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British english vs American EnglishWhere do you begin with this discussion? I would like to begin with the Noah Webster (1758-1843). A Yale graduate that wanted to be a lawyer. Unfortunately his family was not rich enough to send him to law school. So to earn a living he had to teach school. I think it was the correct career move. Mr. Webster hated the education conditions of the time. Schools were overcrowded, no desks, poor books and teachers lacked proper training. I guess some things havent changed much. And the books came from England. Mr. Webster felt that Americans should not speak and spell just like the english. But he had a good argument for that. Americans were scattered all over the New World and in different parts of America words were spelled(spelt), pronounced and used differently. He felt all Americans should speak the same way and that a word should be spelled(spelt) the same always. Unlike other Americans at the time, Benjamin Franklin stated, he had no use for a man with but one spelling for a word. It took Mr. Webster twenty years to complete his dictionary and though his royalty was only 1 cent for each copy the infamous blue book because of its blue colored binding reached more than a million copies a year. So, colour became color, musick became music, theatre turned into theater, defence was changed to defense, zed lost its d to become zee and so on. And spelling wasnt the only changes that happened. Punctuation was revised also. Brackets in America were now called parentheses. Quotation marks are what surrounds a direct quote in America, in Britain they are inverted commas. In American english commas and periods appear inside quotes, but in British english they are commonly put outside the quote. i.e. He said, Get my bag. AE style. He said, Get my bag. BE style. Oh, so subtle. But what if you are an American, like me, teaching english in a country that was a British Colony for 150 years, like Hong Kong, can become confusing at times. For me, at times British english is like learning a foreign language. Everyone that came before me in Hong Kong has learned(learnt) to speak and spell BE style. Look out, is mind your head, watch where you are stepping is mind your step. The remainders of a meal are not to go or put it in a doggy bag, make it take away, please. One of my favorite english words is juxtaposition. I may be able to count on one hand the number of times I saw or stated this word in my lifetime until I came to Hong Kong. It is in the newspaper almost everyday and my British friends use it on Facebook. I could not use this word in a sentence around family and friends in America. For the few that would recognize(recognise) it as the correct term to use, they would be asking themselves, why didnt he just say those squirrels were sitting side by side on that tree limb instead of saying they were juxtaposed on that branch in the tree? And they are right, I would have said sitting side by side. In Hong Kong, I dont take out the trash, I remove the rubbish. And the rubbish doesnt go in a trash can you put it in a rubbish bin. But Hong Kongers are great at understanding both versions, most of the time. I think that they prefer the english style because that is what they were taught in school. And as far as civilizations(civilisations) go, America is still in its infancy and we should follow the lead of a system that seems to work. One more item of interest. As a product of the American school system during the last half of the 20th Century, I was constantly reminded that aint is not a word, reckon is only used by people that live in the Appalachia Mountains, and please, no offense(offence) is intended, had gotten or have gotten were used by uneducated southerners. And I find that all of these words and terms are quite acceptable in the British english world. At times I hesitate to use them as that little voice in my head sounds like my grammar school teacher reminding me to use American english, but I do welcome the change.