‘Orientated' or 'Oriented': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on December 7, 2022

Are you wondering whether to say 'orientated' or 'oriented'? Or whether they even mean the same thing. If so, you're in the right place; we'll explain it all in this article.

In short, 'orientated' is more common in British English and 'oriented' is more common in American English.

They both mean the same thing.

What Is the Definition of 'Orientated' or 'Oriented'?

These two words come from the verb 'to orient,' which is a verb that refers to position.

You might want to figure out your position in relation to something. Maybe you have to orient yourself if you just came off a spinny rollercoaster or if you took a daytime nap and can't remember where you are when you wake up.

The need to orient yourself implies a sensation of being a little lost or thrown off. It means you need a minute to gather your bearings.

It can also mean to direct something towards a particular group or to help someone find their way around a new place.

'Orientated' and 'oriented' are both past participles of the verb 'to orient.'

The noun form is 'orientation.'

There's also the word 'disorientated' or 'disoriented,' which means the opposite of 'orientated’/’oriented.'

'Orientated' vs. 'Oriented'

The choice between 'orientated' or 'oriented' depends on a few things. First of all, where you're based, and second, who you're writing for/speaking to. That's because they're the same word and have the same meaning.

They are not to be confused with homophones like 'Wether' or 'Weather,' which sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things. Nor are they homographs like 'bow' and 'bow,' which are spelled the same but sound different and have different meanings.

These two words are separate words that are spelled differently yet have the same meaning.

American Vs. British Spelling

You can use these both interchangeably. Neither is wrong. But it's worth noting that 'orientated' is more commonly used in British English. Therefore, if you're based in the U.S., or you're learning American English, or your audience is American, you'd be better off using 'oriented.'

Usually, with British and American spelling face-offs, the American spelling is the simplest one or the one that looks most like the word is pronounced.

This is because Noah Webster - who is largely responsible for the standardization of the spelling of American words - decided that the simpler, the better.

Some common examples of this are:

Examples in Context

So now we've clarified the correct usage of 'orientated' and 'oriented,' and we've covered the meaning of the words; let's look at some examples of sentences that use them.

Writingtips.org is oriented toward adult learners of English.

This weekend is dedicated to orienting the new students around campus.
It took me a few minutes to get oriented after I woke up from my nap.

She stepped outside the airport and oriented herself before heading to the cab rank.

Our content must be better oriented toward our target audience.

We prefer practically oriented activities here.

Concluding Thoughts on 'Orientated' Vs. 'Oriented'

To summarize, 'orientated' and 'oriented' are both acceptable words and mean the same thing. One is more suitable in American English - 'oriented,' and one is more suited to British English - 'orientated.'

If you'd like to learn about more American vs. British spellings, or other confusing words, visit our blog.

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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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