British and American English - Grammatical Differences

Discussões sobre Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives, Prepositions, Present Perfect, Simple Past etc.
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ENGLISH GRAMMAR


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BRITISH EnglishAMERICAN English
The present perfect is used for an action in the past with a result now:

- I've lost my key. Have you seen it?
- Sally isn't here. She's gone out.

The present perfect is used with just, already and yet:

- I'm not hungry. I've just had lunch.
- A: What time is Mark leaving?
- B: He has already left.

- Have you finished your homework yet?
The present perfect or past simple can be used:

- I've lost my key. Have you seenit? or I lost my key. Did you see it?

- Sally isn't here. She's gone out or She went out.

The present perfect or past simple can be used with just, already and yet:

- I am not hungry. I've just had lunch or I just had lunch.

- A: What time is Mark leaving?
- B: He has already left or He already left.

- Have you finished your work yet? or Did you finish
British speakers usually say:
- have a bath / a shower.
- have a break / a holiday.
American speakers say:
- take a bath / a shower.
- take a break / a vacation.
Will e shall can beused with the pronouns I or we:
- I will / shall be late this evening.

Shall I...? and shall we...? are used to ask for advice etc.:
- Which way shall we go?
Shall is unusual:
- I will be late this evening.

Should I...? and should we...? are more usual to ask for advice etc.:
- Which way should we go?
British speakers use can't to say they believe something is not probable:
- Sue hasn't contacted me. She can't have got my message.
American speakers use must not in this situation:
- Sue hasn't contacted me. She most not have gotten my message.
You can use needn't or don't need to:
- We needn't hurry or We don't need to hurry.
Needn't is unusual. The usual form is don't need to:
- We don't need tohurry.
After demand, insist etc. You can use should:
- I demanded that he should apologise.
- We insisted that something should be done about the problem.
The subjunctive is normally used. Should is unusual after demand, insist etc.:
- I demanded that he apologize.
- We insisted that something be done about the problem.
Note: Many verbs ending in -ise in British English (apologise, organise, specialise etc.) are spelt with -ize (apologize, organize, specialize etc.) in American English.
British speakers generally use Have you? / Isn't she? etc.
A: Liz isn't feeling well.
B: Isn't she? What's wrong with her?
American speakers generally use You have? / She isn't? etc.:
A: Liz isn't feeling well.
B: She isn't? What's wrong with her?
Accommodation is usually uncountable:
- There isn't enough accommodation.
Accommodation can be countable:
- There aren't enough accommodations.
To / in hospital (without the):
- Three people were injured and taken to hospital.
To / in the hospital:
- Three people were injured and taken to the hospital.
Nouns like government, team, family, etc. Can have a singular or plural verb:
- The team is / are playing well.
These nouns normally take a singular verb in American English:
- The team is playing well.
at the weekend / at weekends:
- Will you be here at the weekend?
on the weekend / on weekends:
- Will you be here on the weekend?
at the front / at the back (of a group etc.):
- Let's sit at the front (of the cinema).
in the front / in the back (of a group etc.):
- Let's sit in the front (of the movie theater).
Different from or different to:
- It was different from / to what I'd expected.
Different from or different than:
- It was different from / than what I'd expected.
Write to somebody:
- Please write to me soon.
Write (to) somebody (with or without to):
- Please write (to) me soon.
British speakers use both round and around:
- He turned round or He turned around.
American speakers use around (not usually round):
- He turned around.
British speakers use both fill in and fill out:
- Can you fill in this form? or Can you fill out this form?
American speakers use fill out:
- Can you fill out this form?
get on = progress
- How are you getting on in your new job?

get on (with somebody):
- Richard gets on well with his new neighbours.
American speakers do not use get on in this way.

get along (with somebody):
- Richard gets along well with his new neighbors.
do up a room etc. :
- The kitchen looks great now that it has been done up.
do over a room etc. :
- The kitchen looks great now that it has been done over.
There are verbs which can be regular or irregular, although the regular forms are much less common. In other words, these verbs are usually irregular with past tenses and past participle forms ending in –t:
- (to) burn: burned or burnt
- (to) dream: dreamed or dreamt
- (to) lean: leaned or leant
- (to) learn: learned or learnt
- (to) smell: smelled or smelt
- (to) spell: spelled or spelt
- (to) spill: spilled or spilt
- (to) spoil: spoiled or spoilt
The verbs in this section are normally regular (burned, dreamed, etc.
In British English, spit is the past and past participle form of the verb to spit.In American English, spit has both spit and spat as past tense and past participle.
Note: A spit is a stick which holds meat or other items over a fire, usually to allow the food to turn while it is roasted. Spit is also another word for saliva or the fluid made by one’s mouth. It can also be a small bit of land which leads into a body of water. To spit is to propel something (usually saliva) from your mouth or to put something on a spit (i.e., impale). If you put something on a spit this morning, you spitted it, you can also be spitting a pig for dinner. If you ejected saliva from your mouth this morning, you spat; or you could say you spit (in the USA). A person could be spitting on the sidewalk right now. There are other definitions of the word spit, which include lighting something on fire, when it rains or snows lightly but strongly, or to make a spitting noise. Something can be the spitting image of something else if it looks just like it. A spat can also be a small fight or tiff between two people or groups.
The verbs (to) quit and (to) wet are regular in British English:
- (to) quit: quitted / quitted
- (to) wet: wetted / wetted
In American English, these verbs are irregular:
- (to) quit: quit / quit
- (to) wet: wet / wet
(To) dive is regular in British English:
- (to) dive: dived / dived
(To) dive can be irregular in American English:
- (to) dive: dove / dived
Note: The past tense dove is found chiefly in North American English, where it is used alongside the regular (and earlier) dived, with regional variations; in British English dived is the standard past tense, dove existing only in some dialects. Some speakers express uncertainty about what the past participle should be; dove is relatively rare as a past participle.
The past participle of get is got:
- Your English has got much better = Your English has become much better.
The past participle of get is gotten:
- Your English has gotten much better.
Have got is also an alternative to have:
- I've got two brothers = I have two brothers.
Have got= have (as in British English):
- I've got two brothers.


British spelling:
- travel= travelling / travelled.
- cancel= cancelling / cancelled.
American spelling:
- travel= traveling / traveled.
- cancel= canceling / canceled.


If you want to focus your studies on spelling differences, you should read:
(1) http://www.teclasap.com.br/ingles-britanico-x-ingles-americano-our-bre-x-or-ame/

REFERENCES:
(1) ALBRIGHT, Adam. Lexical and morphological conditioning of paradigm gaps. MIT. 2006.
(2) MURPHY, Raymond. English Grammar in Use. Cambridge University Press. 3rd ed. 2004.
(3) PERTSOVA, K. How lexical conservatism can lead to paradigm gaps. In J. Heinz and K. Pertsova (Eds.), UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics, Number 11: Papers in Phonology 6, pp. 13–38. 2005.
(4) English Oxford Living Dictionary. Link: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/spelling/british-and-spelling.

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