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  • Writer's pictureGwen

Differences in American English and British English

Updated: Mar 30

2 photos stacked.  The top one is of a red British telephone booth in front of a British flag.  The bottom one is of the Statue of Liberty and an American flag flying.

American English and British English are – well, both English, right? They are certainly more alike than different. We understand each other’s movies, songs and books, although we do like to make fun of each other’s accents. However, there are some differences in American English and British English. There are some slight differences in spelling and grammar, but the most noticeable differences are in vocabulary. Have a look at the examples below.

US: antenna UK: aerial US: apartment/flat UK: flat US: apartment building UK: block of flats US: area code UK: dialing code US: ATM UK: cashpoint US: attorney UK: barrister/solicitor US: baby carriage UK: pram US: band-aid UK: plaster US: bathroom UK: loo/ WC/ toilet US: beet UK: beetroot US: buddy UK: mate US: busy (phone line) UK: engaged US: cafeteria UK: canteen US: can (of food) UK: tin US: candy UK: sweets

US: chips UK: crisps US: cookie UK: biscuit US: corn UK: maize US: cotton candy UK: candy floss US: counter-clockwise UK: anti-clockwise US: crosswalk UK: zebra crossing US: dead end UK: cul-de-sac US: detour UK: diversion US: diaper UK: nappy US: divided highway UK: dual carriageway US: driver's license UK: driving license US: eggplant UK: aubergine US: fall/autumn UK: autumn US: flashlight UK: torch

US: freeway/highway UK: motorway

US: fries UK: chips US: game (sports) UK: match

US: garbageman/garbage collector UK: dustman/dustbin man US: gearshift UK: gear-lever US: guy UK: bloke US: gas UK: petrol US: to honk UK: to hoot/to honk US: hood (car) UK: bonnet US: jello UK: jelly US: kerosene UK: paraffin US: laundromat UK: launderette US: line UK: queue US: mail UK: post US: movie theater UK: cinema US: muffler UK: silencer US: napkin UK: serviette

US: one-way ticket UK: single ticket US: overpass UK: flyover US: pants UK: trousers US: pacifier UK: dummy US: parking lot UK: car park US: period UK: full stop US: pet peeve UK: pet hate US: pharmacy (or drugstore) UK: chemist's shop US: real estate agent UK: estate agent US: red hair UK: ginger hair (gaining popularity in the US) US: to rent (a car) UK: to hire (a car) US: restroom UK: public toilet US: resume/CV UK: CV US: sedan (car) UK: saloon US: semi-trailer UK: articulated lorry US: shrimp UK: prawn

US: sidewalk UK: pavement US: soccer UK: football US: station wagon UK: estate car US: store UK: shop

US: sweater UK: jumper US: tank top UK: vest US: thumbtack UK: drawing pin US: trailer UK: caravan US: trash/garbage can UK: rubbish bin US: truck UK: lorry US: trunk (car) UK: boot US: two weeks UK: fortnight

US: vacation UK: holiday US: vest UK: waistcoat US: windshield UK: windscreen US: zip code UK: postcode US: zucchini UK: courgette US: z (pron. "zee") UK: z (pron. "zed")

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