Comparison of American and British English

The English language is a very diverse tool of communication that is used by a very large number of people all over the world. So much so, that it is officially considered to be the most spoken language in the whole world. This makes is very important for us to find out more about its details and intricacies and the places in which it seems to create a diversity and choice. Among the many different dialects that English language has, the two most commonly known are the British English and the American English. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also several key differences which must be known to everyone who speaks English on a daily basis. The differences between the two dialects are both in terms of the grammar of the language and also the way it is expressed. What it means is that you need to study deeply in order to truly understand how and why these two dialects differ from each other. To help you out with that, this article will point out all the important aspects of the two dialects and explain each one separately.


The grammar of a language provides the blueprints upon which any expression is structured. This is where all the aspects like nouns, verbs, adjective etc. are discussed and when it comes to these two dialects, there are some very interesting differences.

In the case of nouns e.g. if there is a collective noun then there is a chance that it could either be singular or plural for the British English. However, the American English almost always uses a collective noun in singular terms. An example of this can be that in British English one would either say “the group was unable to decide” or “the group were unable to decidebut in the case of American English it would always be “the group was unable to decide”. This can happen in any case where a collective noun is being used.

The differences in the case of verb also appear from time to time and one of the things in this regard is the way past tense of a word is created for certain words. In the British English e.g. the past tense of spill can be spilt or spilled and same goes for other words like smell, spoil etc. However, the American English is pretty much always using ‘ed’ at the end e.g. spilled, spoiled or smelled. Another example of such a difference can be the use of the past participle ‘gotten’. While it may still be used in American English, it is not used in the British English at all.

These are only some of the differences and one can find more in other areas too like the usage of tenses in some cases, the transitivity of a verb and also verbal auxiliaries.


As far as the written form of communication is concerned, there are quite a lot of differences that you can find between the British English and the American English.

The biggest of all differences is the way different words are spelled in the two dialects. As far as the current following is concerned, the British reference from the Dictionary of the English Language (1755) which was created by Samuel Johnson. The Americans on the other hand follow the American Dictionary of English Language (1828) which was created by Noah Webster. Also the Americans tend to follow the old rules more than the British do.

The differences also appear in the punctuation sometimes e.g. where the Americans would use Mr., Dr., Mrs. etc. for their titles the British tend to use them as Mr, Mrs, Dr, St etc. The rule for the British here is that they will not use the dot unless the last letter is not actually the last one in the abbreviation.

As far as the vocabulary itself is concerned, the British English will show a lot of words that are from the French and it was also the only type of foreign language approved into English for a long time. The American English however was impacted by several different cultures which included Native American, Spanish, Dutch, German and also Mexican American.

Final Words

All these things are only scratching the top of a field that has developed into a complete form of linguistic study. Knowing the key differences mentioned here can help you a lot in understanding the true difference between the two types. To see interesting information regarding the relationship between these two dialects, make sure you visit this link.