English Language

There is an enormous, and growing, gap between English and American.

Three hundred years ago or so English and American were the same, in that period of time, though, they have developed separately and are very different languages now.

This is a rough guide to the differences and what is right or wrong. It is written from my perspective as an Englishman, I know the Scots, for example, seem to have their own version of English.


The correct English spelling is “adviser”. Americans seem to use “advisor” and, sadly, so does the BBC which should be a bastion of English spelling and pronunciation.


Bring and Take

In English we bring things here and take them there. In American it seems you bring things everywhere. Make sure you distinguish between them, or you will cause confusion.



In English a container for water, often rainwater.

Americans seem to use theirs for sitting on - in English you sit on your bum or bottom or backside.


Either /Neither

The “i” is not silent, it affects pronunciation. It is not “ether” or “nether” but rhymes with “eider” as in “eiderdown”.


For Free

“For free” doesn’t make any sense at all. It should be “for nothing” or ”free of charge” or just “free”.



Used in American where in English “got” would be used.

Apart from “ill gotten gains” should never be used in English.

My spell checker doesn’t even recognise it.


I’m Loving It

One of the more moronic expressions we seem to use. I doubt you’re “loving it”, in fact depending what “it” is loving “it” may be illegal. You probably mean “I love it”.


Off Of

Please get the book off of the table. No, no a thousand times no. Please get the book off the table is correct.



Used frequently in American but much less frequently in English.

Its usage in English is usually limited to the legal profession so you won’t go far wrong if you never use it, “proved” will usually be correct.



The “ch” is there for a reason - Americans may say “skedule” but in English it’s “shedule”, another word the BBC gets wrong frequently.


Talk with

In English we talk with a Yorkshire (or Oxfordshire or Surrey etc. etc.) accent and talk to people.

In American they usually talk with people although occasionally they talk to people. I asked an American once how they distinguished between the two and he didn’t know.



When a noun begins with a vowel the preceding definite article “the” is pronounced “thee” i.e. with a long “e” e.g. “thee aple” or “thee orange”.

In the same way it’s “an apple” or “an orange” not “a apple” or “a orange”.

Even well known commentators get this wrong, a sign of astonishing illiteracy.


Would Have

As in “I wish he would have told me”. Wow. “I wish he had told me” is correct.


“I wish that I never would have met him so that none of this ever would have happened. He was a very frightening man.” And that’s a terrifying mess of English - “I wish that I had never met him” is correct.


Would Have (2)

Contracting “would have” to would’ve was fine, until some people expanded it to “would of”. It’s not “would of” folks, that doesn’t make any sense at all, it’s “would have”.