vocabulary builder

British English vs American English

We have many things in common with America.

Except, of course, language.

Oscar Wilde

There are many differences between British English and American English.

The first thing that we notice, and which is very obvious, is the difference in pronunciation.

However, British and American English differ from many other points of view.

First of all from the point of view of spelling: the British words colour, theatre, traveller, programme, through, cheque, tonight among others are spelt like color, theater, traveler, program, thru, check, tonite in American English.

From the point of view of grammar: for example, the British English auxiliary verb “to have” has  interrogative and negative sentences like “do you have any pets?” or “I don’t have any friends” in the USA (instead of “Have you got…?” or “I haven’t got any…” which are used less and less in the UK).

From the point of view of vocabulary: there is a long list of different words that refer to the same thing. See how many you know:

British English American English
film movie

flat

apartment

lift

elevator

pavement

sidewalk

shop

store

rubber

eraser

curtains

drapes

biscuit

cookies

wardrobe

closet

lorry

truck

holiday

vacation

aerial

antenna

handbag

purse

sellotape

Scotch tape

The list is of course not complete. Do you remember any other example of British Vs American English?

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2 thoughts on “British English vs American English

  1. I don’t remember much about words but I know that English men and Americans are veeeeery different…I prefer the U.K. ’cause I love their way of living,their culture…but if we speak about cinema and films ( I used the English word 😉 ) the U.S.A. are unbeatable!!!

    • Thank you for your interesting comment, Zakk. So you’d probably choose to study British English but would watch American MOVIES ;-)… this makes me really curious about the other students… which are your preferences and why?

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