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 wordsCanadians 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 Words||British Words|
|Apartment building/High rise||Block of flats|
|Biscuit (unsweetened bun)||Scone
|Cell phone/Cell||Mobile phone/Mobile|
|Chips (potato chips)||Crisps|
|Counter clockwise||Anti clockwise|
|Eh! (meaning "right" and also "don't you agree?")||Righto|
|Garbage can||Rubbish bin|
|Gas station||Petrol stop|
|Good idea/good call||Good 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 crosswalk||Zebra crossing|
|Popsicle (brand name)||Ice slide|
|Pouring ( as in heavy rainfall, (It is pouring today.)||Chucking down|
|Public transportation||Public transit|
|Purse (for women)||Handbag|
|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 bath||Have a bath|
|Take a nap||Have 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 washroom||Go to the toilet|