Are you a student interested in learning the nuances of American English but aren't sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at 11 major differences between American and British English. While both versions of the language have minor differences in grammar and vocabulary, they are still pretty similar. Whether you’re already familiar with American English or just starting out on your journey, understanding these distinctions will help shape your language skills and give you an even deeper appreciation for both dialects. Let's get started!
Why Choose an American English Course? Check Out These 11 Distinctions Between American and British Dialects!
The most obvious difference between American and British English is the vocabulary. Words such as "trunk" (US) and "boot" (UK), "apartment" (US) and "flat" (UK), and "elevator" (US) and "lift" (UK) are used differently in both variants.
Accent and Pronunciation
While both American and British English speakers technically use the same language, they have different accents, which can lead to confusion in communication. British English tends to use more intonation in speech. For instance, while Americans might say "tomayto," Brits say "tomahto." Americans also tend to stress the first syllable of words, while Brits often stress the second
American English follows a "simplified spelling" rule, so some words drop and add extra letters that are absent in British English. For example, "color" (US) and "colour" (UK), or "traveler" (US) and "traveller" (UK).
Both American English and British English have minor grammatical differences. For example, American English typically uses the past tense "gotten" while British English uses "got."
Slang terms in American English and British English vary extensively. American slang may favorably call something "cool" or "awesome," and call a male friend "dude," while British slang would express their joy by saying they’re "chuffed," and call a male friend a “mate."
Time and Date Format
American English uses the month/day/year format while British English uses the day/month/year format.
The present perfect tense is commonly used in British English, whereas, in American English, it is often replaced with the simple past tense. For example, British English uses "I have eaten," while American English uses "I ate."
There are various minor differences in punctuation between American and British English. For example, American English prefers the use of the serial comma while British English does not.
Humor and Sarcasm
British humor and sarcasm differ significantly from American humor. British humor tends to be more understated and witty, while American humor is often more direct and straightforward. Sarcasm in British English often involves understatement or a dry delivery, whereas in American English, it tends to be more direct.
British and American English use different prepositions to express the same meaning. For example, Americans say "on the weekend," while the British say "at the weekend." These small variations can cause confusion and misunderstandings.
British and American English use different numerical expressions, which means that some numbers are expressed differently depending on the language. For example, Americans say "fourth of July," while the British say "July the fourth."
Trust the Language Experts for American English Courses
The differences between American and British English are significant when it comes to communication. Though they technically use the same language, there are differences in vocabulary, accent, pronunciation, grammar, and more. Understanding these differences is important, especially for people who speak one variant and communicate with people who speak the other. A better understanding of both will help ease communication or even present opportunities for learning a new language variation. Contact the American English Institute for American English courses to perfect your spoken and written American English. Get in touch with us today!