There is no such thing as American-English…there is English and there are mistakes

Let's dothings together!

I am fully expecting a tirade of commentary for this post and I would just like to assure my American friends now that this is nothing personal and I’m a really nice guy really. However since I started blogging and reading other people’s posts from around the world, I can’t help but notice….even more so, how the English language has been diluted and become a little lazy across the water. I won’t apologise for pointing some of these mistakes out, because I live in England, where the English language was originated……so I can.

My motivation for this post all began, when one of my American readers kindly pointed out to me that I had posted an article tagged with the word ‘humour’.

“I think you mean humor” , they said

” No.. I mean humour, that is the Oxford Dictionary spelling of the word, and that is what I meant” I replied.

“Oh ok…is that British -English? they asked.

“No!…. it is English, there is only one version, There is no such thing as American- English…there is English and there are mistakes” I confirmed.

It didn’t go down very well….I’m a tolerant guy, and ordinarily I would never point out the differences in how American people spell words versus how it should be spelled, but I do draw the line at being corrected into dropping vowels that have existed in the English language for hundreds of years.

So just to clear things up….before you have the bare-faced cheek to correct an Englishman on their own language….here are a few common words and grammatical errors that are used differently (correctly) in England:

For the purpose of clarification and  explanation..I will refer to the ‘mistakes’ as ‘American English’, as much as it pains me to write…it will make it easier to understand and point out the differences.

‘American English’ / Mistaken Spelling English
color, humor, neighbor colour, humour, neighbour
fulfill fulfil
center centre
analyze, authorize analyse, authorise
aging ageing
dialog dialogue
anesthesia, anaesthesia

Differences in the use of Prepositions

There are also a few differences between British and ‘American English’ in the use of prepositions. For example: While the British would play in a team, Americans would play on a team. Another example: While the British would go out at the weekend, Americans would go out on the weekend.

Most annoying Pronunciations

Moscow – This is pronounced Moss. Co, not Moss. Cow

Route (pronounced root, not rowt)

Vitamin (the ‘i’ as in little not as in bite)

Aluminium (Its A.luh.mi.nee.um and not A.looo.me.num)

Differences in Verb usage

Americans use the past tense dreamed while in English you would use dreamt in past tense. The same applies to “learned” and “learnt”. Another example of differing past tense spellings for verbs in American and British English is “forecast”. Americans use forecast while in English you would say forecasted in simple past tense.

Time telling in English vs American English

Both nations have a slightly different structure of telling the time. While in English you would say quarter past ten to denote 10:15, it is not uncommon in America to say quarter after or even a quarter after ten.

Thirty minutes after the hour is commonly called half past in both languages. Americans always write digital times with a colon, thus 6:00, whereas Britons often use a point, 6.00.

Differences in use of tenses

In English the present perfect is used to express an action that has occurred in the recent past that has an effect on the present moment. For example: I’ve misplaced my pen. Can you help me find it?

In ‘American English’, the use of the past tense is also permissible: I misplaced my pen. Can you help me find it?  In English, however, using the past tense in this example would be considered incorrect.

Other differences involving the use of the present perfect in British English and simple past in American English include the words alreadyjust and yet.

English: I’ve just had food. Have you finished your homework ?

American English: I just had food. Have you finished your homework already?

English: I’ve already seen that film.

American English  I already saw that film

The most annoying difference and the one that grates on me the most…as it seems to be migrating to the UK.

“Can I get a Cheeseburger please?”

Of course you can get a cheeseburger….but the correct way of asking for one is

“Please may I have a cheeseburger?”

Here is a non-exhaustive list of other differences – so please, before pointing out any mistakes… check the correct English terminology first….sorry (not sorry).

 English American English/ Mistakes
anti-clockwise counter-clockwise
articulated lorry trailer truck
autumn  fall
barrister attorney
bill (restaurant) check
biscuit cookie
block of flats apartment building
Bonnet (Clothing) Hat
bonnet (car) hood
boot trunk
caravan trailer
car park parking lot
chemist’s shop drugstore, pharmacy
chest of drawers dresser, chest of drawers, bureau
chips fries, French fries
the cinema the movies
clothes peg clothespin
coffin casket
crisps potato chips
crossroads intersection; crossroads (rural)
cupboard cupboard (in kitchen); closet (for clothes etc)
diversion detour
drawing-pin thumbtack
drink-driving drunk driving
driving licence driver’s license
dual carriageway divided highway
dummy (for baby) pacifier
dustbin garbage can, trash can
dustman garbage collector
engine engine, motor
estate agent real estate agent
estate car station wagon
film film, movie
flat apartment, flat, studio
flat tyre flat tire
flyover overpass
gearbox (car) transmission
gear-lever gearshift
Girl Guide Girl Scout
ground floor ground/first floor
handbag handbag, purse, shoulder bag
high street main street
holiday vacation
hood (car) convertible top
jam jam, preserves
jug jug, pitcher
juggernaut 18-wheeler
lift elevator
lorry truck, semi, tractor
mad crazy, insane
main road highway
maize corn
maths math
motorbike motorcycle
motorway freeway, expressway
motorway highway, freeway, expressway, interstate highway, interstate

Sources:

http://www.diffen.com

http://www.englishclub.com

 

 

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