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American and British English: Differences in Usage

Posted by Manjusha Filed in English Writing

Abbreviations

We usually write abbreviations without full stops in modern British English. Full stops (US ‘periods’) are normal in American English.

Mr (US Mr.) = Mister
Dr (US Dr.) = Doctor
Ltd (US Ltd.) = Limited (company)
Kg (US kg.) = kilogram

All and all of

Before a noun with a determiner (e.g. the, this, my), all and all of are both possible in British English. American English usually has all of.

  • She has eaten all (of) the cake. (GB)
  • She has eaten all of the cake. (US)
  • All (of) my friends like riding. (GB)
  • All of my friends like riding. (US)
Expressions with prepositions and particles

Different from/than (US)
Different from/to (GB)
Check something (out) (US)
Check something (GB)
Do something over/again (US)
Do something again (GB)
Live on X street (US)
Live in X street (GB)
On a team (US)
In a team (GB)
Monday through/to Friday (US)
Monday to Friday (GB)

Informal use of like

In an informal style, like is often used instead of as if/though, especially in American English. This is not considered correct in a formal style.

  • It seems like it is going to rain.
  • He sat there smiling like it was his birthday.
On

In American English, it is common to leave out on before the days of the week.

  • I am seeing her Sunday morning. (US)

British people say at the weekend; Americans say on the weekend.

  • What did you do at the weekend? (GB)
  • What did you do on the weekend? (US)
In and for

In American English, in can be used, like for, to talk about periods up to the present. (British English only for).

  • I haven’t seen her in years. (US)

Sections in this article

American and British English: differences in grammar - I
American and British English: differences in grammar - II
American and British English: differences in vocabulary - I
American and British English: differences in vocabulary - II
American and British English: differences in usage - I
American and British English: differences in usage - II
American and British English: differences in spelling

 

 

 

 

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