British and American English

In our last post, we looked at the culture of Halloween in the UK and some language. One thing that is clear is that this traditional event is very popular in the USA and many people make such a big effort when preparing for Halloween in America. You just need to watch ET and you will see how the kids prepared for Halloween. In the UK, it is not as popular as the USA. In fact, there are a lot of differences between the UK and USA with many of the differences being the language. This blog post looks at the differences between British and American English with different names for the same thing.


The biggest difference you will notice is spelling. In the UK, we spell differently to our USA counterparts. Some examples are below.

British English American English
Centre Center
Colour Color
Neighbour Neighbor
Defence Defense
Paralyse Paralyze

Some of the differences in spelling will have to be memorised (‘memorized’ in American English) and you will notice more and more differences in spelling. Just keep a note of this in your vocabulary notebook.


The biggest difference between British and American English is the vocabulary with certain things and some American words are borrowed and used in different languages. Here are some examples of different British and American vocabulary.

Vocabulary in British English Vocabulary in American English
Autumn Fall
Bonnet (car) Hood
Boot (car) Trunk
Chips Fries
Crisps Chips
Flat Apartment
Holiday Vacation
Lift Elevator
Motorway Highway
Pavement Sidewalk
Postman Mailman
Return Round-trip
Sweets Candy
Torch Flashlight
Windscreen Windshield

There are plenty more different words between British and American English but too many to share. You may have heard the American vocabulary but have a think about the British English vocabulary as well.

What differences do you know between British and American English? Which do you prefer? Which English do you think is better: British or American English?



Posted in The LTC Blog, English Vocabulary |