Teach English in Dongjing Zhen - Shanghai Shi

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British english vs American EnglishThis topic is something that has interested me ever since I arrived at the conclusion that this TEFL course is written in British english. As an American, I found myself a little confused when it came to certain vocabulary, spelling, and tense usages. I thought to myself I never speak like this? and through research of the differences between British and American english, I can see why I struggled a bit. There are seven main differences between British and American english. These are: use of the present perfect, possession, the verb ?get,? prepositions, past simple/past participles, vocabulary, and spelling. Although the differences present here are often easily explained or understood, some things, like differences in vocabulary, are glaringly different between British and American english. These differences can lead to confusion, which is usually easily resolved with a few laughs and some careful re-wording (Beare). The first main difference between British and American english is the use of the present perfect. In American english, use of the word ?have? in the present perfect is not necessary, and is not very common in spoken english. For example, ?I lost my dog? is just as acceptable in American english as ?I?ve lost my dog.? However, in British english, only the latter would be considered correct (Beare). Possession is also something that differs between American and British english. In British english, ?have got? is favored over ?have.? This can be illustrated by the following. In American english, I would naturally say, ?I have three brothers.? However, a native British english speaker would naturally say, ?I have got three brothers.? Neither one is wrong. The way these phrases are spoken is just a matter of preference (Beare). However, TEFL teachers should keep these differences in mind, and take the time to find out if the students they are teaching have been exposed to American or British english. The verb ?get? is a very common verb that differs between American and British english. In American english, we use the past participle ?gotten.? However, in British english, the preferred past participle is ?got? (Beare). For example, in American english, we would say, ?She?s gotten so much bigger!? when referring to a child growing. However, in British english, the preferred form of ?get? would change the sentence to ?She?s got so much bigger!? In American english, this would be considered grammatically incorrect. Prepositions can also differ between American and British english. One of the most common ones I have noticed is one Beare mentions in her article: on the weekend. In American english, we often say ?on the weekend? or ?over the weekend.? In British english, ?at the weekend? is used instead (Beare). This slight difference would not hinder understanding, but is something worth noting to avoid confusion between students educated in British english and students educated in American english. The use of the past simple and some past participles is also different between American and British english. One example I can remember distinctly from this course is ?learnt.? In American english, this is considered incorrect usage, and only ?learned? would be acceptable. However, in British english, ?learnt? is the correct past participle (Beare). Other examples of this discrepancy between past participles are smelt, spelt, or spoilt. Although a native American english speaker will still understand these words and the meaning behind them, they would not be considered correct American english. The main difference between American and British english is spelling and vocabulary. In British english, words ending in ?or are often spelled with a u, such as humor and humour, or color and colour. Often times words ending in ?ize in American english are changed to an ?ise ending in British english. For example, apologize and apologise, or realize and realise (Beare). Some differences in vocabulary also lead to difficulties between American and British english. For example, a biscuit in British english is a cookie in American english. However, in American english, a biscuit is something entirely different from a cookie (The Difference). Mastery of these kinds of differences comes with exposure to both forms of english.