Do you read a catalog or a catalogue? Do you catalog your files or catalogue them? Explore the difference between these two spellings and the reason for their differences, plus how to use them and in what context.
The simple answer is that both catalog and catalogue are correct. Catalog is more popular in American English, while catalogue is more widely used in British English. Catalogue is a French word that means “a list of items, usually in a particular order.” It typically refers to a list or collection of similar items, such as a catalog of items from a store.
While catalog and catalogue have the same meaning, catalog is generally more common in the U.S. and Canada or in informal writing. It can also be a noun or a verb.
She received the catalog in the mail.
The group played songs from a catalog of their greatest hits.
She made a catalog of items they needed.
As a verb, catalog means “to make a list of items” or “to sort based on subject, alphabetical order, etc.” Both catalog and catalogue can be used as a verb in this way.
The picture was cataloged in the album.
She catalogued the books in alphabetical order.
He made sure all the files were properly cataloged.
In addition to being more common in British English, catalogue might be used in more formal situations, such as referring to art.
The librarian checked the catalogue to see if the book was available.
The paintings were part of a catalogue.
They explored the recording artist's catalogue.