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English Grammar Lesson – American vs. British English November 28th, 2017

They love tea, but we love coffee. They drive on the left side, while we drive on the right. They gave the world The Beatles Shakespeare, and Harry Potter (among many other people and things). We gave the world Frank Sinatra, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, and all of excitement and explosions that Michael Bay has to offer (and so much more).

There are many things that distinguish the British from Americans and vice versa. Certainly, both cultures have a lot of different things to offer. But when it comes to English language use, there are a few items you should know:


The most obvious differences are the addition of the “u” (Americans: color, honor, and labor; Brits: colour, honour, and labour); the “er” or “re” endings (Americans: center, fiber, and kilometer; Brits: centre, fibre, and kilometre); and the “ize” or “ise” endings (Americans: appetizer, capitalize, and criticize; Brits: appetiser, capitalise, and criticise). Another difference is the changing of “og” endings to “ogue” (Americans: analog, dialog, and catalog; Brits: analogue, dialogue, and catalogue).


When you travel, Americans go on vacation, while Brits go on holiday(s).
When Americans are in the mood for some eggplant, the Brits buy some aubergines.
In a car accident? Americans will check the hood at the front of the car, while Brits check the bonnet. Hit from behind? In the US, check the trunk. In the UK, you should check the boot.
Do you have a talent for numbers? In America, being great at math can lead to a number of wonderful careers. The same goes for Brits who are skilled in maths.
Hungry, but on the run? Get some takeout at your favorite American restaurant! If you’re on the other side of the Atlantic, you’d get some takeaway.


In past forms, Americans tend to use the -ed ending (dreamed, burned, learned) when Brits use the -t ending (dreamt, burnt, learnt). Similarly, Americans will use the -en ending of past participles (gotten) whereas Brits will simply say “got.”
If you’re speaking about necessity, Americans commonly use have to where Brits insert a third word: have got to.

This short list only highlights a few differences. There are many more to see! If you’d like more information, please research “differences between British and American [spelling/vocabulary/grammar/etc.]”