Differences in English

Differences in English in Canada/United States and in England

I will give you a few examples of the differences. I am not a professional when it comes to  British English, but I will explain what I hear.

I have been told by many people that it is difficult to understand English because it sounds so different depending on which country the speaker comes from.

It is important to remember that the goal when learning English should be to make communication possible. An accent isn’t a bad thing as long as you are understood.

The areas of difference are in pronunciation, spelling, grammar and the meaning of words.

Pronunciation – Canadians speak with a stronger “h” sound and a stronger “er or ar” sound. The British seem to omit both the “h” and the “er or ar.”
For example, the Canadian pronunciation of the word “hair” sounds like “hayer” but the British pronunciation sounds like “aya.”
The “i” sound in Canadian English is “iyy”, in British English it sounds more like “oy.”
Park           Canadian – parrk           British – pawk
Car            Canadian – carr              British – caw
Right         Canadian – riyt               British – royt
Hair          Canadian – hayer           British – aya

Spelling – Canadian English is like British English in spelling. Both use “re” at the end of words, such as theatre, fibre, litre, metre or centre, as opposed to American English where “re” is rare. American spelling uses the “er” spelling in theater, fiber, liter, meter, or center.
In Canadian and British English, we have favour, flavour, colour, humour, labour, neighbour, whereas in American spelling the same words are spelled as favor, flavor, color, humor, labor, neighbor.

Grammar – In Canadian English, we use the Present Simple whereas, in British English, the Present Perfect is used more often.

Prepositions – There are differences in prepositions as well. A Canadian/American will say “on the weekend,” but the English will say “at the weekend.”

Different Meanings – The meaning of words between Canada and the United States is extremely similar. The British have many words that are used differently in Canada or the United States. Following is a short list of some of the more common differences.

Any suggestions for additions are welcome. Please send to me on the contact page.

Canadian and British words

Canadians and Americans use the same words, with a few exceptions, however, the British commonly use different words for the same thing or action.
Canadian/American WordsBritish Words
Apartment building/High riseBlock of flats
Biscuit (unsweetened bun)Scone
Buggy/Shopping cartTrolley
Cell phone/CellMobile phone/Mobile
Chips (potato chips)Crisps
Counter clockwiseAnti clockwise
Eh! (meaning "right" and also "don't you agree?")Righto
French friesChips
Garbage canRubbish bin
Gas stationPetrol stop
Good idea/good callGood shout
Kleenex (a brand name)Tissue
Pants (work pants, jeans)Male underwear
Pants (suit pants, dress pants)Trousers
Parking lot (for cars)Car park
Pedestrian crosswalkZebra crossing
Popsicle (brand name)Ice slide
Pouring ( as in heavy rainfall, (It is pouring today.)Chucking down
Public transportationPublic transit
Purse (for women)Handbag
Runners/running shoesTrainers
Rubbish (a lie) (I can't believe what you said, that's rubbish.)Garbage
Skanky (sexy in a bad way, sleazy, referring to people)Skanky (old and weathered, not usually referring to people)
Take a bathHave a bath
Take a napHave a nap
Two thirty (2:30, referring to time)Half two (2:30)
Toque (from the French, knitted headwear)Beanie
Trunk (back of the car)Boot
Use the washroomGo to the toilet