British and American English

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There are plenty of vocabulary and grammar differences between British English (BrE) and American English (AmE). Have a look at the vocabulary and lesson below, and take the quizzes when you’re ready.


Differences in vocabulary

Here are 15 vocabulary differences between BrE and AmE, there are a LOT more, but these are the most common ones.

 

BrE AmE
flat (residence) apartment
block of flats apartment building
garden yard
car park parking lot
football soccer
holiday vacation
queue line
film movie
petrol gas
pavement sidewalk
toilet bathroom / restroom
crisps potato chips
off-licence liquor store
autumn fall
bill (restaurant) check

Differences in expressions

Have a look at these 10 BrE expressions, and their AmE versions. Once again, many more exist but these are the most common ones.

 

BrE AmE
What time is it? Do you have the time?
going to gonna
want to wanna
It’s ten to five It’s ten of five
It’s ten past five It’s ten after five
Brush the path Sweep the path
wait in a queue stand in line
satellite tv cable tv
twice two times
Monday to Friday Monday thru Friday

Differences in spelling

As well as vocabulary differences, many words are spelled differently in AmE. Have a look at these 5 BrE words, and their AmE versions. Once again, many more exist but these are the most common ones.

 

BrE AmE
cheque check
through thru
theatre theater
colour color
apologise apologize

Differences in grammar

  • Sometimes, in AmE, adjectives are used instead of adverbs:

It hurts really bad!
(not badly)

They played quite good.
(not well)

  • Also, many verbs are conjugated differently in AmE:

He learned to drive on the right, but he’s gotten used to driving on the left.
(BrE = learnt,  got)

They sneaked into the building and lighted the fire.
(BrE = snuck, lit)