and verb forms in American and British English grammar:
are right, Anwar, there are not very many differences in
grammar. Rather more when it comes to vocabulary and idiom.
Many of the differences in grammar relate to choice of verb or
verb form. Here are some of the most common:
adverbs with past simple/present perfect
adverbs, such as just, ever, already and
yet are often used with the past simple in American
English, whereas in British English they would normally
be used with the present perfect. Compare the following:
phone her yet?
you phoned her yet?
you eat already?
you already eaten?
You missed him. He just left.
You've missed him. He's just left.
you ever go to Canada?
you ever been to Canada?
you have...? / Have you got...?
all varieties of English, the 'do' forms of have
are used to express habit or repetition:
you always have fruit and cereal for breakfast?
you sometimes have a shower in the morning when you
American English, the 'do' forms of have are
commonly used when referring to particular situations. In
British English, we often prefer have with got
in these contexts. Compare the following:
time to finish this report before you leave?
you got time to finish this report before you leave?
you have a problem with this?
you got a problem with this?
American English,got and do forms are often
mixed. In British English, they would not be:
a new car! ~ You do?
got a new car! ~ You have?
and irregular past tenses and past participles
following verbs are regular in American English, but are
often irregular with -t rather than -ed in
kitchen smelled of roast chicken. Dinner was ready.
The kitchen smelt of roast chicken, Dinner was ready.
have learned that it is better to be safe than sorry.
I have learnt that it is better to be safe than sorry.
had spoiled his paper by spilling his coffee on it.
He had spoilt his paper by spilling his coffee on it.
following verbs are regular in British English, but
irregular in American English:
her clothes fit into the suitcase.
her clothes fitted into the suitcase.
wet her long blond hair before pushing it under her bathing
wetted her long hair before pushing it under her bathing
she dove into the pool with all her clothes on.
she dived into the pool with all her clothes on.
/ could with verbs of perception
British English, we normally use can or could
with verbs of perception such as see, hear, taste, feel, smell,
when American English will often use these verbs independently
of can or could. Compare the following:
I went into the garden, I could smell the cherry wood burning
on the camp fire.
I went into the garden, I smelled the cherry wood burning on the
could hear Caroline approaching through the long grass.
heard Caroline approaching through the long grass.
to / gonna
In talking about plans and intentions, going to
is often replaced by gonna in informal speech, especially
in American English. Compare the following:
see you at the game. You're gonna play, right?
see you at the game. You're going to play, aren't you?
as they say in American English, and now increasingly in