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British english vs American english The english language is a very complex subject for anyone to learn. From the grammar, the vocabulary and pronunciations, to the different spellings, english is not the easiest of languages to learn. To make matters even more complicated, the rules of english are not the same everywhere. Though they may seem quite similar – and in many ways they are indeed - British english and American english do differ from one another in several ways. Let’s look at a few of them.
The first most obvious difference between British english and American english is the difference of usages for certain words and expressions. Most people from england
would most likely come upon some confusion if they were unfamiliar with American english if they were ever to visit America or converse with Americans for any length of time and vice versa. For example, in America we refer to law enforcement as “cops” or “police,” or sometimes even “the po-po” but in England they are referred to as “bobbies,” “the bill,” or “coppers.” In addition, the hood of a car in England is referred to as its bonnet but in America it is its hood. The garden in England is a yard in America, and these are just a few of the multitudes of differences in the language.
Another difference between British english and American english is the actual spelling of words. For instance, favor in America would be spelled “favour” in England because some of their words end in –our instead of –or. In addition, some words end in –tre in England that end in –ter in America such as theatre or theater. In England the final ‘l’ is always doubled after one vowel in stressed and unstressed syllables but is typically only doubled after stressed syllables in American english, as in travelled or traveled. Some english verbs that can end in either –ise or –ize can only be –ize in America such as with realise and realize.
There are also differences in the grammar usage between the British and Americans. First of all, when speaking it is much more common to use the present perfect tense for the British than for Americans; Americans more often speak using the past simple tense. The verb agreement with collective nouns is also different: with American english only singular verbs can follow collective nouns, but for British english singular or plural verbs are possible. Other grammatical differences include some past tense forms of certain verbs, the usage of certain prepositions, and the usages of auxiliaries and modals.
A final difference between British and American english that may also be obvious is the difference of pronunciation because of the different accents. As it is true for the usages of words, the pronunciation of words could cause confusion for an American in England and vice versa. It might seem like a small difference but it does make a difference when someone who does not speak english is striving to learn english. However, a clear understanding of phonetics, whether the teacher is British or english, would help that student immensely.
In conclusion, there are many differences between British and American english. Although it is one language, it is not by any means a simple one to learn. These differences from one country to another could cause confusion if left unknown and unstudied for any student.