is the form of english
used in the united states
. It includes all english
dialects used within the united states
of America. British english
is the form of english
used in the United Kingdom. It includes all english
dialects used within the United Kingdom.
There are a lot of differences between American and British english
, especially in the field of grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling and forming of dates and numbers.
Differences in grammar include the usage of present perfect tense. In British english
the present perfect is used to express an action that has occurred in the recent past that has an effect on the present moment. In American english
using the past tense is permissible. Other difference is in verb usage. For example, for the verb " to dream", Americans would use the past tense dreamed while the British would use dreamt in past tense. The same applies to "learned" and "learnt". The Americans tend to use regular forms more, whereas the British use more often irregular forms. Next difference is the verb “ to have”. In American english
, the question and negative is formed with the verb do/does. In British english
we can find the form “Have you got a dog?” X Am.: “Do you have a dog?”
As another example, Americans are much more likely to be technically correct in the agreement of collective noun and verb form than Britons. So in standard AE it would be: The team is playing well this season whereas in BE it is common and acceptable to say The team are playing well. Similar differences can be seen in the use of words like government, committee etc.: The government is .. (AE), The government are .. (BE).
There are also differences in using prepositions. Br: play in a team, Am: play on a team. Br.: at the weekend, Am.: on the weekend.
Regarding the vocabulary, there can be differences in meaning. Sometimes one word is used more often in one of the english
forms, sometimes it can have completely different meaning.
Different meaning: rubber, first floor, flat.
Majority of spelling differences is connected with endings:
Br. –our (colour, flavour) Am.: -or (color, flavor)
Br.- re (centre, theatre) Am.:-er (center, theater)
Br. –ise (realise, organise) Am.: -ize (realize, organize)
Br.-ogue (catalogue, monologue) Am.: og ( catalog, monolog)
Differences in pronunciation are significant, especially with regard to sounds /r/. In most of the cases the /r/ sound in American english
is stronger than in British english
. Another common difference is the pronunciation of /t/sound . In American english
it is pronounced voiced, almost as /d/.
City /siti/ (br.) /sidi/-am., better
Sound /o/ in American english
is more open. It is similar to /a/ or /a:/
God /god/ (br.) /ga:d/-Am.
Other differences can be pronunciation of whole words: schedule- br. With /?/ at the beginning, am. With /sk/ or the ending – ile which is in British english
pronounced /-ail/ whereas in American /- /.
And now the impact of these differences on learning. The biggest problem is in my opinion mixing of these two forms especially regarding the pronunciation. Students usually cannot pronounce the American form precisely even if they try to imitate the speakers on TV and the word is neither British nor American. They want to say “boss” in an American way and instead they say “bus”. Other problem may arise if they are taught by an American teacher
who does not use present perfect tense and is not able to explain the tense. I think students should be taught one of the forms and be advised of some basic differences.