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Differences Between British and American English

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Dealing with Differences Between British and American English

One of the problems English language learners face is dealing with the differences between British and American English. This was especially true at the school in Thailand where I taught. Students are constantly exposed to both British and American English in the classrooms. British and American nationals teach English classes, and both British and American textbooks are used by the students.

Although the two forms of English may seem similar on the surface, there are contrasts in vocabulary, grammar, spelling, punctuation, telling dates, and other differences which the students must continually bear in mind. In this hub, I detail the differences between British and American English based on the following: first, my six year experience of interacting with British teachers at a Thailand school; second, nine years of living in Thailand which has been heavily influenced by British English; and third, my use of both British and American English textbooks in the classroom.

British and American English Vocabulary Differences

(click column header to sort results)
American English  
British English  
   
elevator
lift
 
eraser
rubber
 
band aid
plaster
 
review
revision
 
period
full stop
 
proctor
invigilate
 
cafeteria
canteen
 
sneakers
trainers
 
math
maths
 
pants
trousers
 
soccer
football
 
thanks
cheers
 
friend
mate
 
French fries
chips
 
apartment
flat
 
vacation
holiday
 
soccer player
footballer
 
gasoline
petrol
 
freeway
motorway
 
watch out for
mind
 
parking lot
car park
 
transportation
transport
 
somewhat like
quite like
 
mail
post
 
truck
lorry
 
package
parcel
 
flash light
torch
 
hood (of a car)
bonnet
 
trunk (of a car)
boot
 
cookies
biscuits
 
toilet
loo
 
gambler
punter
 
streetcar
tram
 
damn
bloody
 
drunk
pissed
 
male or friend
chap
 
college or university
uni
 
cord
lead
 
sausages
bangers
 
vest
waistcoat
 
closet
cupboard
 
injections
jabs
 
carpenter
joiner
 
oatmeal
porridge
 
cotton candy
fairy floss
 

Vocabulary Differences

Other than slight differences between British and American English pronunciation and accent, contrasts in vocabulary have been most striking for me in the past nine years. These differences have been most evident in my daily interactions with British teachers and in school announcements. On any given day, my colleagues will greet me with, "How's it going, mate?" They'll express their gratitude by saying cheers, and then talk about going on a long holiday during our school summer break. Next, my fellow Brits will talk about watching their favorite footballers like David Beckham, and then chat about an English breakfast and fish and chips for lunch.

While traveling around Bangkok, I'll see words not encountered in America. I'll have to buy petrol for auto fuel, and then use the motorway if I want to make time getting somewhere. After I get to my destination, I should put my car in the car park and then mind the traffic when crossing the street.

Back in the classroom, students will ask for a rubber to erase the board, and then tell me I should use a question mark instead of a full stop. Some kids will be doing their maths homework when they should be doing English revision in preparation for the test. Before the day is over, school administration will announce that teachers must invigilate on the days students are testing.

In the table on the right, I have listed a few differences in British and American vocabulary.

Differences Between British and American English

Differences Between British and American English

Where do you find the greatest differences between British and American English?

See results

Grammar Differences

Another problem many students encounter is grammar differences between British and American English. Although there aren't that many, pupils must account for the following disparities:

1. Use of Certain Prepositions

In British English, you say that athletes play in a team. Americans, however, claim that athletes play on a team. The English say that students enrol on a university course, but Yankees say the students enrol in a course. In British English, one would say that Tom and Jerry work in Oxford Street at the weekends, but in American English we state that Tom and Jerry work on Oxford Street on the weekends. In addition, the British say they will ring someone on a phone number while Americans say they will call someone at a phone number. Another example, is towards the lake as written in British English and toward the lake in American English. These are just some of the most glaring differences in use of prepositions.

2. Use of Some Irregular Verbs

British English sometimes forms the past and past participle of verbs by adding "t" instead of "ed" to the infinitive of the verb. For example, the past and past participles of learned, spelled, and burned in American English are written as learnt, spellt, and burnt in British English.

3. Collective Nouns' Use of Singular or Plural Verb Forms

In British English, collective nouns take either singular or plural verb forms. Hence, the British will say and write that Oliver's army are on their way. In American English, all collective nouns take the singular verb form. Therefore, we say that the army is on the way. Another example is "Spain are the champions," said by the British, and "Spain is the champ." rendered by the Americans.

4. Use of Shall and Will

For the first person singular, the British like to use "shall" whereas Americans prefer "will." Hence in British English you say, "I shall go tomorrow," while in American English we say, "I will go tomorrow."

5. Use of Got and Have

"Got" and "have" have the same meanings; however, in sentences the British will say, "Have you got a book," while Americans will say, "Do you have a book?"

These are the main types of grammar differences I have noticed in using British and American textbooks and in my conversations with British teachers.

Differences Between British and American English

Spelling Differences Between British and American English

American English
British English
 
color
colour
 
flavor
flavour
 
neighbor
neighbour
 
center
centre
 
liter
litre
 
theater
theatre
 
offense
offence
 
defense
defence
 
pediatric
paediatric
 
airplane
aeroplane
 
modeling
modelling
 
traveling
travelling
 
fulfill
fulfil
 
enrollment
enrolment
 
sizable
sizeable
 
realize
realise
 
dialog
dialogue
 
ton
tonne
 
program
programme
 
mustache
moustache
 
donut
doughnut
 
gray
grey
 
tire
tyre
 
check
cheque
 
meter
metre
 

Spelling Differences

In my American English textbooks, they talk about red color, whereas in British textbooks it is spellt as red colour. In England people go to a sports centre, but in America they go to a sports center. United States students practice soccer, but British students practise football. In one of my classes, a student asked me what programme meant in the British text we were using. I explained that it was the same as program spelled in an American textbook.

Some differences in spelling between British and American English can be seen in the table on the right.

Punctuation Differences

Minor differences in punctuation are seen in the following:

1. Abbreviations

In American English, Mister, Misses, and Street are abbreviated Mr., Mrs., and St. with a period following the abbreviation. In British English, there is no period following the abbreviations.

2. Use of Quotation Marks

In American English, double quotation marks (") are always used for representing direct speech and highlighting meanings. In British English, single quotation marks (') are very often used. For example, in American English we would write the following sentence as:

Carefree means "free from care or anxiety." In British English,it would be written as:

Carefree means 'free from care or anxiety'.

Note that in American English the period is within the quotation marks, while in British English it is outside of the quotation mark.

Finally there are different terms for punctuation marks in American and British English. Please see the table on the right.

Punctuation Differences Between British and American English

Punctuation
American English
British English
.
period
full stop
( )
parentheses
brackets
[ ]
brackets
square brackets
{ }
curly braces
curly brackets

Miscellaneous Differences

Finally, there are some miscellaneous differences between British and American English as follow:

1. Rendering of Dates

In American English, the convention of having the month precede the date is followed. Hence, April 16, 2013, is written and abbreviated as 4/16/13. In British English, however, the date precedes the month. Thus, April 16, 2013, is written and abbreviated as 16/4/13.

2. Telling of Time

There are some minor differences in the telling of time. Whereas I would usually say "half past five," my British colleagues will say, "half five."

The differences between British and American English as seen by me at school and in Thailand are reflected in use of vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Although they may seem minor to a native English speaker, they are still challenging for the English language learner.

3. Pronunciation

The pronunciation differences between American and British English deal with the pronunciation of certain vowels. You probably have noticed that British pronounce "can" as "con". Just recently my British friend was saying what sounded like "shight". I finally figured out from context that he was referring to the word "shit."

© 2013 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Comments 126 comments

chinared profile image

chinared 3 years ago from Asia, and all over

Paul, let me be the first to congratulate you on such a great hub! This is very useful, since I often teach these differences. You forgot one though, my friend from England says, "I'm dying for a fag." My response? You can guess, but what he's asking for is a cigarette. Great hub, Paul. I applaud you. Voted up, interesting, and awesome!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

OK, I just have to ask you, Paul. I noticed you spelled the word "spelled" as "spellit". Was that a typo or a British word??

I've never been to your country but I've always wanted to. Lots of good info here. I have to bookmark this so I can come back.

Voted UP, etc.


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Very interesting. I think for the most part in Canada we use the English spelling. I often have to double check some words that are close to French and it spelled with just one different letter or an extra letter. Languages are so interesting!


Chris Achilleos profile image

Chris Achilleos 3 years ago

Fantastic hub Paul! It remind me of the difficulties I had when I came to the UK to study. My initial assignments would come back to me with comments like "Check your spelling, avoid using American English please" :) Behaviour not behavior, colour not color. There are many differences both in writing and speaking between British and American English. As "chinared" has mentioned English people do refer to cigarettes as fags. The first time I heard this was in my first year at University from my roommate. She came to me saying "I'm going down stairs for a fag, want to come with?" I giggled and replied "A WHAT?" It was quite funny.

But after living in the UK for 6 years I really got use to the way they talk and understand everything! However I still get joked around about my accent, like when I say tomato :)

I am definitely sharing this hub! Voted up and interesting!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

chinared,

Thank you very much for your favorable review of this hub. Actually, I've probably only scratched the surface in pointing out differences between British and American English. What I have highlighted is what I have personally observed teaching and living in Thailand. I would have included "fag" for cigarette, but then again I didn't want to suggest any bad habits for students. I'm very happy you liked this hub and I hope it helps you.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Mary,

Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub. Mary, thanks for pointing it out, but "spellit" is a typo. It should be "spellt." Like you, I have never been to Britain. I hail from the state of Wisconsin. Thanks for the good comments and I'm glad you liked this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

kidscrafts,

Thank you very much for reading and adding your comments about the variety of English spoken in Canada. Yes, languages are very interesting, and that is why I'm trying to become familiar with as many as possible.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Chris,

Your comments about studying in the UK are very interesting. Although some British teachers have worked with me for six years, they still have to ask me to repeat something or vice versa if we are talking too fast and using our native subdialect of English. For me, it is the Wisconsin Upper Midwest accent of American English. I'm glad you liked this hub and I really appreciate you sharing it.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

This is a very interesting and useful hub even for hubbers. A lot of hubbers use British English as that's what they have learnt. I would, however, say that though both these forms are correct, in writing one should use just one form and not mix the two.

Voted up, useful, interesting. Shared and pinned as well.


prettynutjob30 profile image

prettynutjob30 3 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

This is a great hub, voted up, more and shared, I was always told that we (Americans) speak the improper English.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

I loved this. The rendering of dates issue could really cause some mixups. I enjoyed especially the tables that compared the two side-by-side. Interesting hub voted up!


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

Have you found any overlap in the British vs. Appalachian?


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This is a great article! Thank you for sharing this with us.

I am American, but there are some words I have always been confused by the spellings, including many of those words that are spelled one way in British English, and another way in American English. Some words I have seen spelled both ways here.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

I grew up learning and using British English, but when I came to the USA for studies, I had to unlearn much of it and adapt to American English. Came over to Canada and had to revert to British English.

In have another problem in Canada. They mostly use metric system for distance, volume and temperature, but use old system for weights. So a person could be 188 cm tall and may be buying 4 litre of milk, while travelling in 4 degree centigrade temperature, but on the way back he may be picking up 5 pounds of fish.

Also, most of the vocabulary is a combination of American and British English and pronunciation is a mix also.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

rajan,

I'm glad you found this hub interesting and useful. Although as an American I'm more in favor of American English, I agree with you that both forms are correct. Yes, when writing, one should try not to mix the vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and punctuation of American English and British English. Thanks for sharing and pinning this hub!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

prettynutjob,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy you like this hub, and also remember when I was younger being told that American English was not as good as British English. In many countries in East and Southeast Asia now, American English is preferred to British English. I appreciate you sharing this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

FlourishAnyway,

I'm elated that you liked this hub. Yes, the difference in rendering of dates has caused some confusion in my English classes. Thank you for your favorable comments and votes.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

ocfireflies,

Thank you very much for your interesting comment. I have heard that there is an overlap in the British versus Appalachian subdialect of American English. This is definitely a good topic to research for a future hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Kathryn,

Thank you for your great favorable comment. An entire hub could be spent on researching and analyzing the differences between British and American spelling. This hub has only scratched the surface on the differences between these two forms of English.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Suhail and my dog,

Thank you so much for your interesting comments about Canadian English. I can understand how Canadian English vocabulary and pronunciation can be a mix of both British and American English. Based on your living experiences, you could write a good hub on Canadian English.


livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Paul, a very interesting hub. I have myself experienced this and I completely understand what you are telling here. When I moved to the UK a few years before, I was confused about the vocabulary difference and it took me a few months to understand this difference.

Thank you for sharing this with us. Votes up and sharing


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I like trunk and boot. I'm always surprised at people saying "Do you want to go with." is that English or Canadian. My own kids talk like this and I have never figured out why. I say "Do you want to go with me."

Interesting article and I enjoyed it. Voted up.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Very thorough explanations and so true. I've had English pen pals for 12 years and have learned most of the things you write about here through our correspondence. Must be very confusing for students just learning English when there are so many different English dialects.

Voted up, interesting, and will share!


sharingknowledge profile image

sharingknowledge 3 years ago from Miami, FL

It used to be hard for me between the two "languages" but this hub made it clear. Thank you.


Kasman profile image

Kasman 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

I have been more and more inundated in different ways into the English and/or New Zealand style English. It's funny because it took me a little time to get used to. For example, a cookie is called a biscuit. I was like, "huh?"

I love the differences though, great hub detailing out the definitions of different words Paul. I'm sharing this and voting up!


Elisha Jachetti profile image

Elisha Jachetti 3 years ago

I studied abroad in London and the subtle language difference was definitely confusing at first, but it was pretty easy to pick up on the different phrases that are used. However, what was the strangest for me was the pronunciation differences. Depending on who was speaking, I, a native American English speaker, had a really hard time understanding the Brits, even though they were speaking English. Words like basil, pronounced by Americans as "bay-sul" and British as "Bah-zul," constantly tripped me up.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Hi Livingsta,

I'm glad that you found this hub interesting. I really appreciate your insightful comments and especially thank you for sharing this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

moonlake,

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this hub. My guess is that "Do you want to go with?" is probably the Canadian form of English. I'm happy you found this hub interesting and enjoyed it, too.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Au fait,

I really appreciate your comments on this article. If I had more time for research, I could write separate hubs for each of the differences between American and British English. Spelling and vocabulary are the two things that confuse my students the most. I'm happy you liked this hub and thank you very much for sharing it.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

sharingknowledge,

Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub. It makes me feel good to know that this hub has made it easier for you to tell the differences between British and American English.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Kasman,

I would like to thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. The Australian and New Zealand styles of English are different from the British and American styles. I worked with a teacher from Australia this past year, and her accent, pronunciation, and use of some vocabulary was different from my British colleagues. Now I have some more subjects for future hubs. I'm glad you liked this hub and I really appreciate you sharing it.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Elisha,

Having studied abroad in London, you certainly have the insight to comment on this hub. British pronunciation and intonation was also a little difficult getting used to the first time I interacted with British teachers. After being with them for 6 years, there are still times when I have to tell them to repeat and they vice versa when we are speaking at a rapid pace. The first time I hear David Beckham speaking on BBC, I could hardly understand what he was saying in his London accent. Thanks for your comments.


Kasman profile image

Kasman 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

Absolutely Paul. I can agree with you on that one as well. As a matter of fact, I was told by an Aussie friend of mine that it would offend him if I said he sounded British! There are some definite differences but most people wouldn't know it unless they trained their ears to hear it. Glad to see you have some new topics to write on.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Kasman,

Thank you very much for your comments. I really appreciate them.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

This was not only educational but a good reference for many hubbers. We here in the US forget that not everyone was taught the way we were. How about "crack" or "craic"? They both mean the same thing, a good time or interesting conversation. The first time a friend asked me, "how's the crack", I didn't know what to say. But, that's off topic. You've done a great job and I know many will be referring to this hub.

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.


ARUN KANTI profile image

ARUN KANTI 3 years ago from KOLKATA

As Indians we are used to the British way of writing English. But while on Hubpages I have to switch to the US form for the benefit of the United States nationals allowing those following British type to comment that we are making mistakes. We should better leave a note below our hubs to say which type we are following while writing on Hubpages. Thanks for the great hub.


Tom Schumacher profile image

Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

Entertaining and educational hub! I've always enjoyed hearing the British speak and wish I was able to mimic their style accurately. Voted up!


Second Language profile image

Second Language 3 years ago

Great hub. I find the differences fascinating, and I was embarrassed a few times by referring to "pants" in the UK and also finding out what "fanny" meant there!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

Terrific hub! Enjoyed it a lot. Voted Up++ and shared.

I read a lot by UK writers (especially mystery fiction), so I'm pretty familiar with the differences in our respective nations' English. One giveaway that the writer is British is the use of "s" in words that are spelled with "z" in the U.S.

Jaye


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Mary,

It's great that you liked this hub and your praise of it makes me feel good. I think most Americans are only aware of pronunciation and accent differences between British and American English. In future hubs I hope to get more into the differences. I really appreciate you sharing this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Arun Kanti,

As an Indian, I appreciate your insight into the differences between British and American English. You could leave a note stating that your writing is in British English; however, I would expect most educated Americans to be aware of the spelling differences between both forms of the language. Thanks for your comments.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Tom,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy you liked this hub, and I thank you for voting it up.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Second Language,

Thanks for your interesting comments on this hub. Yes, I can understand how you can feel embarrassed by referring to "pants." This is almost as funny as a female student at my school asking her American teacher where the "rubber" was for erasing the board!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Jaye Wisdom,

I'm really happy you enjoyed this hub, and I appreciate your praise of it. Your insights from reading UK writers are great. Thank you so much for sharing this hub.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Singapore being a British Colony, I was raised to speak British English. So switching between vernaculars is quite a challenge at times! Yes, it is quite a problem! Sharing!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Michelle,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm still learning differences between the two vernaculars when I talk with my British colleagues. Thanks for sharing this hub.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 3 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

I've had to teach US English for a while, as it is the preferred version in Asia. However, I also try to make students aware of differences. Often we have the same phrases too, but with very different meanings.

Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and useful.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

Great information, thank you for sharing it.


vertualit profile image

vertualit 3 years ago from Bangladesh

Great 100 :). very informative. thanks for posting..


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Very useful and informative hub. Philippines schools are using American English so I have used this often at schools. Since I married a German who's English is British and I have been traveling to England and Ireland since then, so I tend to use both American and British English. It is really very helpful to know the differences.

Thanks for sharing Paul. Have a great day!


NMLady profile image

NMLady 3 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

Loved this article....Have you read Bill Bryson's Stranger in a Strange Land? (I think that is the name of the book) He is an American who married and lived in GB then after MANY years moved his fam to USA. He found he did not know the name of half the things in the hardware store in the USA as he only knew the GB name...

My fav was when after a looooong plane trip to London, I was trying to get some food to take back to my hotel room and then collapse....the food server kept asking me "Will that be take away miss?" Btwn his accent and my exhaustion it took a few times for me to realize he was asking me if the food was 'to go' as we say in the USA!!


Educateurself 3 years ago

Hi Paul,

First of all I really don't know such things about english differences of british and american, but I get some knowledge about the real difference of this two.

Thanks for the hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Brett,

As a speaker of British English, I really appreciate your comments. In Thailand, at least at the school where I teach, British English is preferred just as much as American English. Thanks for sharing, pinning, and tweeting this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

jainismus,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I really appreciate your favorable comments.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

vertualit,

Thank you very much for your nice inspiring comments. I really appreciate them.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thelma,

Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting on this hub. It's great that you are able to use British English and American English equally well. I appreciate your great comments and hope you have a great day, too!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

NMLady,

Thank you very much for your interest in this hub. No, I haven't read Bryson's book yet, but after hearing about it from you, I must read it. Your story about getting food to go in London is really funny. I really appreciate all of your insightful comments.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Educateurself,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy that I was able to highlight some of the differences between British and American English for you. It's great that you liked this hub.


mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

Fascinating, well written hub. Thanks!


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Excellent hub! Being Canadian, we tend to use more of the British English. I find it interesting when certain programs I use do not recognize some of the spellings of the words I input such as colour versus color. Thanks for posting.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

mercuryservices,

Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. I really appreciate your comments.


Que Scout profile image

Que Scout 3 years ago from Sydney Australia

Absolutely an excellent hub. Thank you.

I sometimes wonder if the American spelling was lost because text books were't available during the pilgrimage to the the new land. Or, it might even be the other way around for pronunciation; Plenty of text books but no teachers.

:)


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Rose,

I appreciate you reading and commenting on this hub. It can be troublesome when programs that you use won't recognize spellings. Thanks for your favorable review of this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Que Scout,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. It's interesting how American spelling has evolved and is different from British spelling. What about Australian English spelling? Is it the same as British spelling? I appreciate your great comments!


Que Scout profile image

Que Scout 3 years ago from Sydney Australia

Hi Paul

Australians use the English spelling and pronunciations.

American history is one of the most interesting. What made the country great, why so many ascents, what were the long term affects of the Boston Tea Party and so on.

Frankly, I think the changes the new Americans made were just plain sensible. I mean, why spell harbor as harbour? Maybe the USA could have gone as far as using Benjamin Franklin's 13 letter alphabet. That was pretty slick.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Que Scout,

I never knew that Benjamin Franklin had a 13 letter alphabet. I will definitely have to read about this. Thanks for your interesting comments. I really appreciate them!


Que Scout profile image

Que Scout 3 years ago from Sydney Australia

Woops a daisy, it was not 13 letters. Benjamin tossed out 6 letters and added a few more to make it phonetic.

See http://www.omniglot.com/writing/franklin.htm or Wikipedia.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Que Scout,

This is really very interesting reading. Thanks for pointing it out to me.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Great hub, useful and informative. Very clearly explained. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Vellur,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy you like it, and I sincerely appreciate the good comments and sharing.


georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 3 years ago from India

The British and American English are something that has confused me a lot and still does the same to me. Thanks for sharing this valuable hub, which can really help in understanding a good amount about the difference between the two.


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Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

georgescifo,

Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm glad this hub can help you understand the differences between British English and American English.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

In some ways regional differences in the United States are equally challenging. However, I have had some favorites in the American/British English usage. Foremost was G.K. Chesterton who had a bit of fun with the way Americans use the language. Another was the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen who had skits on his show concerning the subject, usually making a bit of fun of the Englishmen. up votes and sharing


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Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

dahoglund,

Thanks for reading this hub and your very interesting comments. Since I am not familiar with G.K. Chesterson and the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, I will definitely check out what they have to say about the differences between British and American English. I'm happy you liked this hub and am grateful for you sharing it.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Chesterton was an English journalist and author of the Father Brown detective stories. He wrote in the 1920s and wrote a number of essays about America. Edgar Bergen was a radio personality in the days before TV. (a ventriloquist on the radio) Candice Bergen is his daughter, ft that helps.


Rich W2K profile image

Rich W2K 3 years ago from Gold Coast

Very interesting hub. Being from Scotland, I only ever used British English. Now that I'm in Taiwan, my company demands that I use American English so it's great to have this hub as a quick and useful resource to answer any problems with spelling, vocab, etc. that I'm not sure of. Your daily interactions in Thailand are very amusing.


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Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

dahoglund,

I really appreciate the background information about Chesterton and Edgar Bergen. It is very helpful.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Rich,

It's great that you find this hub interesting and useful. You should be working in Thailand where British English appears preferred to American English. Believe it or not, I am currently the only American English teacher at my school. The rest are either British nationals or Europeans who have learned English as a second language. Then, too, there are a lot of Filipina teachers who also have English as a second language. Is it as easy for a European with English as a second language to get a job now in Taiwan teaching English?


Rich W2K profile image

Rich W2K 3 years ago from Gold Coast

I'm not 100% sure but I reckon it's pretty hard for someone without a US or UK passport to get an English teaching job in Taiwan. I have heard recently that a lot of schools in Japan are only looking to hire British teachers. So I have met a few Americans who have come to Taiwan first until they are able to get a job in Japan.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Rich,

Thank you for the interesting information. Did I tell you that I have a son who is teaching English in Changhua? His Taiwanese is better than Glotticus, because he was born in Taiwan and grew up bilingual.


Rich W2K profile image

Rich W2K 3 years ago from Gold Coast

Oh really? That's great. I've been to Zhanghua a few times. He must be very popular here looking like you and being able to speak the local language. Has he ever been on a TV chat show?


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Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Rich, Although he does resemble me in some ways, he also has Asian features since his mom is a native Taiwanese. As far as I know, he hasn't been on a TV chat show. I'll have to ask him.


pandula77 profile image

pandula77 3 years ago from Norway

This is a cool hub and perhaps one of the most useful for my work. Thanks for sharing!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

pandula77,

Thank you very much for commenting on this hub. I'm very happy that you find it interesting and useful!


ParadigmEnacted profile image

ParadigmEnacted 3 years ago

Very interesting! These are helpful translations. I'm surprised to learn that certain words are spelled differently.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

ParadigmEnacted,

I appreciate you reading and commenting on this hub.


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hi Paul! Very interesting hub. English is the real international language which every area in this earth has changed according to its convenience, be it America, Britain, Australia, or some other nations.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Pinto,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. I'm happy you liked this hub and found it interesting.


AK Chenoweth 3 years ago

As one who is adjusting to the challenges of 'English' US style I found this really interesting and helpful! Keep hubbing...AK


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

AK, Thank you very much for your comments. I'm glad you found this hub interesting. Also, I appreciate your encouragement!


Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 3 years ago from Malaysia

Good afternoon Paul,

Fantastic and very detailed write-up, especially from an American. I was English educated in the British system. Along the years, I gradually pick up many differences between US and UK English. Some as you said I didn't even know the difference of whether UK or US terms. I got this feeling that you Americans did the opposite for everything British on purpose from the beginning just to get at those Brits and Redcoats. LOL!

I personally like to use UK English especially in spelling because of sentimental feeling. However, in Hubpages I try my best to spell the US way.


Padamyar profile image

Padamyar 3 years ago

Great hub!


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

Interesting Hub.

Apart from the differences between American and British English, Indian English differs in a great degree from both the languages you have discussed above.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 3 years ago from Brazil

I am an American but lived in the UK for 20 years. Some of the differences I didn't even realize until I read them here such as the use of prepositions.

I am pleased you mentioned, the difference between 'got and have'. As an American, using the word 'got' sounded like poor grammar to me.

Well written and informative hub.


srsddn profile image

srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

paulkuehn, There are confusions about spellings and intonations are quite different between the two. Very useful information with illustrations. In India it is mostly British English but many a times one has to cope with both. Thanks for sharing even some minor details.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&Good Guy, Thank you very much for your comments and praise of this hub. I really appreciate it.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&Padamyar Thank you very much for your comment.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&jainismus I know that Indian English differs from both American and British English; therefore, I would appreciate any kind of hub you could write on this subject!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&Blond Logic Thank you for your great comments. I'm very happy you liked this hub!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&srsddn Thank you very much for your comments. I'm glad you found this hub useful.


limpet profile image

limpet 2 years ago from London England

It's just the pronounciation of two words - aluminium & rennaisance.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&limpet Thanks for commenting! Yes, it is hard to pronounce these words from the way they are spelled.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Great hub Paul. I found it very interesting , and being Australian on Hub Pages, am often caught between the two. I find myself writing a mixture of British and American English at times, even though Australia generally follows the former. We have the added difficulty of Australian slang thrown into the mix. Voted up.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for your comments and I'm happy you found this hub interesting.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Paul...Hello! Long time no see.....How would the British say that horrible, unacceptable non-sentence? LOL

I love this hub. So fascinating and educational. It has also answered some questions (and concerns) I've had since reading so many hubs by so many individuals from a huge number of different places! For instance, I did wonder where burnt and learnt came from and even looked them up in my dictionary.

I positively love the British accent and still contend no matter what they say at any time...it just sounds so much better than the way we speak.

Really enjoyable reading, Paul. Thanks so much. ...Up+++


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&fpherj48 Paula, yes it has been a long time that I have been away from Hubpages. Over the past year, I have been writing mostly on Bubblews. It's a different animal than HP because it is mainly a social media site. I'm very happy you liked this hub and really will get back to hubbing more now that I am retired from formal classroom teaching.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 23 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

When we lived in the middle east, we got tickled at Arabs saying "take-away" food instead of "take-out" food. Then we visited London, and there was "take-away" food everywhere.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 23 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Kathleen, the food item that still gets me is "fish and chips." As Americans we are expecting fish with potato chips. The Brits, however, call French fries "chips." Thanks again for the comments.


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 20 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi, I've read your survival advice on Thailand. I taught in Poland, where you often cannot decide, in the classroom, if to follow American or British. You'd have people interested in both, the same room.

I simply never prescribed, if the student should follow British or American. I did not correct British spellings or pronunciation. The two have a few things in common, however. I'd be curious about your view of my Language Mapping.

http://hubpages.com/education/language-hub


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 20 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for your comments and I'm happy you liked this hub. After I read your language mapping hub, I will definitely comment on it.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 19 months ago from East Coast, United States

The differences are so obvious when we read English novels. I love that little difference and I can 'hear' the English accent when I read British books.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&Delores Monet Thank you for your comments. Yes, I have noticed the obvious differences while reading the books of the Bronte sisters.


limpet profile image

limpet 12 months ago from London England

In English courts of law there is no such a phrase as 'plea-bargaining!'


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 12 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&limpet , If the phrase 'plea-bargaining' is not found in English courts of law, how is this idea expressed in British English? Thanks for commenting.


limpet profile image

limpet 12 months ago from London England

Guilty or Not guilty (In Scottish courts - not proven)


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 11 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for your comment.


limpet profile image

limpet 10 months ago from London England

Here in Blighty the term 'graft' is used to describe gain by hard work whilst in Australia it means obtaining something by deception. A punter here is another name for a customer whilst in Australia that word only refers to some one who bets on race horses.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 10 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for the comments about "graft" and "punter." I will update my hub with this information.


limpet profile image

limpet 9 months ago from London England

Going to the doctor in England for an injection they are referred to as 'jabs' eg. a flu jab, whilst in U.S. i think they are called 'shots'.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 9 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for this term. I will add it to my hub.


limpet profile image

limpet 7 months ago from London England

What Americans refer to as 'cotton candy' we happen to call it 'fairy floss'.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 7 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Limpet, Thank you very much for your comment. I will add these terms to my list in the hub.


limpet profile image

limpet 7 months ago from London England

A curved throw from a pitcher in baseball has in English cricket the similarity of a bowler's over arm throw but is called a 'googly'. It is possibly of Indian origin where cricket is just as popular. Of Indian origin is 'sundries' meaning extra's, also a cricketing term.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 6 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

@limpet Thank you very much for the lessons about cricket, a sport I know very little about. I will add the term "googly: to my list.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 5 months ago from Long Island, NY

Paul, I knew many of these differences but not all and I found your hub very enlightening. There were times when I would read something and think how strange the grammar was.

You cleared up my misconception with the ones I didn't know about. For example, I found it strange when a writer would use plural for collective nouns. But now I realize that's the British way.

I will have a better appreciation now when I read content written by a British writer.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 5 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Thank you very much for your comments, Glenn. I plan to edit this hub more in the future. I'm happy you liked this article and found it useful!

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