Know your English: British Vs American

Are you an American English speaker or a British English speaker?

In case you had no idea, well this is a list of a few terms that differ between British and American English.

A few terms to differentiate between British and American English.
A few terms to differentiate between British and American English.

Check the ones that you usually use and you will be able to identify whether your English has a British or an American influence.

As far as I’m concerned, I used to use terms from both, up until I made an effort to focus solely on using American English just to avoid confusion. I would still use British English on very rare occasions; it depends on the person I am talking to.

If you know any other British Vs American English words, please share them in the comments section below! Also, I’d love to know what English you speak 🙂

13 thoughts on “Know your English: British Vs American

  1. Nice one- thank you for sharing!! There are, of course, many, many more examples, both in the vernacular, in business and in technical terminology. I think George Bernard Shaw captured it quite brilliantly with his statement that “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” As a native German, I was taught British English (then called Oxford English) in the German school, starting in 5th grade. That was a long time ago. Nowadays, my nieces begin English studies in 3rd grade (of form ;). Moving the the U.S. in my 20s for graduate school required some “remedial BE-AE vocabulary enhancement.” I believe the discussion about America’s cultural and linguistic imperialism is ongoing…

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jean.

      I believe “colour”, “behaviour” and other similar words are also used in British English. Anyway, this is how I found the graphic. I simply shared it with my readers 🙂 If I happen to find any other interesting examples, I will surely share them, too!

  2. thanx
    Il y a aussi “purse” (US) & “handbag” ( GB) et plusieurs autres. A suivre…
    les Australiens écrivent “color” mais plutôt “neighbours” et les Neo-Zelandais, leurs voisins, “colour” …

  3. Thank you, Rania, this is a good reference. And yes, many words that we (in the US) write with the “or” ending are written with “our” in British usage. A fun one that was missing from the graphic is “pants” in British usage; in American English that would be men’s undershorts. Also to “knock someone up” in the US means to get them pregnant; in British usage it means to knock on their door!

    There are also a couple in the graphic that may be confusing. US English speakers use both “curtains” and “drapes.” Floor-length curtains are called drapes, and ones that just cover the windows are curtains. “Autumn” is also used in the US, not just Britain, but “Fall” is a more informal term.

  4. what about the British expression ‘looking out of the window’ vs its US counterpart ‘looking out the window’?

    1. There are way more expressions and words. The graphic only shows a few. This is simply how I found it and shared it.

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