Getting to Grips with Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
This topic had to be included. I feel we could all benefit from the following list which, though not exhaustive, shows a good number of words and concepts that are used exclusively either in Britain or in America, and that at a given moment, when used improperly, can create misunderstanding, confusion or awkward situations and sometimes, even irritation or offence.
To start with, let's clarify that British children are at school during the week, but not at weekends; and that American children are in school during the week, but not on weekends. Likewise, the British go to hospital and Americans go to the hospital.
MAIN SPELLING DIFFERENCES - SUFFIXES
BrE likeable - sizeable AmE likable - sizable
BrE anaesthetic - diarrhoea AmE anesthetic - diarrhea
BrE licence (noun) / license (verb) - practice (noun) / practise (verb) AmE license - practise
BrE analogue - catalogue AmE catalog - analog
BrE travelling - modelling AmE traveling - modeling
BrE behaviour - colour AmE behavior - color
BrE centre - theatre AmE center - theater
BrE burnt - learnt AmE burned - learned
USE OF -IZE AND -ISE
When it comes to these two suffixes, to be honest the decision is yours whether you are British or American. Generally speaking Americans prefer to use -ize, and although the British use mainly -ise, they wouldn't object to -ize, except with such words as analyse or paralyse, which Americans spell analyze and paralyze. Now, there are certain words that MUST be spelled with -ise, despite conventions, and these are (among others):
advertise advise arise chastise circumcise comprise compromise despise devise disguise excise exercise franchise improvise merchandise revise supervise surprise televise.
SOME OF THE MOST COMMON DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRITISH AND AMERICAN ENGLISH
I've done my research and the lists of differences are unbelievably long, but not ours, don't worry
British - American
aerial - antenna // autumn - fall // banknote - bill //biscuit - cookie // carboot - trunk // car park - parking lot // caravan - trailer // cheque - check // cinema - movie theater // clever - smart // crisps potato - chips // crossroads/junction - intersection // diary (appointments) - calendar // diary (record) - journal // give way - yield // grey - gray // ground floor - first floor // high street - main street // holiday - vacation // lift - elevator // lorry - truck // mum - mom // pants - underpants // pavement - sidewalk // queue - line // solicitor - lawyer // stocks - inventory // towards - toward //trainers - sneakers //tyre - tire // underground - subway
DIFFERENCES IN PUNCTUATION
COLONS AND CAPITALS
BRITISH They finally gave me the news: she had gone forever
AMERICAN They finally gave me the news: She had gone forever
COMMAS IN LISTS
BRITISH spring, summer, autumn and winter
AMERICAN spring, summer, fall, and winter
I hope you've enjoyed this topic. Now, try these tasks to consolidate your learning.
Match the proper word with the proper place or nationality
She finally realised/realized how far she was from home, back in Mobile, Alabama.
I was paralysed/paralyzed when I saw that guy jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Let's have a look at that British catalog/catalogue.
I'd rather be travelling/traveling through New York than around Maine.
The colour/color of that wallpaper reminds me of a room I once rented in a small guest house in Liverpool.
The new theatre/theater is one of the most expensive buildings they have ever built in London.
I have just learned/learnt that Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, also extends into Idaho and Montana.
Add more British and American words to the list if you can think of any
She finally realized how far she was from home, back in Mobile, Alabama.
I was paralyzed when I saw that guy jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Let's have a look at that British catalogue.
I'd rather be traveling through New York than around Maine.
The colour of that wallpaper reminds me of a room I once rented in a small guest house in Liverpool.
The new theatre is one of the most expensive buildings they have ever built in London.
I have just learned that Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, also extends into Idaho and Montana.
That's all folks!
This is the end of this course. There will be more, depending on the demand. Just ask me, and I'll get another course running soon.