We know the differences will always be there, so now let’s get down to business and learn how to not make a grave faux pas.
British English vs. American English
- sweets/candy: Both serve as one reason you go to the dentist to get cavities filled.
- trousers/pants: Both are a piece of clothing you wear to cover your legs.
- lift/elevator: Why take the stairs when a machine can move you up and down all those stories in tall buildings?
- truck/lorry: Both are a type of large vehicle, often used to transport goods; not a standard car.
- holiday/vacation: Both express the idea of getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to enjoy some rest and relaxation.
A special word with a different sentiment: Quite. A recent PR Daily article discussed the different sentiments associated with the word quite when used in British English and in American English. Stateside, quite generally has a strong, positive connotation, used similarly to modify, like the word very. While in the UK, quite has a tendency to only mean “fairly good” or “pretty good.” You’re in luck if you’ve received a ‘quite’ compliment from an American; although apparently the same comment from a British English speaker means s/he isn’t overly impressed.
Discussing the differences between and history of British English and American English can serve as a great history lesson, spelling lesson and any number of associated games that you can think of.