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I read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray when I was twelve because my older sister passed on to me everything she was reading. I was never conscious that there was actually a difference between American and British english, except for the accent. I have to say that my native tongue must be American, although I do have a second language. I never had a problem understanding British english, written or spoken. What I can't understand is British humour. I have been in love with Matthew MacFadyen playing Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and I admit that I must have watched this movie twenty times (at the very least). I did enter that world quite easily being named Elizabeth myself. In my company where we conduct long distance lessons by telephone, we are not expected to be experts of both American and British english. It did not become an issue until my learners came up with various unfamiliar usages. I proceeded to correct them only to discover, to my dismay, that they were right after all. Being that 99% of my learners are European, by proximity to england, a good number of them speak British english, except those employed by American companies. The most common points in question were the ff: 1. Negating the verb have e.g. I haven't a chicken. 2. Present perfect vs Present simple e.g. I have just returned. (AmE) vs I am just returned. (BrE) I used to think I haven't a chicken was incorrect. Then there's the expression, I haven't a clue to prove me wrong. I also found I am just returned surprisingly awkward. But when I paid closer attention, ultimately I found both forms used frequently, especially in the Bible. Across the Atlantic, British and American english have evolved separately. Some people argue that American english is the language of the internet and is therefore more widely used. Could British english, referred to as formal english or even “standard english,” have been overtaken by its younger cousin simply because of its widespread usage? Hollywood blockbusters are viewed by the entire world. American phrasal verbs, expressions and the accent itself are recognized and understood everywhere because everyone watches Hollywood movies, even the British royal family. I believe the fact that Wills and Kate spent part of their honeymoon in Hollywood attests to this. American business, and by natural consequence its products, pervades all far shores for their practicality and ingenuity. We tend to model our own after American standards. British english, on the other hand, has had a long and illustrious history. In the Old World, it was supreme. Connecting to modern times, the European dot-com industry is based in ireland and london has always been a world leader in commerce and industry. All in all, Americans treat British english with a healthy amount of deference. They seem to be titillated by its formality. They regard it as akin and venerable, like something they are meant to emulate. They enjoy going back the United Kingdom to trace their ancestry. Over the past 400 years the form of the language used in the Americas — especially in the united states — and that used in the United Kingdom have diverged in a few minor ways, leading to the dialects now occasionally referred to as American english and British english. There's more than just history that links British and American english. The differences are insignificant. The commonality is immense. In the end, communication is still what matters and it is a powerful binding force.