Differences in British and American Grammar

All eyes are on London this week, as the 2012 summer Olympics continue. If you’ve been watching and listening as much as I have, you may find yourself calling cookies “biscuits” and “snogging” with your husband instead of kissing him.

Even though the Brits and Americans share the same language, there are some differences in how we speak and write.

Spelling differences– My six year old son went to theater camp last month. When I took his picture next to the sign on the first day, it said “Theatre.” I thought I was spelling it wrong, but when I looked it up on dictionary.com, it told me “theatre” is the British spelling. When in doubt, check a dictionary to make sure you’re spelling it the same way most of your audience is spelling it.

Punctuation differences– The difference I notice most often is where periods and commas go when using quotation marks. In American grammar, periods and commas go inside and colons and semicolons go outside. ¬†In British grammar, they all go outside. Pay attention to where you’re putting your¬†punctuation, because Word won’t tell you it’s wrong.

Feel free to say something is “brilliant!” if it truly is, but if you’re writing for an American audience, you should follow American rules!

Have you noticed any other differences in British and American grammar?