How Are British English and American English Different?

How Are British English and American English Different?

Hello everyone. Welcome to the Langfocus channel and my name
is Paul. Today we’ll be answering the question “How
are British English and American English Different?” – one of the most commonly asked questions
by learners of English. And hopefully native speakers of English will
learn a thing or two from this video as well. The truth is that both British and American
English have numerous varieties, in other words various accents and dialects, so in
(the main part of) this video I will try to focus on the most standard, non-regional variety
of each one. Disclaimer: I’m not American, I’m Canadian. But I’m confident that we will someday be
Americans after the invasion. Standard Canadian English is very very close
to General American English, so I will say the American examples myself, unless there’s
a need to distinguish American pronunciation from Canadian. There are several ways in which Britain English
and the American English different: vocabulary, accent, spelling, and grammar. Vocabulary In the US, people generally say “garbash”
or “trash”, while in the UK they generally say “rubbish”. Both literally and figuratively. “The game was rubbish!” Americans “go on vacation”, while Brits
“go on holidays”. And this is also possible in American English. In the US people rent “apartments”, while
in the UK they rent “flats”. In the US, if your apartment is at street
level, then you live on the first floor, and the person above you lives on the second floor. In the UK, you live on the ground floor, and
the person above you lives on the first floor. If that person above you is unable or just
too lazy to take the stairs, in the US they’d take the elevator. In the UK, they’d take the lift. When you’re bored at home, in the US you might
turn on the TV, while in the UK you would turn on the telly. When you step outside of your building to
go for a walk, in the US you might walk on the sidewalk, while in the UK you walk on
the pavement. And if you’re tired of walking, in the US
you might take the subway. In the UK, you take the underground. In the US, it’s perfectly to wear pants when
you’re riding the subway, but in the UK you’d better wear some TROUSERS too because pants
means underpants. And specifically women’s underpants are sometimes
called knickers in the UK. So when someone overreacts, in the US you
might say “Don’t get your panties in a bunch!” In the UK you’d say “Don’t get your knickers
in a twist!”. Paul how dare you be so crude. Now I can’t show this video to my 6 year old
students! Don’t worry, they’ll watch it on their phones
during recess. Going back to the word “pants” for a moment,
it can also be used in British English as an adjective, meaning something is “crappy”
or “it sucks”. For example “That album is pants”. In American English, you might say “That
album sucks”. Accent So I’ll try to focus on General American English,
and for the UK – Received Pronunciation. These are the accents you’re likely to hear
on CNN and the BBC, respectively. R-sounds American English is rhotic, meaning that “r”
sounds are always clearly pronounced. British English is non-rhotic, meaning that
the “r” sound is not pronounced unless it is followed by a vowel sound. Listen to the difference. US: “My father’s in the car”. UK: “My father’s in the car”. Now let’s focus on two words. US: father UK: father. US: car UK: car. Notice that the final r sound is not pronounced
in British English. “Father” ends in a simple schwa vowel
/ˈfɑː.ðə/. And in “car” the a vowel sound is lengthened
in place of the “r” sound. /kɑː/ Now, the thing about British non-rhotic dialects
that I find pretty wild is something called the intrusive r. That means that people sometimes add an r-sound
to a word that doesn’t actually have one, if it’s followed by a vowel in the next word. For example, in the sentence “I saw a film”. In British English it sometimes sounds like
this: “I saw’r a film”. So you can hear that there’s an “r” sound
connecting “saw” and “a”. I once had British on-the-job trainer, and
she said “Hello my name is Paula and I’ll be your trainer today”. I remember thinking “Pauler? What, you can’t say your own name?” But, it wasn’t just her. That was the “intrusive r”. T-sounds In British English (and again, I must emphasize
that I’m talking about the accent referred to as Received Pronunciation), t sounds are
pronounced as hard Ts, in other words voiceless /t/ sounds. In the US, they sometimes sound like /ɾ/
(an alevelar tap) instead of /t/ (an alveolar stop). This normally occurs in an unstressed syllable,
between 2 vowel sounds, or between a vowel and a rhotic sound (like an “r” sound). So in the US people say butter. [ˈbʌɾɚ]. And in the UK, they say butter. /ˈbʌ.tə/. In the US: Stop fighting! /stɑp ˈfʌɪɾɪŋ/. In the UK: Stop fighting! /stɒp ˈfʌɪtɪŋ/. You may have also noticed the “o” sound
in the word “stop” was a little different, which brings me to… O sounds In the word “stop”, the American “o”
sound is an unrounded vowel /ɑ/ while the British “o” sound is rounded /ɒ/. Another example: US hot /hɑt/ UK: /hɒt/. There is also the “o” diphthong in the
word “know” US /noʊ/ (US). In the UK: /nəʊ/ . In the UK the sound is
a schwa followed by /ʊ/ as in “put”. US: show /ʃoʊ/ UK: show /ʃəʊ/ A sounds. In other words, sounds represented by the
letter “a”) /ɑː/ in UK normally becomes an /æ/ sound
in American English. For example, in the UK: half /hɑːf/. And in the US: half /hæf/. Words that are /æ/ in UK remain pretty similar
in US. For example, in the UK: cat /kæt/. And in the US: /kæt/. An exception is a small set of words in which
the “a” is followed by “rr”, in which case the vowel is pronounced as /e/. In the UK: marry /ˈmæɹɪ/ . In the US:
marry /ˈmɛɹi/. Because of the difference, in the US “marry”
and “Merry” sound the same. “Carry” and “Kerry” sound the same. Spelling: American and British spellings are
largely the same, but there are a few notable differences. This is in large part because Noah Webster
(whom the Webster dictionary is named after) made an effort to reform English spelling
in the 1700s, in order to make the words spelled the way they sounded. This resulted in some spelling changes in
American English. Most (but not all) words that end in ~re in
the UK end in ~er in the US. For example: centre/center, theatre/theater,
metre/meter, sombre/somber. Some words that end in ~nce in the UK are
spelled with ~nse in the US. licence/license. Defence/defense, offence/offense. Some words with “ou” in the UK are spelled
with “o” in the US. Colour/color, favour/favor, honour/honor,
labour/labor, etc. The ending ~ise became ~ize in the US. organise/organize. apologise/apologize. A similar change also occurs in other contexts
where the “s” is voiced (in other words it makes a /z/ sound). Analyse/analyze. Cosy/cozy. There are verbs ending with “l” that take
a doubled “l” in British English when a suffix is added. In American English there is no double “l”. travelled/traveled,
cancelled/canceled, marvellous / marvelous. If you’re wondering how the last one fits
in with the others, remember that “marvel” is a verb, and then an adjectival suffix is
added to it). Grammar: There are only very minor differences
in grammar between British English and American English. Auxiliary verbs. Brits use “shall” for the future much
more than Americans, as well as to ask for advice or an opinion. Some difference in preposition use: In the US, people say “on the weekend”,
but in the UK they say “at the weekend”. And in the US, people say “different from”
or “different than”, but in the UK they say “different from” or “different to”. There are some different past tense forms. For example, in American English the past
tense of the world “learn” is “learned”, while in British English it’s more common
to say “learnt”. Actually, both forms are used in either country,
but there is more of tendency towards one form. This is true for other words like dreamed
vs. dreamt, burned vs. burnt, leaned vs. leant. Another example. In the US, the past tense of dive is usually
“dove”. In the UK it’s “dived”. Maybe the American form developed by analogy
with “drive” and “drove”. Anyways, differences like these are not consistent,
but you’ll notice some different past tense forms here and there. Past participles: Sometimes past participles
have a different form. The most well-known example is for the verb
“get”. In the US, there’s get / got / gotten. But in the UK, it’s get / got / got/. ** Both forms have existed since the Middle
English period, but “gotten” has fallen out of use in the UK. “Got” can be used in American English
in the form “have got”, but with the meaning of “have”, not “has received/become”. US: I haven’t gotten the eviction notice yet. UK: I haven’t got the eviction notice yet. Sentences – Alright, let’s check a couple
of sentences and see what we find. In the US: I think we need a lawyer. In the UK: I reckon we need a solicitor. You’ll notice that a couple of words are different. British people often use the word “reckon”
which means “think” or “suppose”. Americans know this word, but rarely use it. And while Americans would typically refer
to a professional legal consultant as a lawyer, in the UK they often say “solicitor” which
is a type of lawyer that does consultation. The type of lawyer who represents you in court
in the UK in usually a barrister, while in the US they are usually referred to as attorneys. Another sentence. In the US: I’m going for a beer with my friends. In the UK: I’m going for a pint with my mates. Notice that British people often “pint”
where Americans would say “beer”. Brits also say beer as a countable noun like
this, but pint is used frequently. And notice that Brits often say “mate”
where Americans would say “friend”. The differences between British English and
American English might seem surprising or amusing, but remember: in this video I’m zooming
in on the differences and focusing on them. For the most part they are actually the same. There are some minor differences in vocabulary,
in pronunciation, in grammar, and in spelling, but any native speaker with a little bit of
exposure to the other will quickly adapt to these differences and be able to understand
the other variety without any problem. The differences are sometimes greater if we
focus on regional dialects and sociolects of British English and American English. While most Americans probably have no trouble
understanding Received Pronunciation, they mayhave some trouble understanding Cockney
English, or the Georgie English of Northeastern England, or other varieties. But as far as standard, non-regional speech
goes, I’d say that the differences are minimal. However, learners of English who focus on
one of the two varieties, will likely have a bit of trouble understanding the other until
they gain significant more exposure to it. The QOD: What other differences between American
and British English are you aware of? In this video I was only able to give a limited
number of examples, so add yours in the comments! Be sure to follow Langfocus on Facebook, Twitter,
and Instagram. And once again, thank you to all of my wonderful
Patreon supporters. And these ones right here on the screen are
my top tier Patreon supporters, so many extra special thanks to them. And to everyone out there, thank you for watching
and have a nice day.

100 thoughts on “How Are British English and American English Different?

  1. The Canadian narrator definitely has a different accent in certain sounds than American standard pronunciation. His short "o" as in "hot" or "lot" is much more closed than American English. There is a certain edge to his speech which you don't hear in American. It's hard to describe. The most obvious example to me is the word "out" – Canadian English makes the word more closed, sort of like "oot". So Canadian does have subtle differences from American. Most of all, there are no regional accents in English speaking Canada (not counting Quebec). America is full of regional accents.

  2. Every short "o" is more closed in Paul's narration. An obvious difference between Canadian and American English. In American, our short o is open, clearly pronounced. Paul says "been" with the double e pronounced like "seen" which is British pronunciation. Americans say "bin" for "been". Also, Americans mumble a great deal and this narrator speaks every word clearly, which is a Canadian trait. Americans have lazy speech habits.

  3. British English: Crisps, Chips
    American English: Chips, Fries

    Confusing for Brits visiting America or vice versa 😀

  4. In British English we meet someone. We don't meet with someone. But we catch up with someone. We never catch up to them. We hold the fort. It's heavy enough that it doesn't need holding down. And only the lower classes and Australians call each other mate. And don't get me started on caring less. I couldn't care less about that. It seems you could.

  5. English is english……there is no other english. The supposed american english is just for thick people that dont know how to use english properly

  6. Idk if its an American thing but here in Minnesota we say the street level floor is the ground floor and the floor above that the first floor

  7. My dear friend (author), you (Canada) are STILL UNDER THE ENGLISH crown, so… you won't get invaded by the "Yanks", but probably by the "Red-Coats" (…well, they don't wearing red any more!)

  8. Collective nouns are pluralized in the UK, in the US, they are singular.
    US: The team is going to win.
    UK: The team are going to win.

  9. If you learned English from both North and South America (except Canada) as well as parts of Asia like Japan, Korea, ,China and Indonesia, then it's American English

    If you learnt English from Europe, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and parts of Africa like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, then it's British English

  10. In canada if you spelt it either American or british you get it right. Though certain words you were required british spelling, like adding a 'u' to favourite

  11. Why do Americans (not all, I presume) say: "I wish I would've…"? Whereas, in Brit English, it would be: "I wish I'd…"

    An American expression that has slowly – and rather annoyingly – slipped in to Brit English is: "Can I get…?" when ordering, say, a coffee or something. I have to say that those three words absolutely grate when used in this context.

  12. I always say ' i got milk and sugar in my coffee, British people say ' i got milk and sugar in me coffee' right?

  13. A mesma língua falada tanto nos Estados Unidos como na Inglaterra ,mas com muita diferença entre si ,a mesma coisa acontece com o Português falado no Brasil e Portugal,acontece a mesma coisa ,mesma língua com muita diferença

  14. In this video, you pronounce "participle" the way I learned to pronounce it, but in other videos you pronounce it differently.
    I'm relieved to hear you pronouncing it the way I have always heard it being pronounced.

  15. Is there any point in showing the difference in vocabulary of both anymore? Cause even if you use american versions the Brits will understand you anyway. And hell, encountered many British people using American words.

  16. Szerintem a világ legnehezebb nyelve az angol. Mert máshogy írja és máshogy ejti ki a szavakat.
    A szavak kiejtése nagyon sokféle lehet, helytől függően.
    Egy szónak nagyon sok jelentése lehet, amit a mondat határoz meg.
    A magyar sokkal egyszerűbb.
    Úgy írjuk ahogy mondjuk. Nagyon kevés a többértelmű szó. Bármelyik magyar megérti a másikat (helytől függetlenül).
    A nyelv befolyásolja, hogyan tudsz leírni, elképzelni valamit. Véletlen, hogy sok a magyar Nobel díjas?
    Szóval. Tanuljatok magyarul. 🙂

  17. This should be called "real English" vs "shit English". Not hating on americans, but you have seriously simplified the language and made it worse.

  18. LoL there is only one language which is English full stop and there is butchered English which is used in US…..

  19. So in technical sense, this is true:

    American English (Traditional)

    British English (Modern)

    American Accent (Traditional)

    British Accent (Modern)

  20. For an English learner with a British and American accent .. How can he differentiate it and change his accent if he wants to speak with the Americans or the British

  21. The truth is England is way more cooler compare to America come on everybody knows England is the most beautiful country in the world where do pretty girls live and one of the most good destination 😃

  22. I india we have 49 percent american english nd 51 percent british english mixed well
    Results in new recipe called INDIAN ENGLISH

  23. I also notice that the British are more likely to use the past perfect form where Americans are more likely to just use the past.
    "I've found it!" "I've thought about that." vs. "I found it!" "I thought about that."

  24. Well this explained every single spelling problem I've had. Too much exposure to both and people telling me one way was wrong. At a time I didn't realize it was based on regional differences.

  25. They're about as different as scouse is to cockney. They sounds different, but ultimately they're still english in the grand scheme of thing no difference. A mancunian will have a different word for a thing than a geordie… it's still english… just s.l.a.n.g.

  26. As a brit I can say half of the sentences this dude said is only American we also say the beginning was accurate but the end was utter crap we constantly use the word friends think and lawyer. it's just knit picking in fact most people from my point of view say lawyer not than solicitor and think more than reckon. sorry for the rant just wanted that out there the gappy toothed tosser.

  27. There are also literally hundreds of kinds of accents here in the US. Why? Immigration and diversity. Cardi B, believe it or not, was born and raised in the US. So was Taylor Swift. Yet their accents sound like they are from different countries. We have Southern accents, Northeastern accents (like Brooklynese), West Coast accents, ebonics, chicano accent, Midwestern accents (which sound somewhat Canadian), etc etc.

  28. Hi everyone! If you're currently learning English, visit English Class 101 ( ) for LOTS of great English lessons for students of all levels. A free account gives you access to hundreds of audio and video lessons with text transcripts. It's a great resource!

    (Full disclosure: if you sign up for a premium account through the above link, Langfocus receives a small referral fee. But the free account is great too!)

  29. The best part of the video: 'I'm actually canadian but I'm confident that we will same day be americans (after the invasion) *pop*' 😂😂😂😂😂😂

  30. wow this video explained why I often find myself confused, the kind of English I learned in school was British but the kind of English I learned by myself is American

  31. Admit it, all of non-natives just mix American & British English. We're not tied because English is the second language😂.

  32. The "american" invasion of Canada xD ! Hope's not gonna happen. We, Canadiens, (espacially Quebeckers) ought to stay apart from the trumpets !

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