Why British English and American English Often Use Different Words for the Exactly Same Thing

Instructor Gideon of LetThemTalkTV explains why British English and US English often use different words for exactly the same thing. While they started off the same, he notes that much of this difference is due to the vast international influence upon the fledgling new country, including Dutch, German, Yiddish, and languages from various Native American tribes.

We take a deep dive into American English. It’s influences from native American, immigrants from across the world, slaves, religion and more. We’ll discuss how Americans have changed the way we speak English around the world

British and US English Differences

He also addresses grammar and spelling differences between the versions.

In some situations, American use a past simple. Where in British English we’d more likely use a present perfect. For example, in American English you might say I just saw Mary. And in British English would say, I’ve just seen Mary. ….British would say. Shall I help you with that? Americans might say, Can I help you with that? ..Yes, there are some spelling differences. and this guy can be held responsible. Noah Webster, his work on the American Dictionary of the English Language, which helped standardize American spelling pronunciation in the early 19th century.

Much has to do with The Great Vowel shift, which took place primarily between 1400 and 1700 and essentially changed the pronunciation of the English language worldwide.

Southern British English and standard American accent are quite similar. And the reason for this is that colonization from England came to America after the great vowel shift and the immigrants among early English colonizers were from the south and east of England. therefore one could argue that the American accent is a variation of Southern standard British English.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.