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Differences between UK and US

Overview and examples
Differences between UK and US
America was initially set up by people who
emigrated from the UK and Europe after 1600.

UK English and US English are therefore very
similar. However, there are quite a lot of minor
differences in the way the two languages have

Can you think of any?
There are a few main ways in which the spelling
of words in US English differs to UK English:
UK US Rule

Colour/Favour Color/Favor US has no U in British -OUR words

Centre Center US has ER in British –RE endings

Travelling Traveling US has a single L for many continuous verbs

Realise Realize US has Z instead of S for British –SE endings

Grey Gray Individual spellings may differ too
The alphabet
The alphabet is the same in both languages,
apart from the pronunciation of the name of the
final letter “Z”:

UK pronunciation US pronunciation

Zed Zee
The vocabulary of UK and US English has many differences,
however there is a lot of crossover due to the spread of language
due to modern factors such as movies, literature and social
networking. Here are some of the famous ones:
UK English US English

Lift Elevator

Flat Apartment

The underground The subway

Pants/Knickers Underwear/Panties

Trousers Pants
The languages of UK and US English sound quite different in
terms of pronunciation. This is probably the most notable
difference between the two languages. Here are some common
UK English US English
Silent r - Jumper-”Jumpa” Stronger r sound - Jumper-”Jumperrr”
Shorter vowel sounds - Ham ”Ham” Longer vowel sounds – Ham ”Haarm””
The t sound is more like a t in UK - The t sound is more like a d in US -
”Computu” ”Compudar”
One of the very interesting ways the two languages have evolved
separately is in the use of idioms (and phrasal verbs). Both
languages share a vast array of idioms, but because some
originated in a different culture, some may not be so well known
in the other:

UK English US English
Do a U-turn Flip a bitch! (“U-Turn” would be OK too)
Watch a movie Go see a movie
I’m confused, which one should I use?!
A common fear is mixing up the languages, and worrying about
using the wrong form of the language in the wrong situation.

Do not worry…most native speakers you are likely to meet will
understand both forms of the language and it will not cause a

Generally US English is in everyday use more now due to it being
the default language of Hollywood and the internet/technology
(such as Microsoft Word, Facebook etc.) which have been
pioneered by innovative American companies.