Pretense vs Pretence

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What’s the difference between them?



Pretense: an attempt to make something that is not true appear true; a false show of something; a guise or pretext.


1. He put on a pretense of being happy, but his sadness was still evident.

2. The diplomatic mission was just a pretense for conducting espionage.

3. She made a pretense of understanding the terms of the contract, but she was really lost.



British English spelling for pretense.


1. She maintained a pretence of friendliness, even though she disliked him.

2. He was so good at maintaining the pretence that no one realized he wasn't being genuine.

3. His pretence of ignorance fooled no one; everyone knew he was lying.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. Feigning

2. Deception

3. Artifice

4. Dissimulation

5. Put-on

1. Honesty

2. Candor

3. Sincerity

4. Realness

5. Authenticity


1. Feigned

2. Facade

3. Disguise

4. Simulation

5. Artifice

1. Reality

2. Honesty

3. Openness

4. Genuineness

5. Authenticity

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Pretense", "Pretence".

1. The primary distinction between the two words is their spelling: 'Pretense' is the American spelling and 'Pretence' is the British spelling.

2. If you are writing for an American audience, use the spelling 'Pretense.'

3. If you are writing for a British audience, use the spelling 'Pretence.'

4. If you are unsure which spelling to use, consult a dictionary.

Practice English with the Promova app and avoid misusing confusing words

Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word be used?

Pretense is typically used when someone is trying to make something that is false or untrue appear true. It can be used to describe someone's behaviour or attitude, for example, they may be pretending to be interested in a conversation when they are not.

When is the appropriate context for using the second word?

Pretence is the British English spelling for pretense, so it is more appropriate to use in a British English context.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

Yes, the two words share the same pronunciation.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

A common mistake people make is using the American English spelling of 'pretense' in a British English context, or vice versAdditionally, people may confuse the two words with other similar words such as 'pretext' or 'deception', which have different meanings.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. He made no _____ of his dislike for the food at the American diner.

2. The movie was shot in London, but there was a _____ that it was taking place in New York.

3. Under the _____ of studying, the teenagers were actually gossiping.

4. She accepted his explanation, but later realized it was all a _____.

5. The British author wrote a novel about a man who lived his life under the _____ of being someone else.

6. Its merely a _____; I dont think he truly believes what hes saying.

1. Pretense

Explanation: The clue American diner points to an American context, so the American spelling pretense is used.

2. Pretence

Explanation: The clue shot in London implies a British context, leading to the use of the British spelling pretence.

3. Pretense/Pretence

Explanation: Theres no specific cultural or regional clue in this sentence, so both American and British spellings are acceptable.

4. Pretense/Pretence

Explanation: This sentence does not offer a clue regarding American or British context. Thus, both spellings can be used.

5. Pretence

Explanation: The clue British author provides context, suggesting the British spelling pretence should be used.

6. Pretense/Pretence

Explanation: The sentence doesn’t have a specific regional or cultural hint, making both American and British variants correct.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.