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Cheque vs. Check

  • Cheque and check appear in British English, and check appears in American English.
  • In British English, cheque refers to a document used to pay from a person’s account. For other contexts, Brits usually use check.

Have you seen check spelled cheque? You might have wondered whether it was a spelling error or a new word that you don’t know. Let’s look into this word and how it differs from check.

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Cheque Meaning

A cheque is a document used by an account holder to pay out funds from her account. In Australia and New Zealand, it refers to your wages. If you are American, you probably call this a check. The cheque spelling comes from France. The French spelling had some use in the United States centuries ago, but now check is standard.

A check with a U.K. address in the top left corner and a Union Jack above text that says: Cheque. A check with a U.S. address in the top left corner with an American flag above text that says: Check. An image of a young person above text that says: Czech.

Check vs. Cheque

Did you think cheque was a spelling error? If you are looking at American writing, it might be. However, if you are reading something British, chances are you’ve found an example of their word for a financial document that withdraws money from a banking account. In the US, the same document is better known as a check. Keep the difference in mind if you write for a British audience.

Here are some quotes containing check and cheque:

The youth centre, which has recently been saved from closure by STEPS the Charity, has been presented with a cheque for £1,500 by Weymouth Rotary Club.

The man was later told by his bank that someone had used a cloned check — #485 — to withdraw another $1,650 from their account, stated the deputy.

In the above quotes, you will notice that cheque and check appear in financial contexts. However, dictionaries list dozens of definitions for check. Outside of the financial world, even the United Kingdom favors the check spelling.

Here are some examples of check used in nonfinancial contexts.

A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour.
Mitch Albom,The Time Keeper

“Your king is in check,” said Woland. “Very well, very well,” responded the cat, and he began studying the chessboard through his opera glasses.
Mikhail Bulgakov,The Master and Margarita

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