Differences in grammar between American and British English, and not just that

These two versions of English have significant differences, not only at the vocabulary level.

Take a look at these sentences. Do you know which of them are more typical of British English (BrE) or American English (AmE)?

Shall I open the window for you?
I'm not hungry, I just ate.

If not, you will soon find out :)

1. Present perfect (present perfect) and past simple (past simple)

The British use the Present perfect to talk about past actions that they consider relevant in the present.

The present perfect can be used in the same way in American English, but people often use the past simple when they think the action is over. This is especially common with the adverbs already, just and yet.

BrE: James feels great. He's just passed his last test.
AmE: James feels great. He just passed his last test.


2. Got vs gotten

In British, the past participle of the verb get is got, in American it is gotten. But, note that "got" is commonly used in both British and American English to refer to having got or having got to.

BrE: You’ve got very thin.
AmE: You’ve gotten very thin


BrE: Have you got any bananas? I've got to eat something
AmE: Have you got any bananas? I've got to eat something


3. Shall

In British English, people often use "Shall I ...?" or "Shall we?” to make an offer.

Very unusual for native American English speakers. They usually use the alternative, "Should / Can I ...?", "Would you like ...?" or "How about ...?"

BrE: Shall we meet in the cinema at 7?
AmE: Would you like to meet in the cinema at 7?

4. Americans like to be a little understated =)

Americans drive British speakers crazy by removing whole verbs from a sentence. For example, in a response to the question "Will you ask him?" the American will usually answer, "I will." On "Could you help me?" he will answer "I could". In the UK, such answers will sound a little odd to say the least, as they are more likely to answer “I will ask” and “I could help”. Failure to mention a verb may be due to the fact that Americans prefer to speak in shorter phrases, or because the British simply want to express themselves more precisely. Who is right - you decide in the comments.

Now go back to the beginning of this article and make sure you can now answer the first question. You don't have to thank in the comments)

If you are afraid that you will forget all these complicated rules do not worry, nothing should stop you from speaking. English is everywhere English and you will be understood in the USA if you say “It’s got cold here. Shall we turn on the heater and have a cup of hot tea? "

 But if you do not want to accidentally tell an American that you made his girlfriend pregnant, and in London, be late for an important meeting, saying that you are drunk, then read our article “Differences in the idioms of American and British English and how not to be late for an important meeting "

Author: Andrew Shapovalov

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