Grammar 6 min read

Is it Acknowledgement or Acknowledgment? Which Spelling is Correct?

Main Takeaways:

  • Both acknowledgement and acknowledgment are correct, depending on your geographic location.
  • It’s usually spelled without the “e” in North America, where American English is the norm.
  • In regions such as the UK that use British English, acknowledgement is spelled using the middle “e.”
  • Acknowledgment has several different definitions that help shape usage.
  • Acknowledgment letters are used in professional and legal settings to let the sender know their message has been received.

You’re happily typing away, and suddenly you freeze. Is it acknowledgement or acknowledgment? Is there an “e” or not?! Deep breaths, buddy. We’ve all been there, and we’ve finally put together a how-to guide that lays the groundwork for untold grammar success. Answers to all your acknowledgment questions are coming in 3, 2, 1…

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A man wearing a white shirt with the British flag printed on it while holding a tea cup. Above him is the word acknowledgement spelled with letter e between g and m. Across him is a man wearing an American flag-inspired cap and white sando printed with the U.S. flag. Above him is the word acknowledgment spelled without letter e in between g and m.
Both acknowledgement and acknowledgment are correct. The former is commonly used in regions using British English, while the latter is the spelling favored by countries using American English.

Is it Acknowledgement or Acknowledgment?

Choosing between acknowledgement or acknowledgment comes down to one little “e.” When you transition from “acknowledge” to acknowledgement, do you keep the “e” or chuck it? In the United States and Canada, the verbs that end in “e” lose that letter once the “-ment” is added. In other regions, such as the United Kingdom, the “e” stays.

So both acknowledgement and acknowledgment are technically correct. Which one you choose to use will depend on how closely you want to follow your geographical standard and, perhaps, who your audience is.

Here’s an easy way to remember it:

  • In the UK, the “e” is here to stay. (“UK” and “stay” rhyme!)
  • In Canada and the US, the extra “e” makes a mess. (“US” and “mess” rhyme!)

How to Spell Acknowledgment

So now that we know the difference between acknowledgement and acknowledgment, we know that spelling depends on where you live. It may also depend on where your audience lives.

If you’re in the US or Canada and want to conform to the norm, spell acknowledgment without the “e.” When you’re anywhere else in the world and want to conform to the local standard, leave the “e” alone.

If you’re writing for a foreign audience, consider using the form they’re most familiar with. This is especially important in marketing or online writing, where you’re trying to make the audience feel comfortable. It’s also key in journalism or academic work, when there may be outside expectations placed on your grammar skills and spelling abilities.
Text reads: What is the difference between acknowledgement and acknowledgment? There are two images. First image shows a British goalkeeper catching a soccer ball with a letter
The letter “e” after “g” in the word acknowledgement is usually dropped in American English-speaking countries like the United States and most parts of North America.

How do you use Acknowledgment in a Sentence?

Good question! You might say something like, “With his acknowledgment of his role in the oil spill, Mr. Sweeney accepted guilt and helped pave the way for industry-wide changes.” Or, you might say, “Bertha’s CEO handed out an award in acknowledgment of her incredible sales record.” Which usage you choose depends on what you’re trying to say. That, in turn, depends on which acknowledgment definition you’re utilizing.

Let’s backtrack and look at what acknowledg(e)ment means. There are several possibilities:

Acceptance of something that exists or of someone else’s feelings or beliefs.

I acknowledged she felt betrayed but explained that it wasn’t my intent.

Demonstrating that you’ve seen or otherwise noticed the work or action of something else or the presence of an object.

Sam acknowledged the new work of art hanging on her grandma’s wall with an appreciative smile.

Expressing thanks or recognizing the work and/or accomplishments of an individual.

At Friday’s assembly, Principal Lu gave out awards in acknowledgment of students with perfect attendance.

Confirmation that you’ve received or seen something.

I sent back a short email as acknowledgment of her original message.

What is an Acknowledgment Letter?

A letter of acknowledgment falls under the last definition. It’s a way to let the recipient know that you’ve seen or at least received their paperwork or original note. It’s commonly used in professional settings, such as a landlord who received a potential resident’s application information. The same type of letter is also used in legal situations to provide written proof of both parties’ communication.

Acknowledgment letters are often brief. They may include just a date, a sentence or two confirming receipt and detailing what the item received is, and a sign-off. It may also have instructions on what steps come next.
Dear Ms. Ramirez,

We received your application for placement in our Ph.D. program. Your information has been passed on to the candidate committee, and we’ll let you know in 4-6 weeks when a decision has been made.

Thank you for your interest,

Dean Whittaker

More Examples of Acknowledgment in a Sentence

Whew! Now that we have all those details out of the way, let’s take a look at more sample sentences.

All I wanted was some kind of acknowledgment for doing my best.
The firm was big on team acknowledgment, including annual awards, dinners, and monthly bonuses.
The mortgage company sent out a formal letter in acknowledgment of the homeowner’s refinance request.
A quick nod was all the acknowledgment I could muster since I had no desire to strike up a conversation.
The tribute was a moving acknowledgment of everything the legendary philanthropist had contributed to the society.
I did it because it was the right thing to do, not because I wanted any acknowledgment.

Of course, this discussion goes beyond acknowledgement vs. acknowledgment. Acknowledge, acknowledged, and acknowledging are all useful words to help express everything from acceptance to recognition. Luckily, the “e” isn’t in dispute with those. Phew!

Quick Quiz About Acknowledgement and Acknowledgment

Acknowledgement or Acknowledgment Question #1

“Acknowledgment” and “acknowledgement” are both technically correct.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is TRUE. Both “acknowledgement” and “acknowledgment” are correct, depending on your geographic location.

Acknowledgement vs. Acknowledgment Question #2

Which of these is the accepted spelling in the U.S. and Canada?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is A. Use this mnemonic to remember: in Canada and the U.S., the extra “e” makes a mess. (“U.S.” and “mess” rhyme!)

Acknowledgement vs. Acknowledgment Question #3

Which of these is considered the acceptable spelling in the U.K.?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. Use this mnemonic to remember: in the U.K., the “e” is here to stay. (“U.K.” and “stay” rhyme!)

Acknowledgment Question #4

Which of these is the definition of “acknowledgment”?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is D. Usage of these definitions depends on what you’re trying to say.

Acknowledgement or Acknowledgment
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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

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