Essays are the most popular assignments for both American and British students. Now you will probably ask “How is a UK college essay different from a US essay?” Though, general requirements for essay writing assignments are the same in American and British universities, it is not a secret that British English differs from American English. Though the difference between British and American English seem insignificant, an experienced college professor will always tell, if the essay is written by an American or British student.
So, What Are the Actual Differences Between British and American English?
- Auxiliary verbs
- Past tense verbs
One of the most notable differences is vocabulary. British student will likely say “flat” instead of “apartment”, “lift” instead of “elevator”, “sweets” instead of “candies”. British student will study in the 7th form, and Americans in the 7th grade. Brits will write a postcode on a postal envelope and Americans will use a zip code. More differences in British/American vocabulary here .
One more difference is the use of some auxiliary verbs. For example, the verb shall. British will likely use it to express the future, while Americans rarely use shall in informal conversations.
Americans: “I will do it now”
Brits: “I shall do it now”
Americans: “Should we leave now?”
Brits: “Shall we leave now?”
Another example is the verb “to need”.
Americans: “You do not need to write this essay for tomorrow class”
Brits: “You needn`t write this essay for tomorrow class”
Regular and irregular verbs are slightly different in British and American English. Americans will likely use learned as the simple verb tense of a verb to learn, Brits will say learnt instead.
Americans: burned, spilled, quitted.
Brits: burnt, spilt, quit.
You can check the extended list of irregular verbs difference here .
Though the use of British style past tense for irregular verbs will not count as a grammar mistake, the professor will be able to tell if the paper is written by an American or a Brit.
Besides, there are thousands of other minor differences between American and British English: spelling, use of collective nouns, use of lexical verbs and prepositions and so on.
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