American English vs. British English

American English is the form of English used in the United States. It includes all English dialects used within the United States of America. British English is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom. Differences between American and British English include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, punctuation, idioms, and formatting of dates and numbers.

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American English

British English

Pronunciation differences Some words pronounced differently in the languages are Methane, Interpol Some words pronounced differently in the languages are Methane, Interpol
Spelling differences flavor, honor, analyze,color etc. flavour, honour, analyse,colour etc.
Title differences Mr. , Mrs. Mr, Mrs
Different meanings ace, amber etc. ace, amber etc.
What is it? American English is the form of English used in the United States. It includes all English dialects used within the United States of America. British English is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom. It is also used in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other Commonwealth regions

Contents: American English vs British English

edit History of British vs. American English

The English language was introduced to the Americans through British colonization in the early 17th century and it spread to many parts of the world because of the strength of the British empire. Over the years, English spoken in the United States and in Britain started diverging from each other in various aspects. This led to two dialects in the form of the American English and the British English.

edit American vs. British accent

Prior to the Revolutionary War and American independence from the British in 1776, American and British accents were similar. Both were rhotic i.e. speakers pronounced the letter R in hard. Since 1776, the accents diverged but English accent in America has changed less drastically than accents in Britain.

Towards the end of the 18th century, non-rhotic speech took off in southern England, especially among the upper class; this "prestige" non-rhotic speech was standardized, and has been spreading in Britain ever since.

Most American accents, however, remained rhotic.

There are a few fascinating exceptions: New York and New England accents became non-rhotic, perhaps because of the region's British connections. Irish and Scottish accents, however, remained rhotic.

To be fair, both American and British English have several types of accents and there is no one true American or British accent.

edit Differences in use of tenses

In British English the present perfect is used to express an action that has occurred in the recent past that has an effect on the present moment. For example: I've misplaced my pen. Can you help me find it? In American English, the use of the past tense is also permissible:I misplaced my pen. Can you help me find it? In British English, however, using the past tense in this example would be considered incorrect.

Other differences involving the use of the present perfect in British English and simple past in American English include the words already, just and yet.

British English: I've just had food. Have you finished your homework yet? American English: I just had food. OR I've just had food.
I've already seen that film. OR I already saw that film.

edit Differences in Vocabulary

While some words may mean something in British English, the same word might be something else in American english and vice versa. For example, Athlete in British English is one who participates in track and field events whereas Athlete in American English is one who participates in sports in general.

Rubber in British English: tool to erase pencil markings.
Rubber in American English: condom.

There are also some words like AC, Airplane, bro, catsup, cell phone etc. which are common in American English and not used very often in British English. Some words widely used in British English and seldom in American English are advert, anti clockwise, barrister, cat's eye.

edit Differences in Spelling

There are many words that are spelt differently in both forms of English. Some examples are:

American English spelling British English spelling
color colour
fulfill fulfil
center centre
analyze analyse
aging ageing
dialog dialogue
anesthesia, anaesthesia

A majority of the spelling differences between American and British English fall into the following categories:

edit Differences in the use of Prepositions

There are also a few differences between British and American English in the use of prepositions. For example: While the British would play in a team, Americans would play on a team. Another example: While the British would go out at the weekend, Americans would go out on the weekend.

edit Differences in Verb usage

American and British English may also use a base verb in different manners. For example: For the verb " to dream", Americans would use the past tense dreamed while the British would use dreamt in past tense. The same applies to "learned" and "learnt". Another example of differing past tense spellings for verbs in American and British English is "forecast". Americans use forecast while the British would say forecasted in simple past tense.

edit Differences in Pronunciation

Some words that are pronounced differently in American vs British English are controversy, leisure, schedule etc. There are also some words like Ax (Axe in British) and Defense (Defence in British) which have the same pronunciation but different spellings in both languages.

edit Time telling in British vs American English

Both languages have a slightly different structure of telling the time. While the British would say quarter past ten to denote 10:15, it is not uncommon in America to say quarter after or even a quarter after ten.

Thirty minutes after the hour is commonly called half past in both languages. Americans always write digital times with a colon, thus 6:00, whereas Britons often use a point, 6.00.

edit Differences in Punctuation

While the British would write Mr, Mrs, Dr, the Americans would write Mr., Mrs., Dr.

edit Video explaining the differences

Here's a funny musical video that outlines the differences in some English and British English language words.

edit Shop For

edit References

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Comments: American English vs British English

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Anonymous comments (8)

March 16, 2014, 8:57am

Thx alot

— 41.✗.✗.109

April 20, 2011, 11:47pm

Did you know that a phrase in british english is knock-up it means to waken or rouse (in america it means to impregnate) learned it in school which makes school somewhat useful (not that much)

crazy brits, be careful what you say around american chicks

— 97.✗.✗.97

May 7, 2009, 8:54am

you should add more examples specially in different spellings in american vs british english.

— 124.✗.✗.30

August 14, 2013, 10:58pm

That line starting with "To be fair..." seems tacked on. It pretty well negates what came before it.

— 108.✗.✗.242

September 23, 2012, 3:43pm

i'm american and i prefer dreamt and ageing to dreamed and aging. spell check is doing red dotted underlines on those words!

— 65.✗.✗.250

October 20, 2013, 6:52pm

This is an awesome video of Hugh Laurie and Ellen DeGeneres quizzing each other on American vs. British slang.

— 24.✗.✗.48

August 31, 2013, 6:54pm

How about: tip for dump;lift for elevator; bonnet for hood; boot for trunk; muffler for scarf; hoovered for vacummed; nancy boy for gay

— 207.✗.✗.131

December 28, 2010, 8:28pm

I grew up in the SF Bay Area, and I had a mostly private education, except for State College. It seems I grew up learning a more “British” spelling. It wasn’t until I started using online dictionaries and MS Office, that I realized that there existed another variation. As a child color was colour. I still try to spell fulfill as fulfil. Neither was I aware that ageing should be spellt aging in American English, when were the standards changed? My piers would find that to be incorrect. Who writes dialog? I’ve always said learnt and dreamt, but only write dreamed and learned. Only recently have I heard someone say dreamed, and that person spoke English as a second language. Perhaps, these changes have come about to accommodate nonnative speakers of English?

Although, I have heard differences in tense even here in California, I had thought that people speaking that way were undereducated. So while I might say, I just lost my pen, or I’ve just lost my pen, I would more than li

— 64.✗.✗.212


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Difference between England and United Kingdom