English is spoken all around the world, thus, differences are bound to emerge. Although U.S and U.K have a lot of things in common, there are enough differences between their two versions of the English language that someone may not always understand exactly what someone from the other country is saying. These changes on English wording happens because the U.S and the U.K’s imperial histories and modern influence. Colonisation by these two countries all over the world has spread and forced others to accept the different variations of the same language, the most known one to be the British vs. American. Differences between the two include vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, spelling and many more..
One of the most distinctive variations in British and American English is the spelling. Many of the differences between American and British English date back to a time before spelling standards were developed. For instance, some spellings seen as “American” today were once commonly used in U.K, and some spellings seen as “British” were once commonly used in the U.S..
The use (or lack of use) of the letter “u” in words like “colour” and “honour”, is one of the most common and noticeable spelling differences between American and British English. To Americans, the “u” seems unnecessary and a bit old fashioned. All this thanks to a man named Noah Webster. Webster wanted to make American English more distinct, in order to take control of the language from the British. In his earliest dictionaries, Webster removed the extra “u” from words and switched “re” to “er” at the end of words like “theater.”.
Vocabulary is also one of the most noticeable differences between American and British English. There are hundreds of everyday words that are different. For example, British calls it apartments while Americans says flat. Americans says biscuit, and it is cookie for the Brits. Autumn is more familiar for British English users but it is commonly referred to as fall among the Americans. Most Americans and Brits can usually guess the meaning through the context of a sentence..
As for grammar, speakers of British English generally use the present perfect tense (have/has + past participle) more than speakers of American English. In spoken American English, it is very common to use the simple past tense as an alternative in situations where the present perfect would usually have been used in British English. There are two situations where this likely to occur. First, when an action in the past that has an effect in the present:.
- Ashley feels ill. She ate too much. (American English)
- Ashley feels ill. She’s eaten too much. (British English)
Next, in sentences which contain the words already, just or yet:
- They already saw it. (American English)
- They’ve already seen it. (British English)
There are also small differences with past forms of irregular verbs. The past tense of learn in American English is learned while British English has the option of learned or learnt. The same goes to dreamed and dreamt, burned and burnt, etc. This shows that Americans tend to use the –ed ending; Brits tend to use the -t ending..
In the pronunciation department, it is difficult to make clear distinctions between U.S. and U.K. accents. This is because there are such a wide variety of accents within both the U.S. and the U.K. Different accents are used a Texan and a New Yorker, though both are Americans. The same goes for those from London, Manchester and Glasgow in British. However, some very general distinctions can be made. Every “r” in a word is usually pronounced by Americans, while the British tend to only pronounce the “r” when it’s the first letter of a word..
English has to be flexible as it is the most-spoken second language on earth. So whether you speak British English or American English or your English influenced by both of them, communicating with people standing in front of you shouldn’t be an obstacle, or anywhere else in the world for that matter..