Sunday, 25 October 2015

Differences Between American and British English

Door sneck.

Differences Between American and British English
Kenneth Beare,

While there are certainly many more varieties of English, American English and British English
are the two varieties that are taught in most ESL/EFL programs.
Generally, it is agreed that no one version is "correct" however, there are certainly preferences
in use. The three major differences between American and British English are:
Pronunciation - differences in both vowel and consonants, as well as stress and intonation
Vocabulary - differences in nouns and verbs, especially phrasal verb usage
Spelling - differences are generally found in certain prefix and suffix forms
The most important rule of thumb is to try to be consistent in your usage.
If you decide that you want to use American English spellings then be consistent in your spelling
(i.e. The color of the orange is also its flavour - color is American spelling and flavour is British),
this is of course not always easy - or possible.
Learn ESL: Grammatical Differences In British And American English
The following guide is meant to point out the principal differences between these two varieties
of English.

Use of the Present Perfect
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 lost my key. Can you help me look for it?
In American English the following is also possible:
I lost my key. Can you help me look for it?
In British English the above would be considered incorrect.
However, both forms are generally accepted in standard American English.
Other differences involving the use of the present perfect in British English
and simple past in American English include already, just and yet.

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

There are two forms to express possession in English.
Have or Have got
Do you have a car?
Have you got a car?
He hasn't got any friends.
He doesn't have any friends.
She has a beautiful new home.
She's got a beautiful new home.
While both forms are correct (and accepted in both British and American English),
have got (have you got, he hasn't got, etc.) is generally the preferred form in British English
while most speakers of American English employ the have (do you have, he doesn't have etc.)

The Verb Get
The past participle of the verb get is gotten in American English.
Example He's gotten much better at playing tennis.
British English - He's got much better at playing tennis.
M’reen, as a Brit. I have to admit that gotten irritates me.
However I lived in the States for some years and we are inundated with American media
so I get confused.
Also many British English people have no idea how to use tenses
and they use ‘them’ as also meaning ‘those’ and ‘these’.

Probably the major differences between British and American English lies in the choice
of vocabulary. Some words mean different things in the two varieties for example:
Mean: (American English - angry, bad humored, British English - not generous, tight fisted)
Rubber: (American English - condom, British English - tool used to erase pencil markings)
We think this is funny and the American name Randy.
There are many more examples (too many for me to list here). If there is a difference in usage,
your dictionary will note the different meanings in its definition of the term.
Many vocabulary items are also used in one form and not in the other.
One of the best examples of this is the terminology used for automobiles.
American English - hood
British English - bonnet
American English - trunk
British English - boot
American English - truck
British English - lorry
Once again, your dictionary should list whether the term is used in British English
or American English.
For a more complete list of the vocabulary differences between British and American English

There are also a few differences in preposition use including the following:
American English - on the weekend
British English - at the weekend
American English - on a team
British English - in a team
American English - please write me soon
British English - please write to me soon
Oh yes, missing out words is also irritating, but so many British English speakers miss out words.
Unfortunately it sounds as if you are uneducated or of a lower class – we are into social class.

Past Simple/Past Participles
The following verbs have two acceptable forms of the past simple/past participle in both American and British English, however, the irregular form is generally more common in British English
(the first form of the two) and the regular form is more common to American English.
Burnt OR burned
dreamt OR dreamed
leant OR leaned
learnt OR learned
smelt OR smelled
spelt OR spelled
spilt OR spilled
spoilt OR spoiled
Here are some general differences between British and American spellings:

Words ending in -or (American) -our (British) color, colour, humor, humour, flavor, flavour etc.
Words ending in -ize (American) -ise (British) recognize, recognise, patronize, patronise etc.
Our famous Samuel Peeps is to blame for most of our terrible spelling
and then an American did an incomplete job of spelling words sensibly.
The Spanish have the least problem with this branch of dyslexia
because of their sensible approach to creating and writing the spoken word.
The Scottish are the best at spelling British English because they enunciate all the letters in a word.

The best way to make sure that you are being consistent in your spelling is to use the spell checker
on your word processor (if you are using the computer of course) and choose which variety
of English you would like. As you can see, there are really very few differences between 
However, the largest difference is probably that of the choice of vocabulary and pronunciation.

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