. I was walking down the street real fast to cash it in, right? Because it was freaking me out. And I see this guy with a giant moustache outside the ice cream store. And it’s not just any giant moustache. It’s full and grey, like he’s fluffed it up with product. And — ”

I’m really sorry. I must interrupt. It’s mustache, not moustache. And gray, not grey.

“Oh, uh, yes. Sorry.”

Continue. I was enjoying that story.

“Yeah, haha. So this guy with the giant, uh… the giant mustache.” Bob grins. “See, I got it right this time! I knew I could do it! Even if I’ve never learnt American English, it’s pretty easy to pick up — ”



Learned, Bob. It’s learned, not learnt.

Bob narrows his eyes. “I don’t appreciate your tone. I find it patronising.”


“Look, can you just quit hounding me about how everything’s spelt? I just want to tell you my story about the guy with the grey mustache, because it was really disturbing when he turned into a scoop of ice cream with fuzzy grey candy chunks inside and some kid came by and ate it—”

Spelled. Not spelt. And you messed up grey again. It’s gray. I take back what I said before. You really aren’t good at this, Bob.

“ — and the kid told me that the flavour was amazing. Told me it was his favourite flavor. It really grossed me out. And — ”

Flavor. And favorite.

“ — and I just ran out, because isn’t that what you would do in that situation? He pauses. “I mean, I guess some people might feel a bit paralysed. But I ran like my life depended on it. I never cashed in the cheque, actually. It’s just lying on my bedside table now, switching colours like crazy — ”

Colors. And check. And you messed up paralyzed, too.

Bob glares. “Stop it!”

No. You suck, Bob.

“Stop criticising me and apologise!”

It’s criticizing. And apologize. But that’s okay. Everyone has their unique strengths. Yours are just very insignificant.

“That’s not okay!”

Well —

Bob sighs. “You know what?”


“I hate you.”

I was just trying to be helpful.

“Helpful, my arse.”


“What did you just call me?” Bob shakes his head. “Screw this. I need some whisky.”



Bob has left the chat.

Hi, it’s Ryver!

As someone born in England and brought up in Canada, I always get confused with American spelling. Every time I put my work through a spellchecker, I get a gazillion different red flags for non-American spelling. Bob’s character emerged from my frustration.

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If not, leave a comment and tell me where I can improve the story. I always appreciate some good feedback.

Have a wonderful day!



Ryver Knight

Student by day, YA fantasy author by night. Obsessed with the space between dreams and reality. In love with coffee, awesome adventures, and epic music.