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PP1

British
and
American
English

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Differences between
British and American
English

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England and America are two


countries divided by a common
language.
~George Bernard Shaw

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Differences between British


and American English.
1.
2.
3.
4.

Spelling
Pronunciation (sounds)
Grammar
Vocabulary

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1. SPELLING DIFFERENCES
American: -or

British: -our

American: -er

British: -re

color

colour

center

centre

honor

honour

meter

metre

favorite

favourite

theater

theatre

American: -og

British: -ogue

American: -ll

British: -l

analog

analogue

enrollment

enrolment

catalog

catalogue

fulfill

fulfil

dialog

dialogue

skillful

skilful

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2. PRONUNCIATION (SOUNDS)
WORD

Teacher
Father
Letter
Water
Aunt
Tomato

AMERICAN
PRONUNCIATION

BRITISH
PRONUNCIATION

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PRONUNCIATION (STRESS)
There are many words borrowed from French
that feature stress differences.
British English stresses the first syllable;
American English stresses the last syllable:
moustache cigarette brochure buffet
chauffeur salon
detail
debris
address
magazine limousine

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Pronunciation: stress in words


ending with ate.
Most 2-syllable verbs ending ate have firstsyllable stress in American English and secondsyllable stress in British English:
dictate
pulsate

donate
rotate

locate
mandate migrate
translate vacate vibrate

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2. GRAMMAR
Verbs
Nouns
In British English, collective nouns can
take either singular or plural verb
forms, depending on whether the
emphasis is on the body or the
members within it.
i.e.A committee was appointed.
The committee were unable
to agree.

Morphology
American -- "-ed v British -- "-t"
i.e. learned/learnt, dreamed/dreamt
British English rarely use gotten; instead, got
is much more common.
Past participles often vary:
i.e. saw : American = sawed; British = sawn

Tenses
British English employs the present perfect to talk
about a recent event. American English uses the
Simple Past, e.g. Ive just eaten. (BrE)
I just ate (AmE)

Auxiliaries
British English often uses shall and shant

American English uses will and wont

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4. VOCABULARY
What does this mean?
I put on a jumper and raced to catch a
lift. Once outside, I discovered it was
dark and I was feeling mad. "I should
have brought a torch," I thought. At the
underground I bought a return ticket.
"How am I going to get a rise from my
boss?" I wondered.

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Word confusions with one meaning.


American
Gas
Truck
Bathroom
Line
Stove
Highway
Diaper
Sidewalk

British
Petrol
Lorry
Toilet/Loo
Queue
Hob
Motorway
Nappy
Pavement

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Translate this sentence!

British English:

I was waiting in queue for the loo before getting some


petrol for my lorry when I realized I left the hob on and
the aubergines were probably burning!

American English:

I was waiting in line for the bathroom before getting


some gas for my truck when I realized I left the stove
on and the eggplant was probably burning!

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Word confusion with multiple meanings


AmE/BrE

AmE/BrE

Appetizer/Entre

Flashlight/Torch

Bank Teller/Cashier

A flirt/tart

French Fries/Chips

Hood (car)/Bonnet

Cigarette/Fag

Jello/Jelly

Dessert/Pudding

Jelly/Jam

Eraser/Rubber

Pants/Trousers

Soccer/Football

Private school/Public school

Sweater/Jumper

Public school/State school

Suspenders/Braces

Undershirt/Vest

Underwear/Pants

Potato chips/Crisps

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A note on schooling
In the US, a public
In England, a public
school is government school requires
funded.
tuition fees.
In the US, a private
school requires tuition
fees.

In England, a state
school is government
funded.

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Potentially embarrassing situations: rubber

Eraser
Eraser

Condom

Excuse me, do you


have a rubber?

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Potentially embarrassing situations: pants

Eraser
Underwear

My other jeans ripped, so


Ive been wearing these pants
for the past three days!

Trousers

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Potentially confusing situations

If a British person

asks you about football


they mean soccer.
asks if you want pudding
they mean dessert.
puts on a jumper
they mean a
sweater.
wears braces .
. wears suspenders.
wears suspenders
wears garters.

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Other confusing situations

Ask for chips in England, and youll get French Fries, not
potato crisps
Tell a British friend to pick up some jelly at the store, and
theyll bring home gelatin (Jell-o) not jam

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Just for fun!

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QUESTION:
Do you prefer American English or
British English? Why?
What are the advantages and
disadvantages of each one?

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The End