Welcome, Guest: Join Nairaland / LOGIN! / Trending / Recent / New
Stats: 2,714,700 members, 6,415,067 topics. Date: Sunday, 01 August 2021 at 05:33 AM

Differences Between American, British Grammar - Education - Nairaland

Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Education / Differences Between American, British Grammar (1116 Views)

Demons In St Clairs Anglican Girls Grammar School, Offa Forced School's Closure / 7 Coronavirus Grammar Lessons You Should Know / Book On Difference Between American And African American English (Photo) (2) (3) (4)

(1) (Reply) (Go Down)

Differences Between American, British Grammar by Abid2020(m): 12:23pm On Dec 12, 2020
Differences Between American, British Grammar

Many of you have the goal of learning American English. After all, you are listening to or reading a lesson from the Voice of America.

But you will still probably have some contact with British English. The popularity of British television shows and musical groups, for example, reaches across borders.

So, how does British English differ from American English? You may already know that there is a clear difference in accent. Other differences include some vocabulary and expressions.

Less commonly discussed, however, are the variations in grammar. American and British Englishes share almost all of the same grammar. But there are differences, and some are worth noting – especially for English learners.

On today’s program, we will discuss a few of them.

Use of prepositions

First, let’s talk about where the two Englishes vary on preposition use.

In British English, the preposition “at” is used in several time-related phrases, such as when talking about weekends. But speakers of American English use the preposition “on” in such a case. Listen to this American English speaker:

On weekends, I like to watch sports.

Can you think of how a British English speaker would say this?

That’s right, it is: “At weekends, I like to watch sports.”

Americans also use the preposition “on” with street names. Yet, British English speakers use “in.”

Listen to this American talking about where someone lives:

She lives on 17th street near Dupont Circle.

Can you guess how the British English speaker would say it?

That’s right: “She lives in 17th street near Dupont Circle.”

These are just a few examples of the small differences in preposition use.

The present perfect

Now, let’s move on to verb tenses.

American and British English speakers use the present perfect verb tense in similar ways. But Americans use it in fewer situations. In many other situations, we use the simple past instead.

Listen to an American use the simple past tense to talk about a lost object:

Ugh! I lost my phone…again.

British English speakers would generally use the present perfect in this situation, as in “I’ve lost my phone…again.” The present perfect verb here is “have lost.”

This is also true when giving news. In American English, we use the simple past to do this. Speakers of British English generally use the present perfect.

Listen to an American give a piece of news to someone:

Your supervisor just called.

Again, such news would involve the present perfect for Britons, as in, “Your supervisor has just called” or the contracted “You supervisor’s just called.”

Notice use of the word “just,” a common time-related adverb. With other such adverbs, like “yet” and “already,” Americans also tend to use the simple past tense while Britons use the present perfect.

Listen to an American use a past tense verb and the adverb “already”:

Would you like more?

No thanks. I already ate too much.

So, what might a British answer sound like? A person is likely to say, “I have already eaten too much,” which uses the present perfect verb “have eaten.”

Have and get

The two dialects also differ in some ways in their usages of the verbs “have” and “get.”

When talking about human relationships, British English speakers generally use the wording “have got.” For instance, a Briton might say, “I’ve got an uncle in New York City.” But an American is likely to say, “I have an uncle in New York City.”

This same rule applies when talking about possession of objects and when discussing illness. A British English speaker would likely say, “I’ve got a cold,” while an American would probably just say, “I have a cold.”

The two dialects also have their own ways of saying that something is required or necessary. The modal verb “Have to” is more common to American English. The phrasing “have got to” is much more common to speakers of British English. An American would likely say, “We have to be there by 7” while a British person is more likely to say, “We have got to be there by 7.”

And, speaking of “got,” let’s not forget an unusual difference between the past participle forms of “get.” In American English, the past participle of “get” is “gotten.” But Britain discontinued the use of “gotten” more than 300 years ago. In British English, the past participle of “get” is “got.”

So, you might hear an American English speaker say this:

He has not gotten far on the project.

Yet a British English speaker might say, “He has not got far on the project.”

Auxiliaries in replies

And finally, let’s touch on something that deals with giving short answers to questions.

British English speakers often add the auxiliary verb “do” in short replies. An American would use just a modal verb. Listen to an answer from this American English speaker:

Are you bringing the whole family?

I might.

The modal verb in the reply is “might.”

Yet, speakers of British English would generally use both a modal and the auxiliary “do,” as in the reply “I might do.”

What can you do?

So…what can you do with this information?

First, keep in mind that British and American English both contain several dialects and accents. However, generally speaking, they are each still identifiably American or British.

The next time you come into contact with British English, make a mental note when you hear or see the differences you learned about today. Then, ask yourself: How would an American say this? It could be a fun exercise and may help you pay closer attention to American English grammar.
Source URL:https://learningenglish.voanews.com/amp/differences-between-american-british-grammar/5693438.html
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Abid2020(m): 12:28pm On Dec 12, 2020
Which do you prefer? British or American
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Nobody: 12:31pm On Dec 12, 2020
Sorry but is there anything like "Englishes"?

Still reading though.....
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by AlhajiNatty(m): 12:38pm On Dec 12, 2020
OP, a quick question for you.
1 . Globalization has refused to catch up with Buhari.

and

2. Globalisation has refused to catch up with Buhari.

OP, which amongst the two is American or British?

3 Likes

Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Abid2020(m): 1:50pm On Dec 12, 2020
Globalisation is British spelling

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Hahjascho(m): 5:16pm On Dec 12, 2020
That's a nice write up @Op.

However, the challenges 'Nigeria English' face goes beyond grammar but also pronunciation.
Basically, Nigeria was colonised by the Britain around 1901, this proves the normal style of English Nigeria is entitled to naturally emulate. However, different exposures have changed the orientation of Nigerian English.

Most text books, journals, news-casters, TV stations, public speakers and even the common computers being used locally are programed in American English.......some Britain also did 'Americanize' their pronunciations.

This really causes confusion in the vocabularies and pronunciations being spoken... most importantly, the inconsistency being encountered in Nigerian pronunciations.
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Karleb(m): 5:39pm On Dec 12, 2020
This is what a lot of Nigerians need.

Some people who will tell one to five is not correct. They'll say one through five is.

Come in time.
Come on time.

They are both correct, the former is British while the latter is American.

1 Like

Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by JaneYave(f): 9:24pm On Dec 12, 2020
British English is good and easy to stick to .
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by psyco: 9:26pm On Dec 12, 2020
I love the British accent tho.

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Cashsteady(m): 10:12pm On Dec 12, 2020
British accent is cool

3 Likes 1 Share

Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by edoairways: 10:19pm On Dec 12, 2020
Abid2020:
Globalisation is British spelling
The s in this spelling is American while z is British
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by edoairways: 10:23pm On Dec 12, 2020
Hahjascho:
That's a nice write up @Op.

However, the challenges 'Nigeria English' face goes beyond grammar but also pronunciation.
Basically, Nigeria was colonised by the Britain around 1901, this proves the normal style of English Nigeria is entitled to naturally emulate. However, different exposures have changed the orientation of Nigerian English.

Most text books, journals, news-casters, TV stations, public speakers and even the common computers being used locally are programed in American English.......some Britain also did 'Americanize' their pronunciations.

This really causes confusion in the vocabularies and pronunciations being spoken... most importantly, the inconsistency being encountered in Nigerian pronunciations.
Yeah probably we should have our own English similar to Zimbabwe and South Africa
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by UnbanEbenezar: 6:31am On Dec 13, 2020
JaneYave:
British English is good and easy to stick to .
do you receive pm?
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by JaneYave(f): 11:28am On Dec 13, 2020
UnbanEbenezar:
do you receive pm?
Sure
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Havilah9779: 12:29pm On Dec 13, 2020
edoairways:

The s in this spelling is American while z is British
Nope... it's the other way round.
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by UnbanEbenezar: 1:32pm On Dec 13, 2020
JaneYave:
Sure
the mail attached to my account here isn't mine so I won't be able to reach your mail directly via nairaland.
can you send me a mail via udemetriumph@yahoo.com
thanks a lot
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by UnbanEbenezar: 1:32pm On Dec 13, 2020
Havilah9779:
Nope... it's the other way round.
you're very right.
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by Abid2020(m): 8:58pm On Dec 13, 2020
[quote author=edoairways post=97007791]
The s in this spelling is American while z is British[/quote
Nay, consult your dictionary
Re: Differences Between American, British Grammar by edoairways: 11:25pm On Dec 13, 2020
[quote author=Abid2020 post=97036834][/quote]
I will thanks for the clarification

(1) (Reply)

When Is Uniben Commencing The 1st Semester Exams? / Pls Wich Course Can I Offer With Dis Type Of Result? / MTN Awards Scholarship To Tertiary Institution Students

(Go Up)

Sections: politics (1) business autos (1) jobs (1) career education (1) romance computers phones travel sports fashion health
religion celebs tv-movies music-radio literature webmasters programming techmarket

Links: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Nairaland - Copyright © 2005 - 2021 Oluwaseun Osewa. All rights reserved. See How To Advertise. 144
Disclaimer: Every Nairaland member is solely responsible for anything that he/she posts or uploads on Nairaland.