When I started studying English at my college, I was positive I spoke American English very well. However, towards the end of the first year of my studies I was advised by my English and American teachers to make up my mind and switch either into British or American English. In fact my pronunciation was half way through British and American. Now I sound rather British. Nevertheless the differences between these two varieties of English do not involve pronunciation only. For the last three hundred years the dialects have developed independently and except for pronunciation there are some differences in terms of grammar and vocabulary, too Let us consider some of the main differences:
1.Americans often use a simple past tense in some cases where British people normally use a present perfect (e.g. to give new information).
I just lost my key. Can you help me look for it?
I’m not hungry. I just had lunch.
I already did my homework.
I didn’t tell my mom about it yet?
2.Americans use the verb have a bit differently. The forms I have, I don’t have, do you have? are more usual than I’ve got, I haven’t got, have you got?
Do you have a problem?
3.The American past participle of get is gotten; in British English it is got.
Your English has gotten much better since I last saw you.
Some other irregular verb forms are different in British and American English.a.burn, dream, lean, learn, smell, spell, spill and spoil are all regular in American English. They can be regular in British English, but irregular past tenses and particles with -t are more common (burnt, dreamt, leant, learnt, smelt, spilt, spoilt),
b.wak e can be regular in American English,
c.fit, quit and wet are regular in British English, but irregular in American (all three verb forms are the same e.g. fit, fit, fit),
d.dive is regular in British English, but irregular in American (dive, dove, dived).
4.There are some differences in structures with suggest, insist etc.
Jim suggested that I buy a car (AmE).
Jim suggested that I should buy a car (BrE).
Jim suggested that I bought a car (BrE).
5.Americans sometimes use his where the British say one’s.
One should try to get to know one’s neighbours.
6.Americans say ‚the hospital’.
The injured woman was taken to hospital (BrE).
7.There are many small differences in the use of prepositions and adverb particles. Examples:
Check something out
Do something over
Fill out a form
Meet with somebody
Visit with somebody
Monday through Saturday
On the weekend
On the team
Do something again
Fill in a form
Protest against something
Stay at home
Monday to Saturday
Write to somebody
At the weekend
At the team
8. In informal speech, a lot of Americans use like in cases where most educated British people would prefer as or as if.
It looks as if it’s going to rain (BrE).
9. In informal speech, Americans sometimes use adverb forms without -ly.
She looked at me really strangely (BrE).
10. In American English, final -l is not usually doubled.
Traveller, travelling (BrE).
11. Some words end in -ter in American English, and -tre in British.
Center, theatre (BrE).
12. Some words end in -or in American English, and -our in British.
Labour, neighbour, colour (BrE).
13. Some words end in -og in American English, and -ogue in British.
Catalogue, dialogue, analogue (BrE).
14. There are some spelling differences in individual words.
15. There are also different words for the same idea, or the same word has different meanings. Examples.
flat tyre, puncture
dustbin, rubbish bin