You’ve noticed it. It’s hard not to. They’re everywhere. The more you read, the more you see – the extra u’s. You may have seen them in words such as colour, humour or behaviour. The truth is this: a long time ago Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster argued over spelling. Yes, yes, Noah Webster was the Webster of Webster’s Dictionary; however, he was the one that wanted to keep the extra u’s in words such as favour and honour! Benjamin Franklin was actually the one that proposed the u’s be dropped. Webster basically scoffed and said we must “speak our language with propriety and elegance as we have it”, or whatever. Franklin laughed, published his ideas, ordered a custom type font and continued to be brilliant.
Thankfully, by 1789, Webster saw the light and changed his mind about the new spellings and by the time he published his first dictionary in 1806, he had dropped the extra u’s altogether. I, for one, am glad Franklin was around to talk some sense into Webster. Or else I would labour over my endeavours rigourously without humour or flavour. And we wouldn’t want that. Be sure to check out the list of weirdly spelled British words on Daily Writing Tips!