There are some differences between American and British English. One of the most obvious differences is the way that words are pronounced. In American English, words are usually pronounced the way they are spelled. British English, on the other hand, tends to make more sound changes than American English. This can result in a different pronunciation for some words. For example, in British English you would say “colour” instead of “color” because the “o” in colour is pronounced as an “a”. Other examples of words that differ between American and British English include “scope”, “notes”, and “spare”. Here is the list of major differences between British and American English:


The most noticeable difference between British and American English is the vocabulary. There are more than hundreds of everyday words that are different. For example, Americans call it the hood, where as, British call the front of a car the bonnet. Another example, British English also uses the word “savour” to mean “taste,” while American English uses the word “savor.” Again, we see, in the United States, we say “take a break” whereas the British say “have a break.” 

Moreover, in American English, “toilet” is often used to refer to a bathroom, while in British English it is more commonly used to refer to a lavatory. “Lawn” is also a word that can have different meanings depending on where you are in the United States. In most parts of the country, it refers to a large area of grass outside, while in the northeast it more likely refers to the small piece of ground that surrounds a toilet.

Collective nouns

There are so many grammatical differences between British and American English. One of them with collective nouns. We apply collective nouns to refer to a group of individuals. In British English, sometimes, collective nouns might be singular or plural. You could hear someone from the UK say, “The team are playing tonight” or “The team is playing tonight.” But, in American English, collective nouns are almost singular. For example, band refers to a group of musicians; staff refers to a group of employees; Americans might say, “The band is good.”

Auxiliary verbs

American English and British English differ with respect to their use of “auxiliary verbs”. Auxiliary verbs are verbs that help us form future, past, and continuous tenses.  As an example, in American English, normally, we use “will ” to express future tense, “have” to show past tense, and “am” to show continuous tense.  In British English, however, we use “shall” for future tense, “will have” for past tense, and “be” for continuous tense. There are also some minor differences between the two languages with respect to auxiliary verbs. 

Past tense verbs

American English and British English differ dramatically in their use of “past tense verbs”. In American English, the past tense is formed by adding -ed to the base form of the verb. For example, the verb “went” would be spelled “wented”. British English, on the other hand, uses -t to indicate the past tense. For example, “went” would be spellt as “wentt”. There are also a few other minor differences, but these are the most significant. When studying for exams or writing papers, it is important to be aware of these differences in order to produce fluent English while living in either country.


There are thousands of minor spelling differences between American and British English. You may give thanks to American lexicographer Noah Webster on this issue. Noah Webster gave an effort to reform English spelling in the late 1700s. He was worried about the inconsistencies in English spelling. Noah wanted to spell the words on the way they sounded.  You can see Noah’s legacy in the American spelling of words like labor (from labour), color (from colour), odor (from odour), parlor (from parlour) and honor (from honour). Mr Noah dropped the letter u from these words to make the spelling easy to match the pronunciation.


In this summary of differences between American English and British English, we cover some of the more common issues that can arise when working with these two varieties of English. For example, American English tends to use more contractions such as don’t and didn’t, while British English uses more complete forms such as does not and did not. Additionally, American English emphasizes words at the ends of phrases and sentences, while British English places greater emphasis on the middle of words. These differences can present challenges for those who wish to communicate effectively in both English dialects.

While both dialects are technically correct, they can often sound quite different to native speakers of the other dialect. This is where AmazingTalker can help. The platform connects you with online language tutors from all over the world, who can help you learn the specific features of their dialect. Whether you’re looking for English instructors online from another country, AmazingTalker has you covered. With their flexible scheduling and convenient lesson packages, it’s never been easier to learn the differences between American English and British English. 

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