What is the American and British English difference?

The American and British English difference is relatively small. For those who have been studying British English, the following will help familiarize (American spelling) you with some of the main differences.

Please note that there is no language known as "American."

American English is properly understood to be a dialect of the English Language.

With this in mind, let's look at what makes up the American and British English difference.

The following list shows general spelling differences between American and British English. From the familiar “re” of centre or theatre in British English to the “ize” of American English spelling of words like apologize or realize, these spelling differences, once learned, should not be a problem to those at the proficiency level of the language.

After all, the American and British English difference doesn't prevent usfrom understanding one another. Unless, or course, you happen to be British or American and find yourself speaking to the other. ; -)

I recommend you learn one form and stick with it. After all, both forms are accepted in all examinations as long as you are consistent.


BRITISH ENGLISH                      

  adviser

  analyse

  apologise/apologize

  axe 

  behaviour

  catalogue

  centre 

  cheque 

  colour 

  councillor 

  counsellor 

  defence 

  dialogue 

  favour 

  favourite 

  enrol 

  fulfil 

  grey  

  honour 

  humour 

  instal 

  jeweller 

  jewellery 

  kerb (edge of pavement) 

  labelled  

  labour 

  liqueur 

  licence 

  litre 

  marvellous

  metre

  neighbour 

  organize/organise 

  plough 

  practise (verb)

  practice (noun)

  programme 

  pyjamas  

  quarrelled 

  realise/realize

  signalled 

  skilful

  theatre 

  through 

  travelled, -lling 

  tyre (on a wheel)


AMERICAN ENGLISH

  advisor

  analyze

  apologize

  axe/ax

  behavior

  catalog/catalogue

  center

  check

  color

  councilor

  counselor

  defense

  dialog/dialogue

  favor

  favorite

  enroll

  fulfill

  gray

  honor

  humor

  install

  jeweler

  jewelery

  curb

  labeled

  labor

  liquor

  license

  liter

  marvelous

  meter

  neighbor

  organize

  plow

  practice (verb and noun)

 

  program

  pajamas

  quarreled

  realize

  signaled

  skillful

  theater

  through, thru

  traveled, -ling

  tire




Apart from differences in spelling, there are certain words used by the British that are quite foreign to many Americans. In like manner, many American words are certain to cause the British to raise an eyebrow or two. That said, we can still (for the most part) understand one another.


For more information about the American and British English difference click on the preceding link. On the next page you will find the differences between American and British English vocabulary.

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