The two great nations are divided into a commonly spoken language, funny, right? I once read that there isn’t a thing such as ‘correct’ English. This is one ever-evolving language that is spoken in variations all around the globe. But when we talk about UK and US, the distinctions are more evident and persistent. There are many differences in the written as well as spoken American and British English. Let’s talk about this age-old joke:
British: Colour
America: Color
British: Flavour
America: Flavor
British: What are you doing?
America: Getting rid of ‘u’, Lmao.
Though the major differences arise in the vocabulary, since there are hundreds of everyday words that are different in both the types of English, there are plenty of differences in how some words are spelled and pronounced as well.
Beginning with vocabulary, while the Londoners live in Flats, New Yorkers live in apartments. Brits call the front of the car bonnet while to Americans, it is hood. There are plenty of other examples but the words are used better in context of the sentence being spoken. From using the word ‘rubber’ instead of ‘eraser’ to common things like ‘pants’ instead of ‘trousers’, the vocabulary differs and it often poses a problem for the person from one nation who has been exposed to a particular type of English in understanding the other’s meaning.
There are also basic grammar differences like in the use of prepositions, collective nouns, Plural Verbs, use of irregular verbs, use of shall/will and use of have/got.
Apart from the already mentioned spelling differences where Brits end their words with –our while Americans use –or, there are other distinctions in spellings of British centre in place of American center and while Brits practise football while Americans practice Soccer. Americans use a period after their abbreviations such as Mr., Mrs. etc while Brits don’t. These are the basic differences between written English, there are many such evident differences in spoke English, like the accent, use of slang, pronunciation etc.
While the nations may be divided in their linguistic habits, the people often understand each other through context and some people use both American and British English alternatively as it suits them.