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23 Aug
ENG45  0


amer. vs. british




As the saying goes: “The British and the Americans are two nations divided by a common language.” Good news is, the two varieties are so similar that people have usually no difficulty understanding each other, regardless of which side of the Atlantic they’re from.

When you start learning the English language they are either taught in American English or British English. So, how can you learn about each accent? The only way is first to choose your target accent and then listen to recordings that have used those special accents. Listen as much as possible.

Other than accents there are some grammatical differences between the two major ones. Here are some differences that can be mentioned:

Have vs. have got:

In Britain, the form ‘have got’ is often used informally to talk about possession:

I’ve got an idea. (BrE)

I have an idea. (AmE)

Have you got a pen? (BrE)

Do you have a pen? (AmE)

I haven’t got any money. (BrE)

I don’t have any money. (AmE)


Present Perfect vs Past Simple (yet, already, just):

In the US, Past Simple is the preferred form:

Have you called Dave yet? (BrE)

Did you call Dave yet? (AmE)

I haven’t called him yet. (BrE)

I didn’t call him yet. (AmE)

I’ve already called him. (BrE)

I already called him. (AmE)

I’ve just called him. (BrE)

I just called him. (AmE)


Past Tense Form:

There are a few verbs that have different forms in Past Simple and/or Past Participle. Here are the most common ones:

bust- bust- bust (BrE)

bust- busted- busted (AmE)

get- got- got (BrE)

get- got- gotten (AmE)

learn- learnt- learnt (BrE)

learn- learned- learned (AmE)

prove- proved- proved (BrE)

proved- proved- proven (AmE)

smell- smelt- smelt (BrE)

smell- smelled- smelled (AmE)

spill- spilt- spilt (BrE)

spill- spilled- spilled (AmE)


Differences in vocabulary are the most numerous and possibly the most confusing. Some things have different names, or the same words might have different meanings in AmE and BrE.

There are also some differences in spelling. You can see some of the most common examples below: centre (BrE) center (AmE), Theatre (BrE) theater (AmE), calibre (BrE) caliber (AmE), fibre (BrE) fiber (AmE)

Although, there are some differences between the two world it doesn’t seem to cause any major problems for the English readers.



american vs. british





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