21 Examples of Grammar Differences American and British English

WritingSkills.my.id - What is British English? What is American English? What are some examples of their differences? The definition of Bri...

21 Examples of Differences in American and British English Grammar

WritingSkills.my.id - What is British English? What is American English? What are some examples of their differences?

The definition of British English and American English is as follows. British English is the language which is used and developed in Great Britain (the original English language). The British English is also known as Received Pronunciation (RP). On the contrary, American English is the language which is used and developed in the United States. The American English is also known as General American (GA).

Below is listed 21 circumstances when British English and American English are used differently. 

Notes:
"(B)" = British English (= Briticism);
"(A)" = American English (= Americanism)

1. "in" or "on"?

(B) The children were playing in the street.
(A) The children were playing on the street.

2. "ill" or "sick"?

(B) He's ill.
(A) He's sick.

3. "twenty miles' trip" or "twenty-mile trip"

(B) It's a twenty miles' trip.
(A) It's a twenty-mile trip.

4. "straight away" or "right away"

(B) He didn't come back straight away.
(A) He didn't come back right away.
(B) or (A) He didn't come back immediately.

5. "as" or "because"

(B) I can't come, as I have to work.
(A) I can't come, because I have to work.
Note: The use of "as" in American English is common in informal writing.

6. "expect" or "guess"

Is it going to rain?
(B) I expect not./I expect it isn't.
(A) I guess not./I guess it isn't.

7. "haven't go to" or "don't have to"

(B) I haven't go to work now./I needn't work now.
(A) I don't have to work now.

8. "Have I?" or "Do I have to?"

(B) Have I got to work now?
(A) Do I have to work now?

9. "learn" or "study"

(B) I learnt/learned Japanese for two years.
(A) I studied Japanese for two years.

10. "mind" or "watch"

(B) Mind the dog.
(A) Watch out for the dog./Be careful of the dog.
Note: The same sentence that has the same meaning and is usually written on the sign board, but is not common in spoken language is: BEWARE OF THE DOG!

11. "Have you finished?" or "Are you through with?"

(B) Have you finished your homework?
(A) Are you through with your homework?

12. "finished one's studies" or "graduated from"

(B) He finished his studies at the Crook County High School in 2022.
(A) He graduated from the Crook County High School in 2022.
Note: The verb "graduate" in British English is only used when someone has completed a university degree.

13. "have dinner" or "eat dinner"

(B) When do you have dinner?
(A) When do you eat dinner?

14. "should come" or "come"

(B) John suggested (that) she should come.
(A) John suggested (that) she come.
Note: The conjunction "that" in informal situation is usually omitted in both British and American English.

15. Short distance direction

(B) Go straight on.
(A) Go straight ahead.
Note: In giving direction, especially for short distance, the British and American people use left, right, and straight on or straight ahead oftener than north, south, east, and west.

16. "about" or "with"

(B) I have no money about me.
(A) I have no money with me.
Note: If you mean "no money in your pocket", use the expression: I have no money on me.

17. "whilst" or "while"

(B) Whilst I was reading I fell asleep.
(A) While I was reading I fell asleep.
Note: "While" is also used in British English.

18. "to go in for" or "to take an examination"

(B) They went in for the entrance examination.
(B) They sat for the entrance examination.
Note: "to go in for" and "to sit for" are used in British English for special examination. "To sit for" is old-fashioned, and rarely used in modern English.

(A) They took the examination.
Note: "to take an examination" is used in ordinary school examination.

19. "got someone to make" or "have someone make"

(B) I got him to make a suit for me.
(A) I had him make a suit for me.
Note: The passive voice with "have" is common in both British and American English: I had a suit made.

20. "fetch" or "go get"

(B) Fetch your books.
(A) Go get your books.

21. "fetch someone" or "come and get someone"

(B) We'll fetch you at the Gatwick Airport.
(A) We'll come and get you at the Gatwick Airport.
(A) We'll meet you at the Gatwick Airport.
(A) We'll pick you up at the Gatwick Airport.

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