Difference Between British English and American English Words

05 August 2022 0

Many people think of Great Britain and the United Kingdom when it comes to English-speaking countries, but there is another English-speaking nation that often gets overlooked, and that is America. In fact, there are some words that even native English speakers may not know the meaning of. Here we will discuss the differences between British English and American English, including words that are unique to one language or the other.

Broad vs Narrow

One of the most obvious differences between British English and American English is in the words that are used to describe people and things. For example, when somebody from America refers to someone as “a broad,” that person may be insulted because they think it's an insult to women to call them “broad.” But in the United Kingdom, “broad” can be used to describe someone as being big and strong, so it isn't really that offensive. In fact, in some parts of the United Kingdom, it is even a compliment. You may also know “narrow” as someone who is “pinched” or “narrow-minded,” but in British English it actually means “restricted.” So if you're from America and you hear someone use “narrow” in this way, you may assume that they're talking about you – but they're not! Hence the insult.

Formal vs Informal

If you're from an English-speaking country and are reading this article, then you're probably well aware of the difference between formal and informal language. In America, this is known as “formal vs informal vocabulary,” and it can be quite jarring for an English speaker to try and use English language as it is spoken in Britain. For example, if you're from America and you hear a waiter shout across a restaurant, “Waiter!” you may expect to hear “Sir!” or “Mr. Sir!” But in British English, it's more like “Hey!” or “Hey, waiter!”

Tense Vs Inverted

In American English, the past and the present are used to describe actions that occurred in the past and are still occurring in the present. So, to speak of “the past,” you would say “Yesterday, I went to the store.” But in British English, this is known as “inverted tense” or “present perfect tense.” “Yesterday” is the present tense in British English, and it is used to talk about something that happened yesterday. You may also hear “the past” and “the present” used together as “the tense.” As an English speaker, this would feel slightly strange to you because in your language, the past and the present are separate. So hearing these words used together may feel a little bit like hearing someone speak Chinese! Even words that have the same meaning may be used in different ways – “I know,” for example, is an Americanism that was imported from the United Kingdom. In the UK, it is known as “all knowing” or “fully knowing.” But in America, it's used to mean “I know something or everybody knows something about something.”

You might like also


Join the discussion