English Tips

4 differences between British and American English

How to choose between British and American English is a common question. After all, which one is more interesting to study?

The answer to this question is obviously personal! In addition, American and British English will always have different terms, but the language is the same!

To help you, we’ve put together a list of 4 differences between British and American English for you to analyze and decide which English is most useful to you.


This difference may be not easily noticed in a conversation, but the subtle changes may cause strangeness to those who are used to reading in English. For example, certain words that end with “-or” in American English tend to present the “-our” ending in the British. That is, color becomes colour, humor turns to humour and flavor is flavour.

Although in the UK the endings from “-ter” to “-tre” also happen, such as in center-centre, kilometer-kilometre and theater-theatre, there is no difference in pronunciation. The same goes for those in the United States that end in “-og”, since “-ogue” is added: catalog-catalogue, dialog-dialogue and monolog-monologue.


It may be that in this part, a conversation between a British and an American causes a bit of strangeness to both sides. For your understanding, check out a possible informal conversation between two friends:


– Dude, I went on vacation last Fall and felt so unlucky: I had to pack, so I went to my closet to get some pants but there weren’t any. It felt weird, then I saw my dog in the backyard with all my clothes and my sneakers were in its mouth! Later, when I was on my way  to the airport, my car stopped because it ran out of gas. I left it at a parking lot  and took the subway.


– Mate, I went on holidays last Autumn and felt so unlucky: I had to pack, so I went to my wardrobe to get some trousers but there weren’t any. It felt weird when I saw my dog in the garden with all my clothes and my trainers were in its mouth! Later,  when I was on my way to the airport, my car stopped because it ran out of petrol. I left it at a car park and took the underground.

READ MORE: 45 words that differ from American to British English


Some differences happen in the use of the present perfect and possessive. Usually, Brits use the present perfect to express actions that have taken place recently. For example, if an American says I ate too much, a British would say I’ve eaten too much.

Now with the possessive, the Brits usually use have got, while Americans suppressed got in sentences. If you want to ask an American if he has a car, can you say Do you have a car? For a Briton, you could say Have you got a car?


Knowing how to differentiate the pronunciation from British and American English is very important as it helps you understand movies, books, and series more easily. In addition to facilitating trips abroad. British English has a different rhythm, which makes the pronunciation seem more clipped and emphatic, whereas the American has a more drawn pronunciation. Some of the main examples are:

* In British English, “a” is pronounced with the back of the mouth, in the American is pronounced with the front part of the mouth;

* In the British one, the letter “r” is pronounced only before a vowel, in all other cases the “r” is silent. Already on the American side, the “r” is always pronounced;

* In American English the “t” is pronounced like a “d”, the British pronounce like “t”.

Now do you know a little more about the differences between American and British English, right?

Do you want to know about the advantages you have? At SEDA College Online we have American and British teachers for you to practice the language. Click here and check out our courses!


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