British and American English British English is primarily used in


British English is primarily used in the United Kingdom and includes the varieties used in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. British English can vary within socio-economic groups in a particular region. American English is obviously used in the United States. There are various dialects within the US, including Southern, Midland, Northeastern, and Western. The languages have many differences, ranging from grammatical, to word use and meaning, as well as pronunciation and spelling.

Although English was introduced to America by the British, the language has evolved over the last few hundred years, creating two different brands of the same language. In addition to the difference in pronunciation there are many grammatical differences as well. Certain verbs are conjugated in different ways. For example, the past participle form of learn in American English is learned but in British English it can be learnt. This also applies to dream and burn. There is also a difference in the use of tenses such as the present perfect. In British English it is used to talk about a recent past event and with already, just, and yet and in American English the past simple tense can also be used. Another grammatical difference is the use of the word write. In American English it would be I will write to my Mother while British English would leave out to and it would be I will write my Mother. Spelling can also vary, such as colour and color.

The two languages also use different words themselves. The way words are combined can also be different. For example American English uses race car while British English uses racing car as well as rowboat and rowing boat. In both these cases American English dropped the –ing and combined the word. Different words can be used to refer to the same thing such as mate in British English for friend in American English. Loo is used in British English and bathroom or restroom is used in American English. Other words used in British English but not American English include chap, bloke, lorry, queue, and shag. Words used in American English but not British English include semi, stroller, kitty-corner, sidewalk, and gas. The same words can be used in both languages but have different meanings, such as biscuit or bill.

Different phrases and expressions are used in the two languages. For example, British English uses a quarter past while American English uses a quarter after to express time. There are similar phrases with slight differences such as I won’t touch it with a bargepole (British) compared with I won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole (American) or a skeleton in the closest versus a skeleton in the cupboard. British say touch wood for good luck while Americans say knock on wood. Different words are used to describe levels of education and year in school. British English calls university what American English calls college, which for British English is something between secondary school and university. The term public school also has different meanings. In Britain they are private and independent but in America they are run by the government and are free.

Works Cited

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_differences