Updated: Mar 31
In this article, we are going to explore some differences between two Englishes - American and British - in these areas:
*-ise or -ize?
In general, the ending -ise is preferred in British English, however, it is acceptable to use -ize. It is a matter of preference but once you choose, you should be consistent in your writing.
Be careful as there are words that always end in -ise in both British & American English: advertise, advise, apprise, arise, chastise, circumcise, comprise, compromise, demise, despise, devise, disenfranchise, disguise, enfranchise, enterprise, excise, exercise, improvise, incise, premise, revise, supervise, surprise, televise
The ending -yze is not acceptable in British English but is preferred in American, e.g. analyze, paralyze, catalyze, or dialyze. In British English these would be spelled analyse, paralyse, catalyse, dialyse.
--> Br (-ise / -ize // -yse) vs. Am (-ize // -yze) <--
**-ce or -se?
In British English, nouns end in -ce such as practice, advice, and licence. However, if they are used as verbs, they will be spelt with -se: practise, advise, and license.
I need extra English practice. X I practise my English every day.
His advice was worth it. X He advised me to buy a flat.
The main differences between British and American English can be summarized as follows:
· Rhotic accent
· Differences in consonant pronunciation
· Differences in vowel pronunciation
· Change of stress
· Differences in articulation
Most American accents are rhotic whereas most British accents are non-rhotic. This means that most Americans will pronounce the r in certain syllables where British will not.
In British English, when r comes after a vowel in the same syllable, the r is not pronounced. It is pronounced when it is at the beginning or in the middle when it comes after a consonant, e.g. rain, read, crane, drink, bring,
For example: car, hard, market, water, work, turn, birth, farm, girl, other
In American English the r is pronounced.
To hear the difference, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nAnT3PASak
Having problems with pronouncing r ? Watch this https://www.batcsglobal.com/accent-reduction-blog/2020/5/31/how-to-pronounce-letter-r-or-sound-r-in-english
In British English, t is pronounced when it is at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a word (table, attract, cat).
In American English, they tend to drop the t at the end of words.
T in the middle position is pronounced as d:
a) when it is between two vowels – Saturday, matter, What about?
b) when it is between r and a vowel – party, part of
In American English t is pronounced like a fast d.
In American English, t is dropped after n, e.g. centre, interview, internet
More about British ‘t’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50Zj-1l9_pU
3 some words
Here are only some examples. If you are not sure, it is always good to check with a dictionary where you can also play the pronunciation and practise it.
brochure UK /ˈbrəʊ.ʃər/ US /broʊˈʃʊr/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/brochure
new UK /njuː/ US /nuː/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/new
garage UK /ˈɡær.ɑːʒ/ /ˈɡær.ɪdʒ/ US/ɡəˈrɑːʒ/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/garage
address UK /əˈdres/ US /ˈæd.res/
laboratory UK /ləˈbɒr.ə.tər.i/ US /ˈlæb.rə.tɔːr.i/
route UK /ruːt/ US /ruːt/ /raʊt/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/route
advertisement UK /ədˈvɜː.tɪs.mənt/ US /ˌæd.vɚˈtaɪz.mənt/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/advertisement
patent UK /ˈpeɪ.tənt/ US /ˈpæt.ənt/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/patent
apricot UK/ˈeɪ.prɪ.kɒt/ US /ˈeɪ.prɪ.kɑːt/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/apricot
vase UK /vɑːz/ US /veɪs/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/vase
enquiry UK /ɪnˈkwaɪə.ri/ US /ˈɪn.kwə.ri/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/enquiry
leisure UK /ˈleʒ.ər/ US /ˈliː.ʒɚ/ https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/leisure
herb UK /hɜːb/ US /ɝːb/
tomato UK /təˈmɑː.təʊ/ US /təˈmeɪ.t̬oʊ/
can vs. can’t
I would like to introduce you to this lovely couple which will explain the difference and you can practise the accent you prefer with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpygq0h4Ql0
-ization: civilization, organization, authorization, globalization, modernization, specialization
UK /aɪˈzeɪ.ʃən/ US /əˈzeɪ.ʃən/
In the article above we can see a couple of changes. Here they are as well as more examples:
i) [əʊ] vs. [oʊ] tomato, no, go, promotion, romantic
ii) [ɒ] vs. [ɑː] apricot, hot, job, lot, clock, chocolate, sorry, box, dog
iii) [ju:] vs. [u:] new, assume
iv) [ɪ] vs. [aɪ] civilization, organization, authorization, globalization
The list is not exhaustive. There are many other nuances which also vary based on different accents, locations, etc.
If you decide to work on one of the accents, I can recommend Youtube videos. Here are some recommendations:
4 different stress
You can practise the differences for example here: https://wordwall.net/cs/resource/32267360/british-and-american-english
Here are some other examples:
Many car parts differ too, e.g.:
bonnet vs. hood
boot vs. trunk
flat tyre vs. flat tire
gear-lever vs. gearshift
gearbox vs. transmission
silencer vs. muffler
windscreen vs. windshield