Differences Between British English and American English
Oct 07, 2022, Sukanya Pant
Do you struggle with differentiating between British and American English? In this article, we will discuss the differences between language, some of the intricacies that come with it, and how we can stay in step with each other.
What is the Difference Between British and American English?
The two main languages spoken in the United States are English and Spanish. However, there are also many different languages spoken throughout the United States. One of the most important differences between British and American English is the pronunciation of certain words.
British English tends to pronounce words such as 'aluminium' and 'centre' with a long 'a' sound. On the other hand, American English pronounces these words with a shorter 'a' sound. Another difference between British and American English is how they spell words.
British English often spells words such as 'colour' and 'mail' using the same letter combination, while American English uses different letters for these words. For example, British English would spell 'color' as Colours, while American English would spell it as Colors.
Overall, British English is generally more formal than American English. British English also tends to use more terms from Latin and Greek, while American English uses more words from Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages.
The 9 Huge Differences Between British and American English
1. British English is more formal than American English.
2. British English uses spellings that are not common in American English, such as "colour" instead of "color".
3. British English often uses contractions, such as "can't" for "cannot".
4. British English tends to use more abbreviations, such as "Mr." for "Mister".
5. American English tends to use uncommon words in British English, such as "y'all" for "you all".
6. British English has different terms for different types of weather, such as "raining" instead of "rain".
7. British English has different terms for different types of food, such as "pizza" instead of "pizza pie".
8. British English usually has two plurals for one singular, such as "boys" and "girls". In contrast, American English usually has one singular plural (such as "boys") for two plurals (boys and girls).
9. British English uses articles before nouns (such as "a book"), whereas American English does not use articles before nouns (such as "book").
How to Understand British and American Expressions?
There are a few things to remember when trying to understand British and American expressions. First, the two languages use different terms for many of the same things. For example, in British English, a bank is called a financial institution, whereas, in American English, it would be called a bank.
Another difference between British and American English is how questions are asked. In British English, questions are typically asked by raising your voice and asking "Who?" or "What?" Americans typically ask questions by saying "How?" or "What kind of?"
Despite these differences, it is still possible to understand and speak British and American English fluently. With a little practice, you can communicate with anyone in either language!
Are there any grammar rules that differ between American and British English?
There are a few grammar rules that differ between American and British English. For example, in British English, you would say, "I've got a meeting with my boss at 10 am," while in American English, you would say, "I have a meeting with my boss at 10 am."
Another difference is the use of articles. The reason for this difference is that in British English, the article 'the' is used to describe something already mentioned. In contrast, in American English, the article is used to introduce a new topic.
Finally, there is the use of plurals. In British English, you would say, "The children are playing in the garden," while in American English, you would say, "The kids are playing in the garden." The reason for this difference is that in British English, you add an 's' (-es) to the end of the word to make it plural, while in American English, you add an 's' to the end. The informality of the American English language also plays a role here.
You should be aware of a few big differences between British and American English if you plan on working or living in the two countries. For example, British English tends to use more contractions (e.g., can't instead of cannot, I'm rather than I am), while American English uses more pronouns (e.g., he, her). Additionally, British English tends to use less slang and idioms than American English, making it difficult for some people to understand what others say. However, with some practice and effort, American and British English speakers can gain fluency in the other language.
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