People sometimes ask me what the difference between British English and American English is?
There are many differences but remember that these are small and unimportant. After all, English is English. British and American have much more in common than they have that separates them.
The biggest differences occur at the colloquial level. In formal and academic writing the two varieties are almost indistinguishable.
Let’s look at the aspects. The biggest differences are in:
1. Vocabulary – torch (UK) vs flashlight (US)
2. Phonology – the rhotic r, e.g.
The smallest differences are in:
3. Grammar and Style, e.g the use of shall
4. Spelling and Punctuation – ‘ize’
In some ways British is more traditional, in other ways American English uses some grammar, vocabulary and sounds which British people would have used 400 years ago.
There is also a fifth dimension encompassing sociolinguistic usage and that is observable in the trait of British speakers to use indirect (including polite) forms and a heavier emphasis on rhetorical tropes notably irony and sarcasm, as well as a tendency to use more fancy, polysyllabic vocabulary. This can have the effect of certain British speakers enjoying a prestige or pompous quality when speaking among Americans. On the other side of the coin, Americans can appear pithy and down to earth when speaking among Brits. These differences are fairly subtle and hardly recognisable to someone unfamiliar with transatlantic cultural nuances.