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While some words may mean something in British English, the

same word might be something else in American English and

vice versa. For example, Athlete in British English is one who
participates in track and field events whereas Athlete in
American English is one who participates in sports in general.
Rubber in British English: tool to erase pencil markings.
Rubber in American English: condom.
There are also some words like AC, Airplane, bro, catsup, cell
phone etc. which are common in American English and not
used very often in British English. Some words widely used in
British English and seldom in American English are advert,
anti clockwise, barrister, cat's eye.
American English spelling British English spelling
Color Colour

Fulfill Fulfil

Center Centre

Analyze Analyse

Aging Ageing

Dialog Dialogue
A majority of the spelling differences between
American and British English fall into the
following categories:

Latin-derived spellings
-our (British) and -or (American). e.g. colour vs color
-re (British) and -er (American). e.g. centre vs center
-ce (British) and -se (American). e.g. defence vs defense
Greek-derived spellings
-ise (British) and -ize (American). e.g. centralise vs centralize
-yse (British) and -yze (American). e.g. analyse vs analyze
-ogue (British) and -og (American). e.g. dialogue vs dialog
Simplification of ae and oe in American English. e.g.
gynaecology vs gynecology
There are also a few differences between
British and American English in the use of
prepositions. For example: While the
British would play in a team, Americans
would play on a team. Another example:
While the British would go out at the
weekend, Americans would go out on the
American and British English may also use a base
verb in different manners. 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". Another example of differing past tense
spellings for verbs in American and British English is
"forecast". Americans use forecast while the British
would say forecasted in simple past tense.
Some words that are pronounced differently in
American vs British English are controversy, leisure,
schedule etc. There are also some words
like Ax (Axe in British) and Defense (Defence in
British) which have the same pronunciation but
different spellings in both languages.
Both languages have a slightly different structure of
telling the time. While the British would say quarter
past ten to denote 10:15, it is not uncommon in
America to say quarter after or even a quarter
after ten.
Thirty minutes after the hour is commonly called half
past in both languages. Americans always
write digital times with a colon, thus 6:00, whereas
Britons often use a point, 6.00.
While the British would write Mr, Mrs, Dr, the Americans would write Mr.,
Mrs., Dr.

Pronunciation - differences in both vowel and consonants, as well as stress

and intonation
Vocabulary - differences in nouns and verbs, especially phrasal verb usage
Spelling - differences are generally found in certain prefix and suffix forms
The most important rule of thumb is to try to be consistent in your usage. If
you decide that you want to use American English spellings then be
consistent in your spelling (i.e. The color of the orange is also its flavour -
color is American spelling and flavour is British), this is of course not always
easy - or possible. The following guide is meant to point out the principal
differences between these two varieties of English.
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. For
I've lost my key. Can you help me look for it?
In American English the following is also possible:
I lost my key. Can you help me look for it?
In British English the above would be considered
incorrect. However, both forms are generally
accepted in standard American English.
Other differences involving the use of the present perfect in British
English and simple past in American English include already, just and

British English:
I've just had lunch
I've already seen that film
Have you finished your homework yet?
American English:
I just had lunch OR I've just had lunch
I've already seen that film OR I already saw that film.
Have your finished your homework yet? OR Did you
finish your homework yet?
There are two forms to express possession in English.
Have or Have got
Do you have a car?
Have you got a car?
He hasn't got any friends.
He doesn't have any friends.
She has a beautiful new home.
She's got a beautiful new home.
While both forms are correct (and accepted in both
British and American English), have got (have you got, he
hasn't got, etc.) is generally the preferred form in British
English while most speakers of American English employ
the have (do you have, he doesn't have etc.)
The past participle of the verb get is gotten in
American English. Example He's gotten much better
at playing tennis. British English - He's got much
better at playing tennis.
Probably the major differences between British and American English lies in the
choice of vocabulary. Some words mean different things in the two varieties for
Mean: (American English - angry, bad humored, British English - not generous, tight
Rubber: (American English - condom, British English - tool used to erase pencil
There are many more examples (too many for me to list here). If there is a difference
in usage, your dictionary will note the different meanings in its definition of the term.
Many vocabulary items are also used in one form and not in the other. One of the best
examples of this is the terminology used for automobiles.
American English - hood
British English - bonnet

American English - trunk

British English - boot

American English - truck

British English - lorry
There are also a few differences in preposition use
including the following:
American English - on the weekend
British English - at the weekend

American English - on a team

British English - in a team

American English - please write me soon

British English - please write to me soon
The following verbs have two acceptable forms of the past simple/past participle in both American
and British English, however, the irregular form is generally more common in British English (the
first form of the two) and the regular form is more common to American English.
Burnt OR burned

dreamt OR dreamed

leant OR leaned

learnt OR learned

smelt OR smelled

spelt OR spelled

spilt OR spilled

spoilt OR spoiled
Here are some general differences between British and American
Words ending in -or (American) -our (British) color, colour, humor,
humour, flavor, flavour etc.
Words ending in -ize (American) -ise (British) recognize, recognise,
patronize, patronise etc.
The best way to make sure that you are being consistent in your
spelling is to use the spell check on your word processor (if you are
using the computer of course) and choose which variety of English
you would like. As you can see, there are really very few differences
between standard British English and standard American English.
However, the largest difference is probably that of the choice of
vocabulary and pronunciation.

I have arranged the words in categories to make viewing

British English American English

Trousers Pants

Pants / Underwear / Knickers Underwear / panties

Jumper / Pullover / Sweater / Sweater
Pinafore Dress Jumper

Vest Undershirt

Waistcoat Vest

Wellington Boots / Wellies Galoshes

Mac (slang for Macintosh) Rain Coat

Plimsolls Gym Shoes

British English American English
Trainers Sneakers

Braces Suspenders

Suspenders Holds up stockings

Dressing Gown Robe

Nappy Diaper

Pinny / Apron Apron

Polo Neck Turtle Neck

Dressing Gown Bath Robe

Swimming costume / Cozzy Bathing Suit

British English American English
Friend / Mate Friend
Glue Gum

Rubber Eraser
Maths Math
Public School Private School
State School Public School
Holiday Vacation
School dinner Hot Lunch
Staff Room Teachers Lounge
"Mucking Around" / Off Task Off Task / Fooling Around /
"Goofing Off"
Play Time / Break Time Recess
Open Day / Open Evening Open House
Marking Scheme Grading Scheme
Drawing pins pushpins or thumbtacks
British English American English
Sleeping Policeman /speed bump Speed bump

Car park Parking Lot

Car Journey / drive Road Trip

Phone Box Telephone Booth

Lollipop Man or Lady Crossing Guard

Motorway Freeway

Traffic Jam / Tailback Traffic Jam

Lorry Truck
Articulated Lorry Tractor Trailer /
Trailer Truck
Petrol Gas / Gasoline

Pavement Sidewalk

Petrol Station Gas Station

Fire Engine Fire Truck

British English American English

Semi-Detached House Duplex

Flat (one storey) appartment Apartment

Terrace (row of houses joined) Town House

Chemist Drug Store / Druggist

Cafe / Caff (not 24 hrs) Diner
Bungalow House (one story)
Ranch House
British English American English
Biscuit / Bickie Cookie
(A cookie is a large biscuit)
Scone Biscuit
Fairy Cake Cup Cake
Courgette Zucchini
Sweets Candy
Sausage / Banger Sausage
Crisps Potato Chips
Chips French Fries
(French Fries in McDonald's)
Starter Appetizer
Puddings / Afters / Dessert / Dessert
British English American English
Jam Jelly
Jelly Jello
Aubergine Eggplant
Sandwich / Butty / Sarny Sandwich
Ice lolly Popsicle
Bill (at restaurant) check
Grill Broil
Food / Grub / Nosh Food
Rasher A slice of bacon
Eggy bread (fried) French Toast
Runner beans Green beans
British English American English

Bonnet Hood

Windscreen Windshield

Boot Trunk

Reversing lights Back-up lights

Exhaust pipe Tail pipe / Muffler

British English American English
The Toilet / Loo / The John / Bathroom / Restroom
Bog / WC / Visiting the little boys (little girl's
Bathroom - the room where the bath is. If you asked us for the bathroom we will think you
want to have a bath!
Tap Faucet
Garden Backyard / Yard
Wardrobe Closet
Bin / Dust Bin Trash Can
Telephone / Blower / Phone Telephone
Television / Box / Telly/ TV TV / Television
Cooker Range or Stove
Couch / Sofa / Settee Sofa
Hand Basin / Sink Sink
Run the bath Fill the tub
British English American English
Girl / Lass Girl
Boy / Lad Boy
Man / Bloke / Gentleman / Guy / Man / Guy
Lady / Woman Lady
Policeman / Bobby / Copper Policeman / Cop
Postman Mailman
Dustman Garbage Man
Friend / Pal / Chum / Mate / Friend / Buddy
Cashier Teller
Lollypop Man Crossing Guard
Nutter Crazy Person
Mum / Mummy / Mom Mom
British English American English
Football Soccer

Rounders Baseball

Bat (table tennis) Paddle (ping pong)

British English American English
Torch Flashlight
Plaster Band-Aid
Autumn Fall
Bank Holiday National Holiday
Lift Elevator
Queue Stand in a Line
There's a queue. There's a line.
Surgery Doctor's office
Trodden on Stepped on
Off you go Go ahead