‘Catalog' vs 'Catalogue': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 3, 2023

If you're wondering what the difference is between 'catalog' vs 'catalogue,' you've come to the right place. In this article, you'll learn the difference between the two and when to use each word.

In short, 'catalog' is the American spelling, and 'catalogue' is the British spelling.

What's the Difference Between 'Catalog' vs' Catalogue?'

This word is just one of many words that has two different spellings. Which one should you use? That depends on where in the world you are. If you're based in the United States or writing for an audience in the US, use 'catalog.'

If you're based in the United Kingdom or are writing for an audience based in the UK, use 'catalogue.'

In general, the American spelling is the one closest to how a word sounds; unnecessary letters are avoided. Some other examples include:

I bet you can guess which ones are the American spellings!

'Catalog' Definition

Now we've clarified the spelling, from now I'll use the spelling 'catalog' since we're a US-based site.

So what does the word actually mean? Well, firstly, it can be either a noun or a verb.

As a noun, a catalog is a book that lists all the items available in a store. These were especially prevalent before the internet became popular, but they are certainly still widely used.

As a verb, to catalog is to record things in the form of a list or in a database.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Catalog' vs 'Catalogue'

Now let's find out how to pronounce the word' catalog.' The International Phonetics Alphabet spells it like this:

:ˈkætəlɒg

And it sounds like this:

[ kat-l-awg ]

The exact same applies to the pronunciation of 'catalogue.'

When to Use 'Catalog'

Let's take a look at some examples now of 'catalog' in a sentence so that you can see the word used in context. We'll start with the word as a noun:

The enrollment process for each university is stated in the catalog.

These photo albums are like a catalog of wild nights in Dublin.

You can get our catalog in the print in-store or download it from our website.

They've just released their Spring/Summer catalog, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

The best way to find the books you're looking for is to search the digital catalog.

And now for some examples of the verb 'to catalog.'

I've cataloged the band's songs and rated them all out of 5.

He's trying to catalog all the bird species he's spotted in the region onto a public database so everyone can access it.

In this office, most of the day is spent cataloging.

The art supplies are cataloged according to the artist's level of experience.

This is the first sighting of this species; we should catalog it immediately!

The Bottom Line for 'Catalog' vs 'Catalogue'

So there you have it; the difference between 'catalog' and 'catalogue' depends on where you're based. In summary:

  • If you're in the US, use 'catalog'
  • If you're in the UK, use 'catalogue'

And if you'd like to learn about more confusing words, check out our blog.

Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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