Australian English vs British English vs American English

Posted By Troy Dean on

As you all know, we have Elevators from all over the world with a large percentage from Australia and the US. And while our head office is based in Melbourne, we also have a team based in the Philippines and one of our writers based in the US.

This is where it gets a little complicated- if you hadn’t noticed, we LOVE producing content. However, our team in the Philippines learnt American English at school, our copyrighter from the US uses American English and the rest of us use Australian English.

I often get some of our audience contacting me to point out spelling and grammatical errors which technically aren't really errors, so I thought I would put together a little guide to identify some of the differences.

Spelling

Australia shares the same spelling system with the British whereas the United States has a slightly different spelling system. Here are some examples:

-or VS -our

USA UK/ AUS
color colour
behavior behaviour
humor humour

 

-ize VS -ise and -lyze VS -lise

USA UK/ AUS
realize realise
prioritize prioritise
analyze analyse
organize organise

-ter VS -tre

USA UK/ AUS
theater theatre
meter metre
center centre

-ll VS -l

This one is a little tricky as there some exceptions such as install and compel, which are spelt the same in British and American English. But some examples of differences are:

USA UK/ AUS
fulfill fulfil
enroll enrol
installment instalment

-led + -ling VS -lled + -lling

Ok just to make this more confusing… for the following words, American English uses one “l” and British English uses two “l”’s.

USA UK/ AUS
traveled travelled
traveling travelling
labeled labelled
labeling labelling
modeled modelled
modeling modelling

Vocabulary

As Australian English is based on British English, most of the vocabulary is the same - with a few exceptions such as candy (US), sweets (UK), and lollies (AUS). Oh and a very important one to note is that in Australia we wear thongs on our feet and when we say that we aren't talking about skimpy underwear - we are talking about rubber shoes or "flip-flops"!

Here are some other examples of differences in vocabulary:

USA UK/ AUS
apartment flat
college university
vacation holiday
sweater jumper
drugstore chemist/ pharmacy
cookie biscuit

Aussie Slang

Another thing you may have noticed is that Australians LOVE slang! We pretty much abbreviate everything. Sometimes you may even think that Australians are speaking another language! Here are just a few examples:

Sanga = Sandwich
Breaky = Breakfast
Sunnies = Sunglasses
Arvo = Afternoon

If you want the full Aussie slang guide, check out this hilarious YouTube clip:

Grammar

There are only a few small differences between American, Australian and British English in terms of grammar. Some examples are:

USA UK/ AU
I learned I learnt
I spelled I spelt
I had forgotten I forgot
Monday through Friday Monday to Friday

Thanks for the English Lesson but Why Are You Telling Me This?

The main point I want to make is that we have decided that moving forward all of our content will be written in Australian English because we are an Australian company. (Also, I don’t want you to think that we are terrible spellers!)

I hope this clears this up for you all and that you learnt a lot from this post. (See what I did there?)

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