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British English vs. American English: Which Variant is More Suitable for EFL classrooms?

British English vs. American English: Which Variant is More Suitable for EFL classrooms? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

It is clear for a lot of people that American English is a little different from British English, but why exist these differences? Many languages are spoken in all the world, and some of them have different branches, in the case of British and American English, one of the reason for having these differences, for example en the word colour for UK and color for USA is because, British English has taken the original words from French and later in America the spelling has been simplified, here is a list of words that are different in UK and USA:

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Juan Pablo S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Difficult Vocabulary for Spelling

aeroplane - airplane / aluminium - aluminum / anticlockwise - counterclockwise / apologise - apologize / arbour - arbor / aubergine - eggplant / behaviour - behavior / bin - trash can / biscuit - cookie / block of flats - aparment building / boonet - hood / braces - suspenders / candy floss - cotton candy / chemist's - drugstore / cheque - check / chips - french chips / clothes peg - clothespin / colour - color / cosy - cozy / courgette - zucchini / crisps - potato chips / diversion - detour / draw - tie / dummy - pacifier / favourite - favorite / fist floor - second floor / flat - apartment / flyover - overpass / football - soccer / full stop - period / grey - gray / ground floor - first floor / harbour - harbor / holiday - vacation / humour - humor / ice lolly - popsicle / jacket potato - string bean / lift - elevator / loo - restroom / lorry - truck / mobile phone - cell phone / motorway - highway / mould - mold / moustache - mustache / nappy - diaper / neighbour - neighbor / nought/zero - zero / noughts and crosses - tic-tac-toe / odour - odor / pavement - sidewalk / peckish - hungry / phone box - phone booth / pitch - field / post - mail / postal code - zip code / programme - program / pullover - sweater / queue - line / rubber - eraser / rubbish - garbage / sweets - candy / tea towel - dish towel / theatre - theater / timetable - schedule / torch - flashlight / trainers - sneakers / tyre - tire / underground - subway / waistcoat - vest / windscreen - windshield / zebra crossing – crosswalk

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Grammar

There are also some grammar differences, for instance, British English is more likely to use formal speech, by using ‘shall’, on the other hand, American English prefer to use the informal ‘will’ and ‘should’

“‘Needn’t’, which is commonly used in British English, is rarely, if at all used in American English. In its place, it is ‘don’t need to’. In British English, ‘at’ is the preposition in relation to time and place. However, in American English, ‘on’ is used instead of the former and ‘in’ for the latter.”

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Pronunciation

Other difference is in the pronunciation of the letter ‘r’, the higher classes of the UK wanted to talk in a different way of the masses to distinguish form them, so they decided to soften the pronunciation of this letter, that pronunciation style become a fashion, and all began to copy that speech , all this happened after the first colonies in America were already settled down.

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Conclusion, although there is some difference in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, that doesn’t avoid communication, an American and a British can communicate with no big difficulties.

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