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".

Differences between British English and American English

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:

American EnglishBritish EnglishPortuguese
airplaneaeroplaneavião
aluminumaluminiumalumínio
apartmentflatapartamento
apartment buildingblock of flatsedifício de apartamentos
appointment bookdiaryagenda
area codedialing codecódigo de acesso DDD
brownnoser, ass-kisserarse-lickersuck
candysweetsbalas
cell phonemobile phonetelefone celular
checking accountcurrent accountconta corrente
closetwardrobearmário
convertibleconvertibleconversível
cookiebiscuitbiscoito, doce
cotcamp bedcama de campanha
dessertpudding, dessertsobremesa
diapernappyfralda
dirt roadunpaved roadestrada de chão
doctor’s officesurgeryconsultório
downtowncity centre, town centrecentro (de uma cidade)
driver’s licensedriving-licencecarteira de habilitação
drugstorechemist’sfarmácia
eggplantaubergineberingela
elevatorliftelevador
engine hoodbonnetcapô do motor
eraserrubberborracha de apagar
facultyacademic staffcorpo docente
fallautumnoutono
fire departmentfire brigadebombeiros
flashlighttorchlanterna
for rentto letaluga-se
freewaymotorwayauto-estrada
french frieschipsbatas fritas (formato longo)
front deskreceptionrecepção
garbagelitter, rubbishlixo
garbage canbinlata de lixo
garbage collectordustbin manlixeiro
garbage truckdustbin lorrycaminhão de lixo
gas (gasoline)petrolgasolina
graduate studiespostgraduate coursepós-graduação
guybloke, guycara (pessoa, rapaz)
keroseneparaffinquerosene
labor uniontrade unionsindicato
lavatory/bathroomtoiletbanheiro
lawyersolicitor, barristeradvogado
license platenumber plateplaca de carro
linequeuefila
mailmanpostmancarteiro
mathmathsmathematics
mechanical pencilpropelling pencillapiseira
mom, mommymum, mummymamãe
motor homecaravanauto-casa
movie theatercinemacinema
mufflersilencersilenciador, surdina
national holidaybank holidayferiado nacional
one-way ticketsingle ticketpassagem só de ida
ovencookerforno
overpassflyoverviaduto
pacifierdummychupeta
pantstrouserscalças
parking lotcar parkestacionamento
periodfull stopponto (final de frase)
pop, sodasoft drink, pop, fizzy drinkrefrigerante
potato chipscrispsbatas fritas (em fatias finas)
principalhead teacher, headmasterdiretor (de escola)
quotation marksspeech marksaspas
resumecurriculum vitaecurrículo
rideliftcarona
roommateflatmatecolega de quarto ou apartamento
scotch tapesellotapefita adesiva
shoulderhard shoulderacostamento (de estrada)
sidewalkpavement, footpathcalçada
soccerfootballsoccer
stovecookerfogão
subwayunderground, tubemetrô
tiretyrepneu
trucklorrycaminhão
trunkbootporta-malas
undergraduate schooldegreegraduation course
ZIP codepostcodeZip 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.

American EnglishBritish English
analyzeanalyse
apologizeapologise
catalogcatalogue
centercentre
colorcolour
curbkerb
defensedefence
dialogdialogue
fiberfibre
fulfillfulfil
honorhonour
inflectioninflexion
jewelryjewellry
laborlabour
licenselicence
literlitre
odorodour
offenseoffence
pajamaspyjamas
programprogramme
realizerealise
skepticalsceptical
skillfulskilful
specialtyspeciality
travelertraveller
woolenwoollen


2 thoughts on “Diferenças entre o Inglês britânico e o Inglês americano”

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