Differences between British English and American English

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Over 4 centuries, Portuguese developed in two substantially different dialects in Portugal and Brazil. However, unlike what happened with Portuguese, the differences between the British and North American dialects are less significant.

The English language shows radical differences, which include issues of accent, pronunciation and slight differences in vocabulary, spelling and grammar.

Main difference between British and American English

The main difference ends up being the greater predominance of that practiced in the United States, and this can be explained by the greater presence of the North American media around the world, whether in films, books, music and a whole series of cultural manifestations.

This is the reverse of what was recorded until the end of the 19th century, when England held the position of world superpower and the spread of its culture predominated around the world.

However, this does not mean that there is a more correct version than the other. The differences are often semantic. They derive from the context and history of a particular term for its use, as in the case of the Subway: Subway, for the Americans, Underground and Tube for the British. This is more common in colloquial discourse, with its slang and jargon, than in the educated norm. Such a peculiarity is more common in a conversation, than when reading a newspaper.

Grammatical differences from British and American English

There is a slight difference between American and British grammar. Sometimes, this difference may seem imperceptible in a conversation, but for those who are used to reading in Portuguese and English, such changes can cause some awkwardness or difficulty. So it is good to have a sense of some of these grammatical differences.

There are some differences in the use of the present perfect and the possessive. As usual, the British use the perfect gift with a desire to express actions that have occurred recently. For example, if an American says, "I ate so much," which means "I ate a lot," a Brit would probably say, "I've eaten too much".

Diferenças entre o Inglês britânico e o Inglês americano

Another example is found in the use of the possessive. The British generally use “have got”, whereas Americans suppress “got” in the sentences. If you were to ask an American if he has a car, you could say, "Do you have a car?" However, if you asked the same question to a Brit, you should say: “Have you got a car?”.

It is important to learn the various possibilities that the language has, as this helps to improve the mastery of the language.

Differences in British English and American English vocabulary

The vocabulary is quite similar, but there are some terms that help to differentiate the two. Little is changed, the main changes are:

  • - The exchange of the r: American (Center and meter) and British (center and meter);
  • - The use of u: American (color) and British (color);
  • - The word rubber: American (eraser) and British (rubber);
  • - The ending –ize (used in American English, example: realize) and –ise (British English, example: realize).

Below I will leave a list of popular words that are different in British English and North American English. I hope you like the examples below:

Tabela Responsiva: Role a tabela para o lado com o dedo <<
American English British English Portuguese
airplane aeroplane avião
aluminum aluminium alumínio
apartment flat apartamento
apartment building block of flats edifício de apartamentos
appointment book diary agenda
area code dialing code código de acesso DDD
brownnoser, ass-kisser arse-licker suck
candy sweets balas
cell phone mobile phone telefone celular
checking account current account conta corrente
closet wardrobe armário
convertible convertible conversível
cookie biscuit biscoito, doce
cot camp bed cama de campanha
dessert pudding, dessert sobremesa
diaper nappy fralda
dirt road unpaved road estrada de chão
doctor’s office surgery consultório
downtown city centre, town centre centro (de uma cidade)
driver’s license driving-licence carteira de habilitação
drugstore chemist’s farmácia
eggplant aubergine beringela
elevator lift elevador
engine hood bonnet capô do motor
eraser rubber borracha de apagar
faculty academic staff corpo docente
fall autumn outono
fire department fire brigade bombeiros
flashlight torch lanterna
for rent to let aluga-se
freeway motorway auto-estrada
french fries chips batas fritas (formato longo)
front desk reception recepção
garbage litter, rubbish lixo
garbage can bin lata de lixo
garbage collector dustbin man lixeiro
garbage truck dustbin lorry caminhão de lixo
gas (gasoline) petrol gasolina
graduate studies postgraduate course pós-graduação
guy bloke, guy cara (pessoa, rapaz)
kerosene paraffin querosene
labor union trade union sindicato
lavatory/bathroom toilet banheiro
lawyer solicitor, barrister advogado
license plate number plate placa de carro
line queue fila
mailman postman carteiro
math maths mathematics
mechanical pencil propelling pencil lapiseira
mom, mommy mum, mummy mamãe
motor home caravan auto-casa
movie theater cinema cinema
muffler silencer silenciador, surdina
national holiday bank holiday feriado nacional
one-way ticket single ticket passagem só de ida
oven cooker forno
overpass flyover viaduto
pacifier dummy chupeta
pants trousers calças
parking lot car park estacionamento
period full stop ponto (final de frase)
pop, soda soft drink, pop, fizzy drink refrigerante
potato chips crisps batas fritas (em fatias finas)
principal head teacher, headmaster diretor (de escola)
quotation marks speech marks aspas
resume curriculum vitae currículo
ride lift carona
roommate flatmate colega de quarto ou apartamento
scotch tape sellotape fita adesiva
shoulder hard shoulder acostamento (de estrada)
sidewalk pavement, footpath calçada
soccer football soccer
stove cooker fogão
subway underground, tube metrô
tire tyre pneu
truck lorry caminhão
trunk boot porta-malas
undergraduate school degree curso de graduação
zipcode postcode Zip code

Differences in pronunciation British English and American English

Knowing how to differentiate the pronunciation of British and American English is very important, as it helps you understand movies, books and series more easily. In addition to facilitating trips abroad. In British English, the rhythm is different, the pronunciation is more clipped and emphatic. The American has a slower pronunciation.

Example: In American English, the “t” is pronounced as a “d” (the word “better” sounds like a “béder”, whereas the British pronounce it as “t”).

Even with some differences, it is possible to identify them gradually and naturally, as the student progresses in his studies.

Differences in the spelling of American English and British English

To conclude the article, we will show that there are also differences in the spelling of some words. Differences that may go unnoticed by speakers and readers. The list below explains well what I mean. If you liked it, share the article with friends and leave your comments.

Tabela Responsiva: Role a tabela para o lado com o dedo <<
Inglês Americano Inglês Britânico
analyze analyse
apologize apologise
catalog catalogue
center centre
color colour
curb kerb
defense defence
dialog dialogue
fiber fibre
fulfill fulfil
honor honour
inflection inflexion
jewelry jewellry
labor labour
license licence
liter litre
odor odour
offense offence
pajamas pyjamas
program programme
realize realise
skeptical sceptical
skillful skilful
specialty speciality
traveler traveller
woolen woollen