Nana or Nanna – Which Spelling Is Correct?

There are many words in the English language that have similar spelling and pronunciation but different meanings. Many writers believe the words nana or nanna have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. But, is this grammatically correct? Lucky for you, this post will give you that answer. In this post, we will answer the age-old question, how do you spell nana?

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Which Is Correct: Nana or Nanna?

image showing the difference between the spelling nana vs nanna

Just like the words hon & hun, nana and nanna are spelled just one letter apart! Both of these terms are also used as a term of endearment to refer to one’s grandmother. This makes it even harder for new writers to pick the correct spelling.

However, both spellings can be used correctly. In British English, nana is the more popular spelling. In American English, nanna is the more popular spelling. As you will see, there are many words that differ slightly between British & American Grammar rules.

Takeaway: Both Nanna & Nana are colloquial terms that mean grandma & can be used interchangeably in your writing.

How To Use Nana In Your Writing

As we already explained, the nickname “Nana” is a fun, endearing way to refer to one’s grandmother. Just like with the words Auntie & Aunty, nana and nanna are both terms of endearment used to refer to loved family members!

  • I really love my Nana!
  • Steve’s Nanna is my best friend in the world.

The word nana conveys emotions such as love, warmth, and affection. Be sure to capitalize Nana or Nanna when using it as a proper noun.

This nickname carries a lot of weight & can add emphasis to how special your Grandmother is to you. Here are some example sentences to issustrate the use of nana or nanna.

  1. Mark’s Nana always makes sense when she gives me advice.
  2. My Nanna always gives the best presents around Christmas time!
  3. My Nanna’s sole mission is to save my brother from making any stupid mistakes.

Just like we saw in our analysis of the word stoaked, small spelling changes can totally change a word. Luckily Nana and Nanna have identical meanings.

“Nana” Origin

Most people believe that the name nana originates from the Italian word for grandma, Nonma. However, others believe that this name has a Germanic origin. More specifically, they believe Nanna is a Norse name of a goddess. Norse was the daughter of Nepr and the mother of Forseti in Germanic history.

Nana Or Nanna Pronunciation

There are many homophones in the English language like pedalling & pedaling. Both nana and nanna are homophones. This means that they have the same pronunciation!

Which Is More Popular?

image of google ngram data for the words nanna and nana

After looking at Google’s n-gram data it is clear that writers use the spelling nana more frequently. This is probably because nana is a far more common nickname in England. Whereas kids in the US refer to their grandmother as grandma.

However, just like we saw in our analysis of the words Vagrant & Hobo, popularity often changes. So who knows, maybe in a few decades nanna will be the common way to refer to one’s grandmother!

Other Ways To Say Nana or Nanna

Aside from nana or nanna, here are some other popular ways to refer to your grandmother.

  • Granny
  • Grandma
  • Mum
  • Nan
  • Grannie

Remember, just like the words brung, Nana is an informal term and should not be used in formal writing contexts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do you call Nanna?

Nanna is a common nickname for one’s grandmother. You can also spell nana with one n to refer to your grandmother. Both spellings are technically correct. In fact, many times people use both spellings to refer to their grandmothers in the same family.

What is English Nana?

In English, you nana is the mother of your father or mother. In other words, it is your grandmother. In Australia, the Macquarie dictionary also uses the spelling nana. However, in British English, the spelling nanna is often used.

Why is Grandma called Nana?

The word nana originates from the Italian word for grandmother, Nonma. Over time, this has turned into the nickname Nana & is often used by kids to refer to their grandmother or nanny.

What country uses Nanna?

In Bangladesh, Pakistan, and many parts of India the word Nanna is very commonly used. However, it is used by kids around the world to refer to their grandma.

Final Thoughts

By now you should have a firm understanding on how to choose between nana or nanna. These are both informal words that can be used to refer to your mother or grandmother. When used as a nickname, both spellings can be used! However, the spelling nana is more common in British English. If you are struggling with this grammar rule, consider using our reword tool to correct your writing in seconds.