The Distinction Between Labor and Labour

When some individuals from the United States pursued a distinctly American version of the English language, one of the alterations they opted for was simplifying the spelling of certain words to better reflect the way they are commonly pronounced by American speakers.

Whether this endeavor was commendable or even fruitful is not within the realm of this article, but one of the outcomes of this movement is a plethora of spelling disparities between American and British English.

One such disparity can be observed in the words "labor" and "labour." Although the term has multiple meanings and two different spellings, determining whether to use "labor" or "labour" is quite straightforward.

What Sets Labor and Labour Apart?

Within this piece, I will delve into the disparity between these two terms. I will provide a sentence utilizing each word. Additionally, I will explain a practical mnemonic device that can assist you in deciding whether to use "labour" or "labor" in your writing.

labor versus labour

When to Utilize Labor

What does "labor" signify? "Labor" is the American English spelling of this term. It can function as both a noun and a verb.

As a noun, "labor" is synonymous with work or effort, as demonstrated in the following examples:

  • The mechanic invoiced me for both the parts and the labor.
  • After several years of grueling labor, the bridge was finally completed.
  • Napa County is refining a construction policy for its $16.8 million inmate reentry facility, with several objectives in mind – how to prevent strikes and an expanding budget while encouraging the recruitment of local labor. – Napa Valley Register

Frequently, though not always, it refers to arduous physical work, as indicated by the phrase "manual labor."

On occasion, "labor" is employed to describe a stage in the process of childbirth. The following sentence exemplifies the typical usage of "labor" in this sense:

  • The expectant woman went into labor while in the taxi.

As a verb, "labor" once again functions as a synonym for work. It is a regular verb and can be conjugated into different tenses by adding "-ed" and "-ing."

Consider the following examples:

  • I labored from sunrise to sunset under the scorching sun to complete this year's harvest on time.
  • Upon my arrival, the workers were laboring under the foreman's merciless authority.

When to Utilize Labour

Definition of labor definition of labour definition

What does "labour" signify? "Labour" is the preferred spelling of this term in British English. It encompasses all the same meanings as its American counterpart.

In the case of one of the prominent British political parties, it also serves as a proper noun. See the examples below:

  • The Labour Party is currently experiencing a period of significant internal unrest.
  • Jeremy Corbyn has emerged victorious in the Labour leadership contest, receiving an overwhelming 84% of constituency nominations in the final tally. – The Guardian

Memorization Technique for Distinguishing

Discover a clever method to engrave in your mind the dissimilarity between labour and labor in your writing.

Labour and labor are indeed the same term. Yet, American English leans towards labor, while British English embraces labour as their standard convention.

Define labour and define labor

To ensure you employ labour when addressing British audiences, seize upon the U featured in both labour and United Kingdom. Whenever these words intertwine in your thoughts, you will effortlessly recall that labour is the favored expression in British English.

Essence Recap

Which should you choose: labor or labour? There exist numerous variations in spelling between British and American English, with labor and labour serving as a prime demonstration.

In American English, labor prevails while British English has solidified labour. Diverse interpretations accompany this term, but they are shared across both spellings.

By cherishing the U present in both labour and United Kingdom, you will consistently opt for labour when engaging British audiences.

To recap,

  • In American English, employ labor.
  • In British English, utilize labour.
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