Published on January 6th, 2013 In category Education | English

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Differences in British and American English

British Vs American EnglishThe written English is quite different in America and Britain.  This article is intends to highlight those small differences that exist in both the continents while using the English in written form. I have divided the differences into 2 parts, part A covers the difference in usage of punctuations while the next part cover the differences in spelling of some selected words

The following are some of the major differences in the Punctuation in British and American English


In British English the period is NOT used after salutation while in American English it is USED  for eg.

  • Mr. Rakesh Singh  > American way
  • Mr Rakesh Singh  > British way.

Similarly it will be Ms. or Mrs. in America


Americans often capitalize the word after colon in a sentence, while British do not even when there is a full sentence after colon

  • We found the recipe useful: it was perfect > British English
  • We found the recipe useful:It was perfect > American English


British English do NOT use the comma before “and” and while listing in the sentence

  • Radhesh enjoy eating  pepper, bottle gourd, and lady finger.  > American English
  • Radhesh enjoy eating  pepper, bottle gourd and lady finger.  > British English
American English uses the comma after the second periods in abbreviations like e.g (for example) i.e. (that is)
  • I like leafy vegetables e.g., Spinach > American English
  • I like leafy vegetables e.g. Spinach > British English

Quotation Marks

In American English periods and commas are placed INSIDE  the Quotation marks, in British English periods and commas are placed OUTSIDE the quotation marks EXCEPT when they are part of direct speech included in the sentence inside the quotation marks

The following are some of the major differences in the Punctuation in British and American English

The most visible difference while using the American and British typeset in MS words or any other popular program is difference in using Z and S. for e.g. Summarise is British English while Summarize is American English. This why most often you will find red color zig-zag line below the words. The other difference is use of “s” in place of “c” by Americans English for e.g. will write defence while British will write Defense. We have include the a table over here to high light such difference given below

 The American English involves extension use of single “l” in words while British typically make use of DOUBLE ” L”. for e.g. modeling is American way of writing where as Modelling is British way of writing. This scenario arises for the fact that American treat ” l” as a final consonants, so they will use double l when there is a stress on syllable. That’s why some words like  compelling, expelling and rebelling are same in both type of English

The British also use a single -l before suffixes, beginning with a consonant, where as American use “ll”.

Thus Instalment is American Way while Installment is British. Here is a ready reckoner for spell difference in American and British English

American  English

For example

British English

For Example

– z finalize  – s finalise
– s pretense  -ce pretence
– or color -our colour
– og dialog -ouge dialouge
-o mold -ou mould
-m program -me programme
-ll fulfillment -l fulfilment
-l quarreled -ll quarrelled
-k disk -c disc
-in inequiry -e enquiry
-no st among -st amongst
-no e judgment -e judgement
-er center -re centre
-ed learned -t learnt
-ck check -que cheque

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