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Writing in US and UK English: Difference with Examples

Writing in US and UK English
The British in the 16th and 17th centuries introduced UK English when they arrived in America by sea. In those times, spelling did not have any standards. In UK English, London based scholars compiled the dictionary for UK English. On the other hand, in America, Noah Webster compiled the dictionary. He altered the way words were spelt to create the American version of English, which was different from UK English. He did so to show cultural independence from the mother region. It was the time when writing differences in the US and UK English were made clear.

In speaking English, the difference between UK and US English took place after the arrival of first settlers in America. These groups of people made use of rhotic speech. In this style of speech, “r” sounds words were pronounced. On the other hand, the upper class of UK wanted to make a difference in their speech from the commonly spoken English. To do so, they softened the pronunciation of “r” sounds. Even at that age, the upper class and elite people were considered fashionable, so common people started following their speech.

In the end, it becomes the common way of speaking UK English in the south of England. There are differences in spelling, vocabulary, and grammar of US and UK English. In this article, you can find examples of the basic differences between US and UK English language writing. Even though the two languages have many similarities, there are differences too. Top writers of assignment writing services have presented all these differences within this article through the following dimensions;

Spelling Differences

The spelling in UK English was compiled by Samuel Johnson. It is one of the most famous dictionaries of UK English in the world. He curated 40,000 words with the aid of six helpers in 8 years. It was published as “A Dictionary of the English Language” in 1755. In America, “A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language” was published in the year 1806. It presented spellings of words in a different way as compared to the UK English.

For example, the word colour of British English was written as color in this book. The author of this compilation was Noah Webster. He published the original dictionary of US English as “An American Dictionary of the English Language” in 1828. It has more than 70,000 words. There are various spelling differences when it comes to writing US and UK English. The word which is spelt with two vowels like ae is spelt with only one vowel-like ‘e’ in US English. There are some exceptions that are present, though. For example, the word archaeology is accepted in both UK and US English, but archeology will not be accepted in UK English. Similarly, the words spelled as leukaemia, manoeuvre, oestrogen, and paediatrician UK English. These words are spelt as leukemia, maneuver, estrogen, and pediatrician in US English. The words that are a part of UK English end at our, and for US English they end at or. Verbs in UK English that are spelt with ‘ise’ are spelt as ‘ize’ in US English. Some examples of spelling differences in terms of writing techniques of UK and US English are presented in the table below;

UK English

US English

Apologise

Apologize

Organise

Organize

Recognise

Recognize

Analyse

Analyse

Breathalyse

Breathalyse

Paralyse

Paralyse

Travel

Travel

Travelled

Traveled

Travelling

Traveling

Traveller

Traveler


Vocabulary Differences

Other than varied spellings, usage of different vocabulary is also evident in the case of US and UK English. Both languages use different words for the same things. The table below represents different words used in daily life with respect to both US and UK languages for the same thing;

UK English

US English

Biscuit

Cookie

Trousers

Pants

Flat

Apartment

Bonnet

Hood

Football

Soccer

Trainers

Sneakers

Holiday

Vacation

Jumper

Sweater

Crisps

Chips

Postbox

Mailbox

Chemist

Drugstore

Shop

Store


Grammar Differences

Other than spelling and vocabulary differences, there are differences in grammar between the US and UK English. For example, the collective nouns in US English are considered singular. Like the band is playing a song. On the other hand, in UK English, collective nouns are considered plural. Sometimes they can also be considered as singular nouns. For example, the band are playing a song. In US English, informal speech is common. For example, they use ‘should’ and ‘will’. But in UK English, they use a formal speech. Like they will use ‘shall’ in place of ‘should’ and ‘will’. In the UK, people have stopped the use of gotten as the past participle of ‘get’. They have been using ‘got’ instead of ‘gotten’ for a long time.

In US English though, this term is still in use. They still use ‘gotten’ as past participants of ‘get’. In UK English, it is common to use ‘Needn’t’ in place of do not need to. But it is not common in US English. In US English, ‘don’t need to’ is used most commonly. In UK English, the preposition ‘at’ is used for place and time. But in US English, ‘on’ is used for time, and ‘in’ is used for place.

On the whole, there are differences in US and UK English with respect to different respects. There are different words, spellings, verbs, vocabulary, and grammar rules in UK and US English. Even though there are numerous differences between the two, they have many similarities too. Use of one in place of the other does not cause miscommunication. And these differences are very small. Even though they take the places of each other, their meanings remain the same. There are no chances of miscommunication because of this. People who write in the US and UK English communicate with each other in their own languages without any major difficulties. So if you are not able to differentiate between the two or if you’re unable to memorise the differences between them, don’t go hard on yourself.

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