Jan 18th 2011

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Grammar Check: American versus British English

When performing an online grammar check, it is important to note if the language you are using is American or British English. Believe it or not, there is a subtle but significant difference between them.
According to Wikipedia, “Received Pronunciation (RP), also called the Queen’s (or King’s) English, Oxford English, or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms.”
Wikipedia defines American English as “a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States,” and notes that around two-thirds of the people in the world that speak English as native language live in the United States – making the American dialect the more common of the two.
As a former British colony, the United States inherited English in the same way that Latin America inherited Spanish and Portuguese. However, over the years, American and British English have diverged in accent, spelling and vocabulary. A student of one will likely understand the other without too much additional effort, but should be aware of the differences that exist in literature, slang, pronunciation, letter writing and so on.
In the United States, students are generally taught American English, with little or no reference to the English spoken in the United Kingdom. Students of English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as native-speaking high school students in English class, may have only minimal knowledge of the differences between the two dialects.
English students in the US are taught the language using a variety of tools, including listening exercises, speaking and interviewing techniques and English games. One such game is called a “spelling bee.” Also used to teach grade school children how to spell, spelling bees are contests in which participants compete over who can spell the greatest number of words correctly. As the English language is full of exceptions, and spelling is often not done phonetically, learning how to spell correctly is a key part of growing comfortable with the language for non-native speakers.
Even for native speakers, the differences between American and British English can be a source of amusement. Anyone who has ever witnessed a social encounter between Americans and Brits has probably seen first hand how humorous it can be for them to compare words, especially slang words, and phrases across the cultural divide. However, English students can take comfort in the fact that the differences between the two are not really that great.

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21 Responses to “Grammar Check: American versus British English”

  1. Daisy on May 3rd, 2011

    Hello. I found this software is easy to use and assist me every time I stuck in grammar or spelling.But I would like to know how this software can identify British English or American English? For me,I prefer writing in British English as I learned from primary and secondary school. I say this because I am still confused to comprehend the usage of (EXAMPLE): “favourite (British)” and “favorite (American)” -from what this software suggested for my writing correction. Thank You. Hope to hear the answer asap.

    Reply
    • KeNji on August 12th, 2012

      Grammar is the basis for us to get through, the parauomnt thing to build up sentences. Our conversations would be pointless without it. We might speak like the Indians but if we donb4t want a native english speaker to look us with a straight face while web4re speaking and unless somebody invent some magic pills to learn lenguages automatically, sorry guys, there is no other way.P.S.: I want that beer, but with lemon please, you know, hahaha!

      Reply
  2. Daisy on May 5th, 2011

    Hi again.Pls explain why grammar checking is very confusing? Attached is the source text and the correction from Ginger Software.
    ……………
    SOURCE TEXT:
    The Evolving English Exhibition is supported by a wide range of events and activities. The learning programme for schools and colleges is proving to be particularly popular. Julian Walker is one of the workshop leaders, and author of the book Evolving English Explored (available from the British Library Online Shop). I copy here part of his report on how things have been progressing.

    From Ginger:
    The Evolving English Exhibition is supported by a wide range of events and activities. The teaching programs for schools and colleges are proving to be particularly popular. Julian Walker is one of the workshop leaders, and author of the book Evolving English Explored (available from the British Library Online Shop). I copy her part of his report on how things have been progressing.

    Reply
    • Cindy on August 4th, 2011

      Please keep thrionwg these posts up they help tons.

      Reply
    • Datherine on August 5th, 2011

      Now I’m like, well duh! Truly tahfnkul for your help.

      Reply
  3. sharong on May 5th, 2011

    Hi Daisy,

    To simplify the answer:
    UK and US English use different dictionaries. Ginger comes with two dictionaries that the user can choose from. Once you define your dictionary it will use that one only and check your text against it.

    With regards to grammar -
    Ginger identifies and corrects very sophisticated grammar errors such as tense confusions, wrong/missing prepositions and many many more. There are a few things that are not supported *yet* and a few hiccups here and there. Its accuracy is very good and far greater than the accuracy level of common tools. Keep using it, you’ll see very quickly how well it performs.

    Cheers
    Sharon & the Ginger team

    Reply
  4. google on August 28th, 2011

    I liked your article is an interesting technology
    thanks to google I found you

    Reply
  5. Coral on September 1st, 2011

    Would as a Canadian user I be better off with the British dictionary or the US? I know that here in Canada we spell “colour” but I don’t know which our grammar is closer too.

    I have very little ability to tell for myself. I can not read very well what is on the page and basicly have everything I can read to me.

    Reply
    • Coral on September 6th, 2011

      Thanks very much! Everyone always forgets that North America has more then 1 English speaking courty. :)

      Reply
  6. Reynolds on February 9th, 2012

    Unless you define the dictionary you are using with this software, you won’t get my business. I need to know which American or British dictionary is your standard.

    And FYI, Canadians use either the Gage Canadian Dictionary or the Oxford Canadian Dictionary. The difference between Canadian and British English can be seen in the word ‘analyze’. Canucks spell it with a Z while Brits spell it with an S as in ‘analyse’.

    Reply
    • paulc on February 19th, 2012

      Hi Reynolds,

      Ginger comes with two dictionaries that the user can choose from. Once you define your dictionary it will use that one only and check your text against it.

      Paul and the The Ginger Team

      Reply
  7. pardeep on June 4th, 2012

    very very thanks and i like it

    Reply
  8. David Henry on July 12th, 2012

    Paul,
    Reynolds is asking WHICH dictionary BOOK is your standard e.g Webster’s, Oxford, etc. I am sure he understands there are two Ginger dictionaries to choose from.

    Reply
  9. Payton on August 5th, 2012

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    Reply
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  11. beer pong on September 14th, 2012

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  12. Richard on October 16th, 2012

    Sorry, but I beg to disagree. There is a large difference between British English and American English. It is frustrating to constantly click “ignore” when spell checking. Is there a way to add U.K. English words to the American dictionary? Please create a dictionary for U.K. English? The rest of the World uses it ;-)

    Reply
    • Efratk on October 16th, 2012

      Hi Richard!
      You can choose either a US or UK dictionary when using Ginger:
      It is located under the “Settings” part in “general settings” in the F2 box, and click on the relevant dictionary.

      Best,
      The Ginger Team

      Reply
  13. Bets on August 21st, 2013

    Hi, just wondering if you plan on adding a Canadian English option in the future? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Adam Ehrlich on October 13th, 2013

      No plans for Canadian English in the near future.

      Reply

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