Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

curb and kerb - the difference

The Quick Answer
To curb means to control or to limit. It is spelt the same way in British and American English.

When the word curb/kerb means the edging of a pavement (or a sidewalk), it is spelt curb in the US and Canada, but kerb outside North America.

Curb

The verb to curb means to control or to limit.

For example:
  • We must curb our spending next month.
  • The US will curb its influence over the next decade.
Even though it's not very common, there is a corresponding noun too. It means something that limits or controls.

For example:
  • It will be a curb on spending.
In this US, curb is used for the stone edging of a pavement (i.e. sidewalk). In British English, that word is spelt kerb.

Kerb

Americans don't need to worry about the word kerb. It doesn't exist in American English. However, for Brits, kerb is the stone edging of a pavement. For example:
  • She tripped over the curb. ()    ()
  • She tripped over the kerb. ()    ()
In this US, curb is used for the stone edging of a pavement (i.e. sidewalk). In British English, that word is spelt kerb.
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