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Differences between British and American English (British Council)
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British and American English are the same language and they can understand each other perfectly well, but some words are different and can create some confusion sometimes. Here are a few of the most common differences.

First, go to the ACTIVITY tab below and try to do the exercise, then watch the video and complete your list. Then you can go to the KEY tab to check your answers.

- Hey, nice pants.
- Excuse me!
- I said, nice pants.
- You can’t see my pants, can you?
- Of course I can.
- How can you see my pants?
- They’re on your legs.
- Oh, you haven’t been to America recently, have you?
- Well, I, yeah... have actually, I’ve just come back from L.A.
- That’s Los Angeles, by the way.
- I know.
- Yea, I’ve picked up some of their American words and now I forget which ones to use. It’s so confusing.
- Well, we call these trousers in Britain.
- Ah, of course we do.
- You know, there’s so many things that it’s like a completely different language sometimes.
- Really?
- Yeah.
- Would you like a crisp?
- Crisp? In the States they’re chips.
- Oh. So if I want to order our chips in America, what do I ask for?
- French fries.
- I see.
- And you know what that is, don’t you?
- A fizzy drink.
- That’s a soda.
- Mmm
- You know the lift over there?
- Yeah.
- That’s an elevator.
- Oh, really.
- You know, in the States you don’t go to watch a film.
- You watch a movie.
- Exactly, and you don’t walk on the pavement.
- You walk on the sidewalk.
- You got it!    (= BrE: exactly!, correct!)
- I’ve watched a lot of films. Oops, movies.

Write the British words corresponding to these American words (and then check your answers at the KEY)

AMERICAN ENGLISH

pants
L.A.
chips
French fries
soda
elevator
movie
sidewalk

AMERICAN            BRITISH

pants ------------- trousers
L.A. -------------- Los Angeles
chips ------------- crisps
French fries ------ chips
soda -------------- fizzy drink (also: soft drink)
elevator ---------- lift
movie ------------- film
sidewalk ---------- pavement

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