American English & British English – 8 Grammar Differences American English or British English? Accent and pronunciation are not the only differences! I’ll show you 8 grammatical differences between these two styles of English. Once you understand the differences, you can choose which style you prefer to use. The choice you make will influence your speaking and writing. So pay close attention to this lesson, and choose the style you find most comfortable with! Do you want to speak like an American, or like a Brit? Take a quiz on this lesson here:


Hi, everyone. I’m Jade. What we’re talking about today is some grammatical differences between American English and British English because although we speak the same language and we understand each other, we actually have two varieties of English and we have different rules; we have some different grammar that comes with that.

So I think this video is interesting for you if you’re learning English. And I suggest you use this video to just make sure that whichever variety you prefer that you take all the rules associated with that variety. So don’t think: “Oh, I like the rule for collective nouns in American English, that’s easier, I’ll do that but for British English, it’s easier to spell like that”. Don’t do that. Just keep it standard. Pick one, learn the rules, keep it standard that way. I also think this will be interesting to you if you’re a native speaker, so if you’re an American, you’re a British person and you just want to compare just for interest’s sake.

So, let’s get started. Number one: collective nouns. A collective noun represents a noun standing for a collection of individuals or not necessarily individuals, but within one bigger thing. So, a good example is government. Government, do you see it as one thing making decisions as the government speaking as one voice, or do you see it as a collection of different political parties, or even different individuals within one thing – the government? In British English, we can make our collective nouns singular or plural to reflect the fact that just because one thing is a group, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re speaking with one voice or one vision. So we can say: “Tom’s family is”, or: “are coming to visit”. In British English. It just depends. Do you have a happy family? Are you one family happy unit or are you a collection of different individuals making up that family; mom, dad, your brothers, your sisters? In which case, you can use: “are”. In British English, we can say that, whereas in American English, we have to just use the singular verb. Here’s an example: “The government have cut spending”. Government is seen as one thing, so we use the singular verb.

Moving on now, rule number two. We have different spelling rules also. Here’s one to consider: spelling for “ed” words. In American English, it’s generally preferred to spell with “ed”. Let me tell you a story about something on my other YouTube channel. I have a video there that generates quite a lot of negative comments sometimes because I say something about Americans and they’re not very, very happy when they watch it and sometimes people get really angry. And in a comment, somebody was like: “Hey, you can’t even spell! You should spell ‘learned’ with ‘ed’, not a ‘t'”. And she was like really angry, said all this stuff in there; taking the video way too seriously. And then, it started a bit of a comment thread, and people were like: “Hey, you’re embarrassing Americans – you can spell it that way” and things like this. So, that’s a good example of how when you… When you’re used to your variety… I’m used to British English mainly, I’ll sometimes see something in the American variety that confuses me. So obviously that girl hadn’t seen “learnt” spelt with a “t” before which is okay in British English.

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