‘Programme' vs 'Program': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 13, 2023

Is there a difference between 'programme' vs 'program'? Are both words correct? If so, what do they mean? That's what today's article will cover.

In short, both words mean the same thing. 'Program' is the preferred spelling in American English, and 'programme' is preferred in British English, except in computing contexts, where you always use 'programme.'

'Programme' vs 'Program': What's the Difference?

There's no real difference between these two words since they both mean the same thing. It's just that the spelling differs from country to country. There are many words like this in the English language, including words that end in -am / -amme.

Remember, the spelling that looks the most like how a word sounds is usually the American one. In this case, it's 'program' that's preferred in American English and 'programme' in British English.

'Program' Definition

From now on, we'll use only the spelling 'program' since we've established that both spellings mean the same thing.

For starters, it's important to note that 'program' can be both a noun and a verb.

According to Etymonline, it comes from the Greek programma meaning "a written public notice."

The noun 'program' is a schedule of activities or a lineup of acts or performers at an event. It's also a service or project designed to meet a social need.

The verb 'program' means to implement something into a program, to condition someone towards certain kinds of behavior, or to write a computer program or code.

Top Tip! When used in the computing context, the word is always spelled 'program,' whether in British or American English.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Program'

The word 'program' is spelled as follows by the International Phonetic Association:


And it sounds like this:


When to Use 'Programme' and 'Program'

Now we've established that both spellings are the same word and mean the same thing, let's take a look at some example sentences. We'll start with 'program' as a noun:

We have a training program to help onboard our new interns; it starts on Monday at 9 am.

I recommend using a word program if you want to write a story.

On today's program we've got tea and coffee followed by some ice breakers.

What's the program for tomorrow evening?

We'll place you in the witness protection program so that you can't be found.

Now let's see some example sentences that use 'program' as a verb:

I've programmed my phone to switch off the blue light after sunset.

Can you program my laptop to go into sleep mode when I'm not in the office?

I can't help being a pessimist; it's been programmed into me.

Adverts are designed to program us into wanting the products.

She will program her mind to want to exercise by rewarding herself afterwards.

Top tip! "Get with the program" is a common idiom you can use to bring to someone's attention that their behavior isn't in line with what is expected of them.

The Bottom Line for 'Programme' vs 'Program'

So as you can see, 'program' and 'programme' mean the same thing. Just make sure to use 'program' if you're based in the United States and 'programme' if you're in the United Kingdom.

Visit our blog for more articles on commonly confused words and American vs British spellings.

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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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