differences between british and american english

English varies from country to country, from region to region even. If you go to England, the people of London will speak completely differently to the people from say Manchester. This includes things like pronunciation, spelling and vocabulary amongst other things.

There are many differences between British and American English. I’ve made some graphics so you can see the main differences. Let’s take start by taking a look at how the vocabulary differs from British English to Amrican English.

vocabulary differences

Are you wearing trousers or pants?

Does a baby use a dummy or a pacifier?

Do you like football or soccer?

Do you walk on the pavement or sidewalk?

 

Scroll through the list and see how our language differs.

British English and American English word list
British English and American English word list
British English and American English word list
British English and American English word list
British English and American English word list
British English vs American English - vocabulary
British English and American English word list

clothes vocabulary differences

While we’re on the subject of vocabulary differences… Let’s take a peek at the clothes vocabulary that differs between the 2 countries.

British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - braces/suspemders
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - bum bag/fanny pack
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - dressing gown/robe
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - handbag/purse
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - jumper/sweater
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - pants/underwear
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - swimming costume/bathing suit
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - trainers/sneakers
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - trousers/pants
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - waistcoat/vest
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - wardrobe/closet

spelling differences

We spell some words differently than in American English. Here is a table of the most noticable spelling differences.

difference between british and american english spelling
difference between british and american english spelling
difference between british and american english spelling

the use of collective nouns

Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things as one unit. Check out this slide for a difference between British and American English.

British English vs American English - collective nouns
British English vs American English - collective nouns

the differences with verb endings

There are some differences in the verbs used between the two countries. You will notice in the slide below that some verbs are irregular in British English, but they are regular in American English.

This also affects the pronunciation. The pronunciation of the past tense verb and participle in British English will be voiceless.

The pronunciation of the past tense and participle verb in American English will be voiceless.

British English vs American English verb endings

the use of present perfect

British English favours the present perfect whereas American English prefers auxiliary + infinitive.

British English vs American English - present perfect
British English vs American English - present perfect

the use of ‘have’ and ‘take’

We also use the verbs ‘have’ and ‘take’ differently. Let’s take a look.

British English vs American English - have and take
British English vs American English - have and take

the differences in prepositions used

Not only do you have to learn prepositions in British English, but also in American English. Hooray!

British English vs American English - prepositions
British English vs American English - prepositions

telling the time in British and American English

We also tell the time differently too. Don’t worry, there isn’t much difference.

British English vs American English - how to read a clock

differences between the modal/auxiliary verbs used

Brush up on your modal and auxiliary verb knowledge and revise the differences.

British English vs American English - modal/auxuliary verbs
British English vs American English - modal/auxuliary verbs
British English vs American English - modal/auxuliary verbs