In this lesson we’re looking at some differences between British English (BrE) and American English (AmE).

We’ll concentrate on differences in vocabulary, spelling, grammar and expressions.

Have fun with the lesson, and don’t forget to try the quizzes.

– James.

Lesson Contents

Differences in vocabulary

Here are fifteen vocabulary differences between BrE and AmE, there are a LOT more, but these are the most common ones.

BrE

AmE

flat (residence)

apartment

block of flats

apartment building

garden

yard

car park

parking lot

football

soccer

holiday

vacation

queue (n)

line

film

movie

petrol

gas

pavement

sidewalk

toilet

bathroom / restroom

crisps

(potato) chips

off-licence

liquor store

autumn

fall

bill (restaurant)

check

Match the BrE and AmE words together.

Differences in expressions

Have a look at these ten BrE expressions, and their AmE versions. Once again, many more exist but these are the most common ones.

BrE

AmE

what time is it?

do you have the time?

going to

gonna

want to

wanna

it's ten to five

it's ten of five

it's ten past five

it's ten after five

brush the path

sweep the path

wait in a queue

stand in line

satellite tv

cable tv

twice

two times

Monday to Friday

Monday thru Friday

Read the BrE sentences, and choose the correct AmE versions. Be careful of vocabulary, spelling and grammar.

Differences in spelling

As well as vocabulary differences, many words are spelled differently in AmE. Have a look at these 5 BrE words, and their AmE versions. Once again, many more exist but these are the most common ones.

BrE

AmE

cheque

check

through

thru

theatre

theater

colour

color

apologise

apologize

Differences in grammar

  • Sometimes, in AmE, adjectives are used instead of adverbs:

It hurts really bad!
(not badly)

They played quite good.
(not well)

  • Also, many verbs are conjugated differently in AmE:

He learned to drive on the right, but he’s gotten used to driving on the left.
(BrE = learnt,  got)

They sneaked into the building and lighted the fire.
(BrE = snuck, lit)

Read the conversations that use BrE, and write the AmE versions.

All Quizzes