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English Grammar


Differences in British and American spelling and vocabulary

British and American spelling and vocabulary differ in many areas.
British English tends to keep the spelling of words absorbed from other languages (e.g. French), whereas American English often adapts the spelling of words to sound as they are actually spoken.

There are also many cases where different words or terms are used to refer to the same thing.

Below you find examples of differences in spelling and vocabulary.


OUR / -OR:
Many words end in -our in Britain, and in -or in America.
Britain (UK) America (US)
Colour Color
Favour Favor
Honor Honor
Humour Humor
Neighbour Neighbor
Rumour Rumor

-TRE / -TER:
Britain (UK) America (US)
Centre Center
Metre Meter
Litre Liter
Theatre Theater

Doubling of letters:
In Britain, the 'l' is doubled in an unstressed syllable :
Britain (UK) America (US)
Travelling Traveling
Marvellous Marvelous

Different Spelling:
Britain (UK) America (US)
aeroplane airplane
Aluminium Aluminum
Analogue Analog
Catalogue Catalog
Cheque Check
Defence Defense
Dialogue Dialog
Driving licence Driver's license
Grey Gray
Jewellery Jewelry
Kerb Curb
Plough Plow
Programme Program
Pyjamas Pajamas
Speciality Specialty
Tyre (for a wheel) Tire

Different words:
Britain (UK) America (US)
Aubergine Eggplant
Autumn Autumn/Fall
Braces Suspenders
Bill Check
Bin Trash can
Biscuit(s) Cookie(s)
Bonnet (of a car) Hood
Boot (of a car) Trunk
Car park Parking lot
Cash point (to withdraw money) ATM
Cot (for a baby) Crib
Chemist's (shop) Drugstore
Chips French fries
Cinema Movie theater
City Centre Downtown
Cooker Stove
Cot Crib
Courgette Zucchini
Crisps (potato crisps) Potato chips
Current account Checking account
Curtains Drapes
CV Resume
Dinner jacket Tuxedo
Draughts (board game) Checkers
Dressing gown Robe
Dustbin Garbage can / Trash can
Film Movie
Flat Apartment
Flatmate Roommate
Football Soccer
Fortnight Two weeks
Full stop (punctuation) Period
Garden Yard
Grill (verb) Broil
Ground floor First floor
Handbag Purse
Holiday Vacation
Indicator Blinker
Jumper Sweater
Letter box Mail box
Lift Elevator
Lorry Truck
Luggage Baggage
Maths Math
Mobile phone Cell phone
Motorway Freeway/Highway
Nappy Diaper
Nightdress Nightgown
Off-licence Liquor store
Pavement Sidewalk
Petrol Gas/gasoline
Plait (hair) Braid
Plaster (bandage) Band-aid
Pocket money Allowance
Post Mail
Postcode Zip code
Primary school Elementary school
Pub Bar
Queue Line
Return (ticket) Round trip (ticket)
Rubber Eraser
Rubbish Garbage
Secondary school High school
Sellotape Scotch tape
Shop Store
Single (ticket) One-way ticket
Solicitor Lawyer
Starter Appetizer
Surname Last name
Sweets Candy
Tap Faucet
Taxi Cab
Term Semester
Thumbtack Drawing pin
Timetable Schedule
Tin Can
Tights Pantyhose
Toilet Bathroom/restroom
Torch Flashlight
Trainers Sneakers
Tram Streetcar/cable car
Trousers Pants
Trunk (of car) Boot
Underground Subway
Vest Undershirt
Waistcoat Vest
Wardrobe Closet
Washbasin Sink
Windscreen Windshield
Zebra crossing Cross walk

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