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American English versus British English: Which should you learn?

American English versus British English, which is best? This can be a hot topic for many native English speakers.

English has been exported all over the world creating many variations, for example, American English is different to British English. It is the official spoken language in 6 countries (USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland) and an official language spoken in over 40 other countries. Consequently, that makes currently between 330 – 360 million people throughout the world who use English as their first language. As with all modern languages, the English language is forever evolving. Furthermore, changes in the use of the language can been seen between different generations as well as between different continents.

Many everyday English words and expressions are completely different in these three separate countries:

A Brit will offer you a biscuit, an American a cookie and an Australian a bickie.
While a Brit may ask, Are you alright? An American will say What’s up? and an Australian will ask, How are you going?
Additionally, in England you go to the toilet. Where as in the States you will go to the bathroom and in Australia you need to ask for the loo.

While this diversity makes the language all the more richer and interesting. It also makes things a little more complicated for people who are learning to speak English. It is useful to learn the most commonly used words and expressions that are used differently, especially if you plan on travelling. Don’t worry too much if you can’t remember all of them. Many native English speakers don’t fully understand all of the English vocabulary used abroad.

Here are some common vocabulary differences between America English and British English:

UK US
Biscuit Cookie
Pavement Sidewalk
Jumper Sweater
Trainers Sneakers
Chips French Fries
Aubergine Eggplant
Flat Apartment
Underground Subway
Chemist Drug Store
Queue Line
(Car) Boot Trunk
Holiday Vacation

While there is no right or wrong to using either American or British English. My advice would be to pick the country that you feel most comfortable with and stick to it. Do not swop and change from one countries vocabulary to another. Be aware that using vocabulary from both sides of the continent can be a little bit off-putting to native English speakers.

Do you find it difficult to understand American English or British English? Do you prefer US English or UK English? Do you find that UK English is easier to remember than American English? Join the conversation, leave your comments below.

Whichever version of English you choose, start learning today with our native American English teachers and native British English teachers. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our teachers are there to ensure that you will make fast progress. Start speaking from day one and make significant progress within 30 days, guaranteed! Find out more and request your free trial class.

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