To remember the spelling, think of the E on the end of "grille" as being decorative like the metal grilles themselves.
Both words come from a French word that means “gridiron” or “grating.”
The grill without an E on the end is the metal rack on which you cook food over heat, and it’s a type of restaurant (often informal) that serves food cooked on a grill or griddle (such as Spiffy’s Bar and Grill).
“To grill” is the act of cooking on a grill, and "to grill” also means to question someone or interrogate someone. It’s also spelled this way when you talk about “getting all up in someone’s grill,” which I take to mean that you’re aggressively questioning people, snooping into their life, or coming at them.
A grille with an E on the end is the metal grating on the front of your car or truck, the bars that cover an opening in your door, and the cover for your heating vents. You can think of these kinds of grilles as more decorative, and you can think of the E on the end as decorative since the two words are pronounced the same, making that extra E unnecessary or decorative.
Sometimes restaurants use the “grille” spelling with an E, but it’s not the traditionally proper use of the word. To me it’s just a way they try to make themselves sound more fancy. It reminds me of the “Ye olde tavern” kinds of places.
So that’s your Quick and Dirty Tip: To interrogate people is to grill them and to cook over a fire is to grill, and you do all that on a grill. Those are all spelled without an E on the end.
A grille with an E on the end is a metal grating or decorative metal covering. To remember the spelling, you can think of the E on the end as being decorative like the metal grilles themselves.
Quiz: 'Grill' or 'Grille'?
Choose the right word:
1. I need to replace the [grill/grille] on my truck.
2. Can you fire up the [grill/grille] before I get home?
3. We’re going to [grill/grille] hamburgers tonight.
4. Meet me at Joe’s Bar and [Grill/Grille].
5. The district attorney plans to [grill/grille] your client.
Next page for answers.