The British English tag features articles that mention the variation of English spoken in the United Kingdom, as opposed to other forms of English.


British and American word differences

British and American word differences

British and American flags respectively / Stock photo

British and American word differences

In the last few weeks, we’ve spoken about English accents, like the Irish accent or the Australian accent. But accents aside, there are a number of differences between English words according to where you live. The two most notable ones are British English and US English.

Depending whether you were born in the UK or the USA meant that you learned a different type of English, in terms of spelling and grammar.

For example, if you’re American and you decide to use a British cookbook, it’s not often easy to understand all the words for different foods.

Aubergine in British English is Eggplant in American English. You even have to deal with cups and ounces as opposed to the easier metric system of kilograms and grams. It’s typical to read a “cup of flour” in a US cookbook, but people in the UK are confused by that kind of terminology. What is a cup? There are so many different cup sizes. What’s it based on? Well, I’ll leave that for another post…

A cup is exactly 236.6g

Take the prepositions, to and for, that have subtle usage differences in both the UK and the USA. Also, we find little differences in spelling with two letters in particular: S and Z; for example, recognize in British English and recognise in US English.

Most of the time foreign students learn both variants of English (as we’ll call them that for now) to acquire the maximum vocabulary benefit no matter where they are in the world. Although at times it’s difficult to identify these subtleties in the English language.

Below is a non-exhaustive table of British English (and Irish English) words and their American English equivalents.

British English US English
Baggage reclaim Baggage claim
Bonnet Hood
Botanic garden Botanical garden
Colour Color
Conserves Preserves
Drink driving Drunk driving
Dumper truck Dump truck
Flat Apartment
Holiday Vacation
Licence License
Defence Defense
Mobile Cell
Porridge Cooked oatmeal
Pyjamas Pajamas
To rent For rent
Underground or Tube Subway

Find other examples of US / UK English through the links below.

The STAR Team

Is it Dr. or Dr?

Dr. or Dr?

Dr. or Dr?

Dr or Dr.

What is the correct abbreviation for Doctor?

Doctor comes from the Latin word Doctor. The word originates from the Latin verb docere which means to teach.

This week we are having a big debate about this one and we’re still not decided who won? There are multiple camps in this space.

Camp 1

Either Abbreviations Dr or Dr. can be used to designate a person who has doctorate-level degree.

Camp 2

Only Dr. is correct as it is an abbreviation. You should always use the full stop.

In the UK, the us of the full stop appears to be ok to use either Dr or Dr. However, in America the de facto is to always use the period / full stop — it’s Dr. in America!

Just for fun consider this: The plural of Dr. is Drs. or Dres. in some languages (German).

In British English, you don’t have to indicate an abbreviation with a full stop after the abbreviation, when the last letter is the same as the abbreviated word. You can use Dr Smith, because R is the last letter of Doctor. However, if he had a Phd. you have to use a full stop because the last letter is different from the entire word, doctorate.

The abbreviation of doctor is generally Dr in most of the Commonwealth whereas it is Dr. in North America.

Which abbreviation do you use and why?

The STAR Team

Source : Doctor (title), Wikipedia