The Difference Between British and American English and Which One to Learn

American vs British English Which One to Learn

In episode 13 of Ask Jack, I talk about the differences between American and British English, and then explain which one is the best to study.

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Share the video with your friends, and then read the article below…

Differences Between AmE and BrE and Which One to Study

First, it’s important to know that there are many other types of English in addition to American and British.

English can also vary dramatically within countries.

However, I will focus on American and British English because this was the question and this is where I have the most experience (I’m originally from Lancashire, England but now live in North Carolina, USA).

Grammatical Differences

The example I gave was the following:

  • Have you had breakfast yet? (BrE)
  • Did you have breakfast yet? (AmE)

In most grammar books, you will read that the first one – the present perfect – is the correct way to say things.

However, most grammar books aren’t flexible and don’t allow for differences.

There are also differences when it comes to sentence structure, prepositions, and other grammatical structures.

Vocabulary

I gave many examples in the video of vocabulary differences.

For example, chips and crisps; car park and parking lot; lift and elevator.

(Leave more differences in the comment section below).

Pronunciation

British and American pronunciation is very different.

I gave some examples in the video.

I actually made a mistake with one of the examples (vitamin). Here it is again in both British and American English:

Phrases and Spelling

British and American English have different phrases, slang, and expressions. For example:

  • Stand in the queue (BrE)
  • Wait in line (AmE)

There are spelling differences too:

  • Colour (BrE)
  • Color (AmE)

Which One is the Proper Way to Speak

There is no right or wrong way.

Which one you decide to focus on (whether that is British English, English as a Lingua Franca, Irish English etc.) depends on you and your situation.

Finally, enjoy these differences and have fun with them.

What to Do Now:

1. Give another difference between British and American English and tell me which one you prefer.
2.
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  • sami

    Very helpful lesson.Thank you

  • sami

    I prefer British type.

  • The most important is communication. Actually as you know we are not native, but I always follow up your tips, by the way they are really helpful. Thank you a lot.

  • The key to learning English is to have fun . You learn the best when you are content with what you learn . The true voice of the language is communication . Enjoy and understand it !

  • Guney from Azerbaijan

    Hi, Jack Askew
    How are you?
    I love both AmE and BrE and understand well

    • Doing great. Thanks for your examples!

  • Rejane

    Tks One more time. I learn in each movie I have seen. I prefer british english.

  • Well, thanks a lot for sharing it with us, but I have a question for you, can we use “yet” in the past tense, in American English?

  • Bujjusubi 2002

    My preference is as below:
    Canadian English>American English >British English.
    I prefer Canadian English because, the pronunciation is very nice 😊 and cute too……😊