Differences between American and British English

English can be classified into two main variations, English from England and English from America.

Sharissa L. Pérez
Sharissa L. Pérez
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Even though English is a language spoken by more than a billion people worldwide, billions more are trying to learn it as a second language. Many people learning English as a second language have experienced difficulty because of the variations in the language. The English language is spoken in many different countries around the world, each with their own variations depending on who influences it.

English can be classified into two main variations, English from England and English from America. It’s easy to assume that Europeans that speak English are influenced by England’s English. But did you know that countries in the western hemisphere are also influenced by England’s English? Former British Colonies like Australia, Belize, and Canada were influenced by English settlers and therefore adapted a lot of British English.

Being a former British Colony, Belize adapted British English but because of globalization, American English has become predominant. Here are some changes noticeable in recent times.


Before (British English)

A bank cheque was written out to John Doe.

Now (American English)

A bank check was written out to John Doe.

Before (British English)

The colour of the toy is blue.

Now (American English)

The color of the toy is blue.

Spelling differences between British and American English

The words are pronounced the same but the spelling is noticeably different. Which way is the correct way? Both. Both British English, as well as American English, can be widely accepted without causing confusion to the Native English Speaker. So which English should you use? There is no right or wrong answer to that question, but your preference will more than likely be based on your bias as well as where you want to visit.

My bias of growing up in a former British Colony makes me inclined to adapt to British English. I grew up being taught that British spelling, or British English, is the correct way to write or spell. However, the newer generations are learning that the American English spelling is acceptable. My only suggestion to you is to remain consistent. If you decide to use British spelling, then stick to always using British spelling, especially when submitting formal essays or applications.

How to catch the difference and learn English?

Only a native English speaker can guide you into learning the type of English you want to learn. Want to learn just enough to get around your next travel destination? Let me help you prepare for your trip to that English-speaking country so that you can enjoy the more important things on your trip. Book a Trial Lesson with me to see if we’re a great fit.


Sharissa L. Pérez

I’m a native English speaker from Belize. I’m fluent in Spanish and I’m trying to learn 2 languages so I’m sure I'll be as understanding as possible to help you.

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Cecilia Gigliotti

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Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.