Difference between American and British English

Britain and America, two different nations share one common language that is English. The language that Americans and Britsh share is a bit like that—spoken differently in the two locations, but understandable by both groups of speakers. English language learners face a problem dealing with the difference between British and American English.The two forms of English may seem similar on the surface, there are differences in vocabulary, grammar, spelling etc.

Vocabulary difference

The first difference between British and American English is in the dictionary, there are hundreds of words in British and American English which differ from each other but both have the same meaning.


American / British

Eraser / rubber

elevator / lift

garbage / rubbish

Hood / Bonnet

Vacations / Holidays

Pant / Trousers

Cookie / Biscuit

Appartment / flat

Cafeteria/ canteen

Spelling Difference

British /American

Color / color

Behaviour / behavior

• Jeweller /  jeweler

• Dreamt / Dreamed

• Favour / favor

• Some words that end with ise are pronounced differently in British and American English. In American English, words that end with ise are written according to their pronunciation, so in British English, ize is used in American English for words ending with ise.

recognise / recognize, patronise / patronize

words end in -ize in American English and -ise in British English: recognize / recognize, patronize / patronise

Slight grammar differences

In British English, the third form (past participle) of the word Get is Got.

But in American English, the third form (past participle) of the word Get is Gotten.

The past participle of the verb get is got in American English ..

While got in British English.

Past Simple vs Present Perfect

Americans tend to use the past simple when describing something that has recently occurred, while people in the UK are more likely to use the present perfect.

American British

•I ate an apple.        •I have eaten an apple.
•He went to the        •He has gone to the
 market.                      market.

•Did you get my        •Have you got my book?

Accent Difference

Words that contain the same quantity as Cat, Mad, etc. are pronounced in almost the same way in American and British English but there are some words that are pronounced differently in British and American English.

The pronunciation and usage of /æ/ is fairly similar in American and British; words like CAT and MAD are very similar. There is a group of words, however, containing the spelling ARR, which changes from / æ / to / e / in American. CARRY / kæri / is / keri / EMBARRASS / ɪmˈbærɪs / is / ɪmˈberəs / and HARRY / ˈhæri / is / ˈheri /, giving the name the same pronunciation as HAIRY in American. MARRY, MERRY and MARY would all be the same too in American English, but different in British: / ˈmæri /, / ˈmeri / & / ˈmeəri /

• The most obvious difference between standard American (GA) and standard British (GB) is the omission of ‘r’ in GB: you only pronounce a written <r> if there is a vowel sound after it, so we don’t say it in PARK / pɑːk /, HORSE / hɔːs / or FURTHER / ˈfɜːðə /. In American, though, we pronounce every written / r / so / pɑrk /, / hɔrs / & / ˈfɜrðər /.

These are some differences between American and British English which I have tried to cover in this post.

Read some other posts below.
Spelling Tips

Importance of pitch variation in English| Intonation

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