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British vs American: lexical differences

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A black wall with different colourful English words written on it.

Hey! Would you like to watch a film or a movie? And what is the difference between those words? If you do not know, you are in the right place then. 

In fact, "film" and "movie" mean the same thing but are used in different English-speaking countries ("film" is used in the UK, while "movie" is used in the USA). And today we are talking about lexical differences between British and American English. A lexical difference is when for one meaning there are two different words. These are not the unique differences between these two variants of English, there are other (phonetic, spelling, grammatical differences), but let us concentrate on words that have the same meaning but are used in the UK or the USA. 

In general, there are a lot of such words but we have found the most common ones and have classified them into five categories. Go through these tables and learn them! Note down that in order to be understood, you should not learn all these words by heart. Anyway, it is important to know the difference between them to perform a better dialogue.


1) Transport and traveling 

British

American
petrol

gas

gasoline

underground

 tube

subway

pavement

sidewalk

cab

taxi

lift

elevator

railway

railroad

motorway

highway

flyover

overpass

engine

motor

crossroads

intersection

holiday

vacation

2) Apartment 

British

American

flat

apartment

ground floor

first floor

first floor

second floor

 (public) toilet

 (public) lavatory

restroom

block of flats 

apartment building

wardrobe 

closet

3) Food and cooking

British

American

biscuit

cookie

sweet

candy

french fries

chips

french fries

jacket potato

baked potato

aubergine

eggplant

maize

corn

tin

can

cutlery

silverware

cooker

stove

4) Weather and environment 

British

American

autumn

fall

garden

yard
rubbish

garbage

trash

rubbish bin

litter bin

garbage can

trash can

5) Hobbies and sports

British

American

soccer

football

trainers

sneakers

film

movie

cinema

movie theater 

So, we hope that this article was useful for you and you have learned something new! And remember that you can always practice any of these words in Koddy App!

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Polina Kovalenko
Polina Kovalenko
Do you know any other lexical differences between American and British English?

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