Endeavors or Endeavours – What’s the Difference?

History is replete with heroes and would-be heroes going to extraordinary lengths to achieve lofty goals. Many of them did not actually succeed, but their travails have been recorded as a monument to human determination and ingenuity.

In English, we might call such attempts endeavors. Or would we call them endeavours?

What is the correct spelling or endeavor? Let’s take a look.

What is the Difference Between Endeavors and Endeavours?

In this article, I will compare endeavors vs. endeavours. I will outline when each spelling is correct, and I will use each spelling in example sentences.

Plus, at the end, I will use a mnemonic device to show you an easy way to choose endeavours or endeavors.

When to Use Endeavors

Definition of endeavours definition of endeavors definitionWhat does endeavor mean? Endeavors is a plural noun. It means attempts, especially the arduous, time-consuming ones.

For example,

  • To assist him in his endeavors, Mr. Eccleston hired a cavalcade of analysts.
  • I’m sorry that I cannot help you, but I wish you well in your future endeavors.
  • Planning a trip to track gorillas is an intricate endeavor. –New York Post

Endeavor is the American English spelling of the word. If you are writing to a primarily American audience, you will want to use this spelling.

When to Use Endeavours

Define endeavours and define endeavorsWhat does endeavour mean? Endeavours is the British English spelling of the same word. It has the same meaning, applies to all the same contexts, and carries the same conversational risks.

For example,

  • The contestants were mentored by the people who’d nurtured the musical endeavours of Westlife, Ozzy Osbourne and, er, Zig and Zag – Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell respectively – and who would repeatedly tell them that the key was working hard and trying their best every week. –The Guardian

The following chart shows the usage of endeavours vs. endeavors in British English,

how to spell endeavour or endeavor

Endeavours has a lead, though both words have declined sharply in usage since the turn of the 19th century.

This graph shows the same words as used in American English

endeavors versus endeavours

Here, the situation is reversed, but both words have still declined in usage.

These graphs are not exhaustive in their scops, since they only examine books published in English since 1800. Still, they clearly demonstrate a long-term usage trend.

Trick to Remember the Difference

You should spell this word as endeavors when writing for a predominantly American audience. For an audience of mostly British readers, spell it endeavours instead.

This is an easy rule to remember. Endeavours, like many British spelling variants, has an extra U. The same U can be found at the beginning of United Kingdom, giving us a simple memory trick to separate endeavours from endeavors in writing.

This rule applies to other American, British spelling differences, such as color-colour, honor-honour, labor-labour, favor-favour, etc.

Summary

Is it endeavors or endeavours? Endeavors and endeavours are the American and British variants, respectively, of a plural noun that refers to effortful or time-consuming attempts to do something.

  • Endeavors is the American version of this word.
  • Endeavours is the British version.

Endeavours, with its extra U, is standard in the United Kingdom, which also has a U in it. The shared letter is your clue for the proper usage context of the word endeavours.

[i]
[i]