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The English language was first introduced to the Americas by British colonization, beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Written forms of British and American English as found in newspapers and textbooks vary little in their essential features, with only occasional noticeable differences. Over the past 400 years, the forms of the language used in the America and that used in the United Kingdom have diverged in a few minor ways, leading to the versions now often referred to as American English and British English. Differences between the two include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, punctuation, idioms, and formatting of dates and numbers. However, the differences in written and most spoken grammar structure tend to be much less than in other aspects of the language in terms of mutual intelligibility. A few words have completely different meanings in the two versions or are even unknown or not used in one of the versions. One particular contribution towards formalizing these differences came from Noah Webster, who wrote the first American dictionary with the intention of showing that people in the United States spoke a different dialect from those spoken in the UK, much like a regional accent. This divergence between American English and British English has provided opportunities for humorous comments: e.g. in fiction George Bernard Shaw says that the United States and United Kingdom are "two countries divided by a common language"; and Oscar Wilde says that "We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, the language". Perhaps increased globalization of communication through radio, television and Internet have tended to reduce regional variation. This can lead to some variations becoming extinct (for instance the wireless being progressively superseded by the radio) or the acceptance of wide variations as "perfectly good English" everywhere. Although spoken American and British English are generally mutually intelligible. But the written forms of both languages are somewhat different. Let’s see now some of the differences in both the languages. Spelling Webster decided that Americans should be independent, not only politically, but also lexically. That’s why you will notice an extra U in some British words like colour, armour, and humour. American English tends to end words with -ize rather than the British -ise. The -er ending of words like theater and center is reversed in British English words. Other words are almost unrecognizable as cognates, such as curb and kerb. Grammar In British English, you must use the present perfect for recent actions that affect the present. “I’ve broken your vase. Will you forgive me?” American English accepts the present perfect as correct, but it also offers a second possibility—the simple past. “I broke your vase. Will you forgive me?” American English is tolerant of present perfect, but it is not as understanding of Britain’s past participles. In the following sentences, Americans would use gotten as the past participle of the verb to get, leaned in the place of leant, and spoiled instead of spoilt. “You’ve got much better at breaking things! It’s because you’ve leant too hard against the furniture. Now it’s spoilt!” There are very few grammar differences between American and British English. Certainly, the words they choose might be different at times. However, generally speaking, they follow the same grammar rules. With that said, there are a few differences. Use of the Present Perfect 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 example: “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 yet. 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 you finished your homework yet? OR Did you finish your homework yet?” Vocabulary The largest differences between British and American English lie in the choice of vocabulary. Some words mean different things in the two varieties, for example: Mean: American English - angry, bad humored, British English - not generous, tight-fisted. “American English: Don't be so mean to your sister!” “British English: She's so mean she won't even pay for a cup of tea.” There are many more examples. If there is a difference in usage, the 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 Not so different after all British and American English have far more similarities than differences. I think the difference between American and British English is often exaggerated. If you can understand one style, you should be able to understand the other style. Apart from some regional dialects, most British and Americans can understand each other without too much difficulty. They watch each other’s TV shows, sing each other’s songs, and read each other’s books.