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10 Differences between UK & US English

10 Differences between UK & US English

Learning different languages is a skill very few wish to acquire but learning the same language differently is something most people don’t even bother with. English is one language which is varied by several geographies as per their customs. The most well-known of these variations being US English and UK English.

We’ve prepared a list of the basic differences between the two which we believe everyone should be aware of.

The differences between UK and US English can be broken down into 3 categories – Spelling differences (where the same word is spelled differently in both languages), Vocabulary differences (where both languages use different terms for the same thing) and Grammatical differences (where the Grammatical Structure between both languages differs ).

Let’s get you started with these differences now!

Spelling Differences

The –oe/ae--- treatment in UK English for words such as anaemia, diarrhoea and encyclopaedia

Whereas In US English they are spelt simply with –e—such as anemia, diarrhea, and encyclopedia.

The past tense of words differs in that UK English uses –t while US English uses –ed. E.g.: Leapt, Dreamt, etc. vs Leaped, Dreamed, etc.

The common confusion regarding ending words with –ence as in UK English vs ending them with –ense as in US English. E.g.: defence, offence, etc. vs defense, offense, etc.

The confusion regarding use of –ell- as in UK English vs the use of –el- as in US English. E.g.: jeweller, marvellous, etc. vs jeweler, marvellous, etc.

The use of –ise to end words as in UK English vs using –ize as in US English. E.g.: familiarise, organise, etc. vs familiarize, organize

The use of a single L as in UK English vs the use of a double L a in US English. E.g.: enrol, fulfil, etc. vs enroll, fulfil, etc.

Ending words using –ogue as in UK English vs ending them using –og as in US English. E.g.: analogue, catalogue, etc. vs analog, catalog, etc.

The common confusion between using –ou in a word as in UK English vs using –o in the word as in US English. E.g.: colour, behaviour, etc. vs color, behavior, etc.

Whether to end with –re as in UK English vs ending with –er as in US English. E.g.: metre, fibre, centre, etc. vs meter, fiber, center, etc.

Using a –Y- in UK English but using an –I- in US English. E.g.: tyre vs tire.

Vocabulary/Words

You can find below some common words that are different in both languages.

UK English-US English:

  1. Flat-Apartment

  2. Trousers-Pants

  3. Bonnet-Hood

  4. Boot-Trunk

  5. University-College

  6. Holiday-Vacation

  7. Jumper-Sweater

  8. Lorry-Truck

  9. Crisps-Chips

  10. Chips-French Fries

  11. Fizzy Drink-Soda

  12. Trainers-Sneakers

  13. Biscuit-Cookie

  14. Chemist-Drugstore

  15. Shop-Store

  16. Football-Soccer

  17. Post box-Mailbox

Grammatical Differences

  1. In UK English, Collective nouns can be both singular and plural (e.g. the team are playing) but in US English, they are always singular (e.g. The team is playing)

  1. UK English tends to be more formal, making use of words such as, “Shall” while US English tends to be more casual, using words such as “Should, Will”, etc.

  1. A common term in UK English, “needn’t” is rarely used in US English. It is instead substituted by the term, “don’t need to.”

  1. When it comes to the past participle of the term, “get”, UK English uses “got” while US English uses “gotten”.

  1. UK English uses the preposition “at” when concerned with time whereas US English uses “on”.

  1. UK English uses the preposition “at” when concerned with place whereas US English uses “in”.