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Sunday, June 27, 2010

British English v. American English

Although English is generally the same all over the world, there are several differences between British and American English.

1. Spelling
Sometimes American and British English users spell things differently. Some of the main differences are:

In British English, words that end in -ize or -ization can often also be spelled -ise or -isation, for example both organization and organisation are correct in British English, but the letter z is the correct American spelling. However, the word advertise is always spelt with an s.

2. Vocabulary

Some words for the same things are different in British and American English. Here are some examples:

imes words are neither specifically British or American, but a British or American speaker is more likely to use one word than another. For example, the word angry is correct in British and American English, but Americans usually use the word mad. The phrase a bit is also acceptable in both, but Americans are more likely to say a little. Similarly, British speakers are more likely to use the noun and verb post instead of mail, although mail is correct in both British and American English.

3. Grammar

There are also some grammatical differences between British and American English, for example when you are choosing the correct preposition to use. Here are some examples:

You can phone us on 0800 123123.

He looked round the corner.
Her accent is different from/to mine.
You can phone us at 01 800 555.
He looked around the corner.
Her accent is different from/than mine.

Sometimes, Americans can miss out a preposition when British people would always use one, for example with the verb protest. British speakers would always use the preposition about: Some students were protesting about the war, but the preposition can be missed out in American English: Some students were protesting the war.

4. Pronunciation

This dictionary shows the standard British English pronunciation, then the standard American English pronunciation after two lines (like this ||).

Some words are stressed in different ways in British English and American English. Look at the entry for address1.

address1 /
'dres || 'dres, '├Ždres / n [C] 1 the details of where someone lives or works, including the number of the building, name of the street, town etc: I forgot to give Damien my new address. 2 a formal speech: the Gettysburg Address

Speakers of American English often say ADDress, whereas speakers of British English always say addRESS.

Reference: Longman Active Study Dictionary

1 comment:

colleen said...

im a filipino but im wiling to learn the both british english and american english...

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