I set my input source to be US English. And the flag showing on the taskbar is also an American flag.

But whenever I type something in Mail.app or Notes.app the spell check still corrects my spelling to British English:

  • e.g. it highlights my "organize" and suggest s"organise".

Please, how to make my Mac (OS X 10.8) an American?

7 Answers 7


For OS X 10.8:

System Preferences > Languages & Text > Text > Spelling

image of control

Or for OS X 10.9 and later:

System Preferences > Keyboard > Text > Spelling


To add to what gentmatt said, in the case you need to keep "Automatic by Language" because you happen to write in different languages, click on "Set Up…" in the list shown for the Spelling option.


On the dialog box that appears, you can change the order for the languages. In my case, this is the order I chose.


Now, I can write organize, and the word is not corrected, nor do I get a suggestion for writing organise. (It happens that organise is shown as incorrect.)

  • and for snow lep? Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 19:13
  • 3
    In Mavericks, you can get there via System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text -> Spelling (or Language & Region -> Keyboard Preferences -> Text -> Spelling).
    – djc
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 10:01
  • Thank you, this one is the answer I was looking for as a non-native English speaker/user.
    – karni
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:25
  • 1
    Wow! The "Set up..." for this is well hidden! Commented May 28, 2021 at 9:24

In Mavericks (10.9):

System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text -> Spelling


System Preferences -> Language & Region -> Keyboard Preferences -> Text -> Spelling

  • This should be a comment or an edit adding to a previous answer as it is the same just via a different menu route
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 15:46
  • 3
    Actually, it was helpful to me having this as a separate answer as the previous answer references the non-existent (in Mavericks) UX path "System Preferences → Languages & Text → Text → Spelling" path.
    – easyE
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 7:47

Autocorrect with multiples languages (automatic by language) in Mavericks is broken. It does not underline all the bad written words. I have to select only 1 language to get it properly working.

  • Evidence? I'm not finding this to be the case. Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 13:23

Building on the other answers, in Ventura this is now located in

System Settings > Keyboard > Input Methods : Edit... > Automatic by Language > Set Up...

This can also be changed using the command line with :

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSPreferredSpellServers '((en,Apple),("en_GB",Apple),(fr, Apple),(es, Apple))'

where the part between ' quotes is a list of the languages you want to spell check, in order.

You can use

defaults read NSGlobalDomain NSPreferredSpellServers

to show the current list of languages before changing it.

System Settings

System Settings > Keyboard

System Settings > Keyboard > Input Method Set Up

List of Languages

(Sorry for the French screenshots :) ).

  • That has worked perfectly for me. Thanks a lot!
    – Denis
    Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 6:24

What worked for me is:

Go to "System Preferences" -> "Language & Region".

Under "Preferred languages" add "English (US)" and remove "English".

This changed the spell checking from British English to American English.

  • Regardless of what you have set in Preferred Languages, spellcheck in Apple apps can be set to either US or UK English, or French, or Spanish or whatever via System Preferences > Keyboard > Text > Spelling (or in the app via Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Show Spelling and Grammar Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 20:16

These answers were great for the most part but have slowly aged out of date after ten years. I'm currently on Mojave 10.14.6 here. The global option remains in the Text section of the Keyboard preference pane but that section has mostly been taken over by text expansion. Spelling has moved so here's a couple of screenshots to pilot you in:

Keyboard Text Preference Pane Mojave 10.14.6

Set spelling language expanded

One can set multiple languages. Here's the ones I have set:

Set multiple languages via checkbox Mojave 10.14.6

You can also change the language for spelling while in an application.

setting the spelling language from within in an application

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