We introduced how American English and British English have different pronunciations, but it’s not just that. The spelling is also different, did you know that?


The question of what is “proper English” is something that has been at the core of English education around the world. The more English speakers you meet, the more you realize that English is not the same in every country. People from the US, Australia, and Britain can communicate in English, but the way that they use it can be different.



While the English language originated in the UK, it has uniquely changed throughout the commonwealth countries, and within the US. Even within the UK and the US, there are regional dialects and accents. This will be a brief overview of some differences between British and American English. Learning these differences will help you to better communicate and understand an English speaker regardless of where they’re from.

Words 単語



What Americans call something can be completely different than what a British person would call it.
Do you know how to say 消しゴム in English? Americans call them erasers, but Brits call them rubbers. If you were to ask an American for a rubber, you might end up with confused looks or a condom instead. Make sure you’re using the correct term to avoid this potentially awkward situation.



Another example would be フラッシュライト. Saying this in katakana to an American will get your point across because they also call them flashlights. Brits however, call them torches. Saying torch to an American person will make them think about the angry villagers carrying sticks of fire in Beauty and the Beast.


When you’re out drinking with friends and they tell you to 一気に飲む, you may hear Americans saying chug, chug, chug! This is a useful word to know if you go to college parties in the US. In the UK, instead they tell you to neck it.



Some differences aren’t as extreme, and won’t have that different of a meaning. Pairs like elevator vs. lift or sidewalk vs. pavement are easy enough to figure out. A lot of the time British people will still be able to understand you even if you say an American word. This is just because many have watched popular American movies and TV shows. You’re more likely to run into Americans that won’t know the British term.

Pronunciation 発音



Americans and Brits can sound very different because of their accents, but these words go beyond that. The following are spelled the same way, but pronounced differently.

単語 A:アメリカの発音 B:イギリスの発音

Route – A:(ラウト) B:(ルート)

Vase – A: (ヴェイス ) B: (ヴァーズ )

Aluminium – A: ( アルミナム) B: (アルミニアム )

Vitamin – A: ( ヴァイタミン) B: (ヴィタミン )

Privacy – A: ( プライヴァスィ) B: (プリヴァスィ )

Garage – A: (ガルァージ ) B: ( ギャレージ)

Research – A: (リスァーチ) B: (リースァーチ)

Spelling 綴り



For the following words, both Americans and Brits say them the same way, but spell them differently. You could write an entire book listing all of the differences or exceptions, but we’ll just highlight a few.

American “or” vs. British “our” / アメリカン「or」vs イギリス「our」

Color – Colour

Humor – Humour

Flavor – Flavour

American “er” vs. British “re”/ アメリカン「ER」vs イギリス「Re」

Center – Centre

Theater – Theatre

Fiber – Fibre

American “ize” vs. British “ise”/アメリカン「IZE」vs イギリス「ISE」

Realize – Realise

Organize – Organise

Recognize – Recognise

Differences in Past Tense Words/過去形で変わるもの

Dreamed – Dreamt

Learned – Learnt

Spilled – Spilt

Random words that are spelled differently/ランダムな単語でスペルが違うもの

Check – Cheque

Gray – Grey

Cozy – Cosy


Rather than trying to study all of the differences before going to the UK or the US, what’s important is that you learn to not be afraid about communicating. The best way to learn English is by talking to the people around you. You will eventually be able to catch what makes American English different from British English. Even if you end up using the wrong word or making mistakes, at least you’ll get a good story out of it.

~ Thomas