Differences between British English and American English

English is the second most spoken language in the world, second only to Mandarin, a language used in China, a country that stands out for its large population. It is worth mentioning, however, that the English language leads the ranking of the first most spoken second language worldwide.

With all the growth of this language across the planet, more people have access to it every day and want to know more about its specificities. Here we will highlight some basic differences, which can cause major problems, between British English and American English.

British English: University
American English: College

Portuguese: University

Students and professor at College / University
Students and professor at College / University


British English: Underground
American English: Subway

Portuguese: Subway

Underground / subway in London
Underground / subway in London


British English: Mobile Phone
American English: Cell Phone

Portuguese: Mobile

I love my mobile phone / cell phone
I love my mobile phone / cell phone


British English: Cinema
American English: Movie Theater

Portuguese: Cinema

People watching movie on the Cinema / Movie Theater
People watching movie on the Cinema / Movie Theater


British English: Autumn
American English: Fall

Portuguese: Autumn

Autumn / Fall in Paris is beautiful!
Autumn / Fall in Paris is beautiful!


British English: Chips
American English: French Fries

Portuguese: French fries

French Fries!  I love it!
Let’s eat chips / French Fries! I love it!

See other examples:

British English: Holiday
American English: Vacation

Portuguese: Holiday

British English: Fortnight
American English: Two weeks
Portuguese: Two weeks

Don’t stop now … There’s more after the publicity;)

British English: Ground Floor
American English: First floor
Portuguese: Ground Floor

British English: Trainers
American English: Sneakers
Portuguese: Tennis

British English: Pants
American English: Under pants
Portuguese: Cueca

British English: Trousers
American English: Pants
Portuguese: Pants

British English: Crisps
American English: Portuguese Chips
: Snacks

British English: Biscuits
American English: Cookies
Portuguese: Biscuits

British English: Sweets
American English: Candy
Portuguese: Candies

British English: Car park
American English: Parking lot
Portuguese: Parking

British English: Queue
American English: Line
Portuguese: Fila

British English: Taxi
American English: Cab
Portuguese: Taxi

British English: Rubbish
American English: Trash
Portuguese: Trash

British English: Pavement
American English: Sidewalk
Portuguese: Sidewalk

British English: Petrol
American English: Gas
Portuguese: Gasoline

British English: Motorway
American English: Highway
Portuguese: Highway

British English: Railway
American English: Railroad
Portuguese: Ferrovia

British English: Airplane
American English: Airplane
Portuguese: Airplane

British English: Lorry
American English: Truck
Portuguese: Truck

British English: Lift
American English: Elevator
Portuguese: Elevator

British English: postcode
American English: zipcode
Portuguese: CEP

British English: Headteacher / Headmaster
American English: Main Portuguese: School principal

British English: Fridge
American English: Refrigerator
Portuguese: Refrigerator

British English: Center
American English: Downtown
Portuguese: Downtown

British English: Post
American English: Mail
Portuguese: Mail

British English: Shop
American English: Store
Portuguese: Store

British English: Lift
American English: Ride
Portuguese: Carona

British English: Bank holiday
American English: National holiday Portuguese: National holiday

British English: Driving license
American English: Driver’s license Portuguese: Driver’s license

British English: To let
American English: To rent
Portuguese: Rent

British English: Sweet corn, maize
American English: Corn
Portuguese: Corn

British English: Crazy
American English: Mad
Portuguese: Crazy

British English: Torch
American English: Flashlight
Portuguese: Flashlight

British English: Waistcoat
American English: Vest

by Abdullah Sam
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