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‘Specialty’ or ‘Speciality’: How to Spell it Correctly?

Shaun Connell
February 12, 2024

If you need to know whether the correct spelling is 'specialty' or 'speciality,' this guide will help!

If you are in a hurry, here is a brief overview: 

  • 'Specialty' is the correct spelling of the English noun defined as a distinctive quality, trait, or mark.
  • 'Speciality' is the British English spelling of 'specialty.'

There is a lot more to learn about these spelling variations. So, keep reading to learn exactly when to use each.

Is the Correct Spelling 'Specialty' or 'Speciality?'

Between 'specialty' vs. 'speciality,' the first spelling is generally considered correct. However, there are times when the second version is preferred.

  • 'Specialty' is created by adding the ty suffix to special. 

When writing English words that end in you sometimes use the ity suffixfor example:

  • Reality - The state or quality of being real
  • Totality - The state or quality of being total
  • Vitality - Having lively or animated qualities
  • Vocality - Resembling or having the characteristics of a voice
  • Orality - Involving or given through the mouth
  • Ovality - Having the shape of an oval or being oval-shaped

There are some exceptions when the ty suffix is correct, like:

  • Severalty - The state of being several
  • Casualty - Someone who dies in an accident or military engagement
  • Cruelty - The quality or state of being cruel
  • Loyalty - The state of quality of being loyal
  • Faculty - The cognitive ability of the mind or the student and administrative body of a school or educational institution
  • Penalty - The act of punishment or the punishment applicable to an offense or crime
  • Novelty - The characteristic of being new or surprising
  • Royalty - The characteristic of being regal or bearing nobility

In the United States, the correct spelling is 'specialty.' However, in British English-speaking countries 'speciality' is correct.

Definition of 'Specialty': What Does 'Specialty' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'specialty' is a noun that means:

  • A distinctive quality or mark
  • A special object or group of objects, such as a legal agreement within a sealed instrument
  • A product of special excellence
  • The state or quality of being unique, special, distinctive, or recognizable
  • A field in which someone specializes

We will also look at the definitions of the adjective and suffix used to make this word to gain a better understanding of the meaning.

Definition of 'Special'

'Special' is defined as an adjective that means:

  • Distinguishable by a unique quality
  • Being superior in some way
  • Other than routine or regular
  • Designed for a unique purpose

'Special' can also be a noun that means:

  • Something used for a specific task, service, or occasion
  • Something that is not part of regular or routine programming
  • A unique or featured dish at a diner or restaurant

Definition of 'Ty' Suffix

The 'ty' suffix is defined as:

  • A noun suffix used that means degree, condition, or quality

Definition of 'Speciality': What Does 'Speciality' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also defines 'speciality' as a noun that means:

  • A special skill or aptitude
  • A special or unique skill or quality
  • Something a person specializes in

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Specialty'

Understanding how to pronounce 'specialty' should help you learn how to pronounce other words ending in ty. 

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'specialty':


Additionally, here is a guide for pronouncing the alternative spelling 'speciality,' which should help you learn how to say other words ending with ity.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'speciality':


Writing Tips: When and How to Use 'Specialty'

Here are some tips for using 'specialty' and speciality' which are the only two acceptable spellings.

  • Use 'specialty' to refer to an object with uniqueness.

As an example, I might say:

Please order our specialty exotic perfumes today because they will not be in stock for long. 

  • Use 'specialty' when you are discussing a field of interest.

For example, you could say:

The doctor's specialty is reconstructive plastic surgery. However, he works as a general surgeon. 

  • Use 'speciality' when you are speaking to British English audiences.

So, you can say:

His favourite subject in high school was science. So, it is not surprising that his speciality is in the field of medicine. 

  • As a freelance writer, if you work with clients that publish content for audiences in Europe or Canada, it is important to review your style guide to verify if the customer wants you to use the United States or British English style.

Sample Sentences Using 'Specialty' or 'Speciality'

Next, read through the sample sentences below using the acceptable spellings 'specialty' and 'speciality.'


  • Our line of specialty cosmetic products will hit shelves on the 21st of January.
  • My father's specialty is Italian food, and his secret weapon is a recipe book that his great-grandmother brought from Italy more than ninety years ago.
  • Everyone appreciates a carefully selected specialty gift from a friend or loved one.
  • Good morning. Would you like to try a specialty delight for breakfast?


  • The student's speciality is writing prompts for younger writers.
  • If you enjoy writing greeting cars or speeches you should focus on building a portfolio of clients with those specialities.
  • Her speciality in preventative medicine helped her patients live longer, more fulfilling lives.
  • Have you ever considered a speciality in veterinary medicine?

Recap: Is 'Specialty' or 'Speciallty' Correct

Finally, here is a review of what you learned about whether 'specialty' or 'speciality' is correct:

  • 'Specialty' is the correct spelling of the English term that means having the quality of being special. 
  • 'Speciality' is the correct spelling of the British English equivalent of 'specialty.' 

As a writer, using the correct spelling of words like 'specialty' is vital to a successful freelance career. So, if you want to improve your writing skills and land high-paying projects you enjoy, constantly educating yourself is crucial.

On this site, you will find dozens of helpful grammar lessons, as well as guides for building an impressive writing portfolio, pitching to editors, and many other topics. So, read a couple more posts before you go, and come back frequently to stay up-to-date on industry changes and standards.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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