When someone says “I want to work on my English pronunciation, I usually say “Which one?” and then show them this. And this one is just on British accents. Click here for one about American accents – and more!
Ok, and while we’re at it….how about this classic on the difference between American and British slang – you might pick up a new phrase or two… I could go on for hours (oops! I mean pages) about the difference in accents, but I’d like to give you a very (very) brief (stop! Think of 2 other words that mean the same as ‘brief’! Did you say ‘short’, and ‘concise’? Well done!) overview of some of the major differences between US and UK English when it comes to spelling and grammar. Because I am a grammar goddess, yo.
Here we go:
- Spelling: Many British words end in ‘our’ and in the States we end them in ‘or’. Colour/color, labour/ labor, harbour, harbor, you get the picture. Brits write ‘litre’, ‘theatre’, and ‘centre’ and Americans write ‘liter’, ‘theater’, ‘center’. But ‘acre’, ‘mediocre’ (when was the last time you used this word? Such a great word!) and ‘massacre’ are spelled that way on both sides of the pond. The Brits realise they are organised, while Americans realize they are organized. So. Much. Fun.
- Grammar: A British person would most likely use the Present Perfect when describing the present results of something. For example ‘Oh, you’ve cut your hair!’. An American would tend to use the Past Simple for this – ‘Oh, you cut your hair!’ With the words ‘just’, ‘already’ and ‘yet’, an American would most likely use the Past Simple and a Brit the Present Perfect. For example, an American would say “I already ate breakfast”, while a British person might say “I’ve already eaten breakfast,” and “Have you called her yet?” sounds more British, whereas “Did you call her yet?” sounds more American.
This is just the teeny tiny tip of the iceberg when it comes to some of the differences between British and American English. More will come in future posts if you find that helpful (just hit the ‘reply’ button!). Many are also explained in Rock Your English!
Oh, and one more thing before I go (doing my Columbo glance over my shoulder) – please (please! Learn from my mistakes- this really happened to me!) remember that the next time a 70- year old British woman asks you if she can ‘borrow your rubber’ and that she will ‘give it right back to you when we are done’, she is NOT talking about a condom, but an ERASER. AN ERASER. Now go wash your mind.
Thank you so much for reading!
Wit lof as always! XX