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This is one of the 117 mis-spellings listed as 'Common difficulties' in the section on 'Spelling' within 'Writing' in UEfAP.

Note that literature is spelled thus, with no doubled letters. Its vowels, which alternate with its consonants, are '-i', '-e-', '-a-', '-u-' and '-e-' - in that order.

Literature is a word that has two distinct meanings of relevance to current students.

  • The older sense is "creative writing of recognized artistic value", to use an on-line definition ( It is literature in this sense that is studied in Departments of English Literature, and examined at GCSE and A level in the subject of English Literature.
  • In other academic departments literature means "everything that has been written in the field", "the [recognised] writing on a given subject". It is this sense that is used in Literature Review. Here it implies two things: first, that the writing we are talking about is in some sense 'respectable', worth reading for academic study; and second, that it is probably therefore quite technical and specialised. It does not necessarily imply any "artistic value".
Note that the adjective literary is only properly applied to literature in the first of these meanings. A 'Literary Review' is normally a magazine to do with creative writing. A student in - for example - Business Studies is expected to write a Literature Review: a 'Literary Review' is NOT expected.