Difference between Program and Programme

Key difference: The simplest answer is that they are both the same; there is no real difference between the two. The reason for two different spellings is that American English uses ‘program’, whereas UK English generally uses ‘programme’.

The simplest answer is that they are both the same; there is no real difference between the two. The reason for two different spellings is that American English uses ‘program’, whereas UK English generally uses ‘programme’. However, as is always the case, there are exceptions to this rule.

The word ‘program’ or ‘programme’ can be used to refer to a variety of things. This includes a computer program, which are a set of instruction given to the computer to accomplish something. The terms can also be used to refer to a plan of action, or a schedule of activities, procedures, etc. The terms can also be used in reference to a radio or television production, as well as, a list of items, pieces, performers, etc. in a musical, theatrical, or other entertainment. Furthermore, the terms can also refer to a planned, coordinated group of activities, procedures, etc., often for a specific purpose, such as a drug rehabilitation program, or an undergraduate program.

So, when to use ‘program’ and when to use ‘programme’?

In Americas, the term ‘program’ is used for all definitions. The word ‘programme’ will be considered as incorrect or inappropriate in American English. Canadians follow the Americas in this regard. In UK English, however, the term ‘programme’ is used predominantly. It is in fact used for all instances except in relation to a computer program, where the term ‘program’ is preferred. New Zealand follows its parent UK in this regard.

Australians, on the other hand, officially use the word ‘program’ for all instances, or rather they should. While, the official stance is that the term ‘program’ be used in all context, the reality is that majority of people are more comfortable with the term, ‘programme’, hence in practicality ‘programme’ is commonly used.

Comparison between Program and Programme:

 

Program

Programme

Definition

  • A planned series of future events, items, or performances
  • A set of related measures, events, or activities with a particular long-term aim
  • A sheet or booklet giving details of items or performers at an event or performance
  • A presentation or item on radio or television, especially one broadcast regularly between stated times
  • A radio or television service or station providing a regular succession of programs on a particular frequency; a channel
  • A series of coded software instructions to control the operation of a computer or other machine
  • A planned series of future events or performances
  • A set of related measures or activities with a particular long-term aim
  • A sheet or booklet giving details of items or performers at an event or performance
  • An item broadcast between stated times on radio or television
  • A radio or television channel.

 

Description

Same usage as programme, except it is always computer program and never computer programme.

Same usage as program, except it is always computer program and never computer programme.

Usage

American English

UK English

Examples

  • This TV program is really great.
  • The event day had several programs to choose from.
  • We must program this TV.
  • This computer program is great.
  • They programmed the machine several times.
  • This TV programme is really great.
  • The event day had several programmes to choose from.

 

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