There are a few differences between British and American English regarding grammar.
♦ In British English only the Present Perfect (with just, already and yet) is used for an action in the past with a result now.
eg. I’ve lost my hat. Have you seen it?
I am not thirsty. I have just had a lemonade.
When is Jane leaving? She has already left.
Have you finished your homework yet?
In American English both Present Perfect and Past Simple can be used.
eg. I’ve lost my hat. Did you see it?
I am not thirsty. I just had lunch.
When is Jane leaving? She already left.
Did you finish your homework yet?
♦ British speakers usually say:
- have a bath / shower
- have a break / holiday
American speakers say:
- take a bath / shower
- take a break / holiday
♦ In British English will or shall can be used with I / we while in American English shall is unusual.
♦ British speakers use can’t to say they believe something is not probable.
eg. He hasn’t called me. He can’t have found my number.
American speakers use must not in the same situation.
eg. He hasn’t called me. He must not have found my number.
♦ British speakers usually use Have you? / Isn’t he? etc. while American speakers usually use You have? / He isn’t? etc.
eg. Mike isn’t coming to work today.
Isn’t he? What happened?
Mike isn’t coming to work today.
He isn’t? What happened?
♦ British speakers say:
- at the weekend / at weekends
- to / in hospital
- different from / different to
- write to somebody
- fill in and fill out
- at the front / at the back
- get on (with somebody)
- do up (a room)
♦ American speakers say:
- on the weekend / on weekends
- to / in the hospital
- different from / different than
- write somebody (with or without to) – write me soon
- fill out (a form)
- get along (with somebody)
- fix up
♦ Verbs like burn, spell, etc. can be regular or irregular: burned or burnt, spelled or spelt, etc. in Bristish English
while in American they can only be regular.
In British English the past participle of get is got while in American English the past participle of get is gotten.
♦ British spelling:
travel – travelling / travelled
cancel – cancelling / cancelled
travel – traveling / traveled
cancel – canceling / canceled