English was first introduced to America through British colonization in the 17th century. There is an old saying that America and Britain are “two nations divided by a common language”. Although British and American English differ in some ways, they are mostly similar and are, therefore, generally mutually intelligible.
To begin, there are several differences between American English and British English. The most basic difference probably lies in vocabulary. The same words may have completely different meanings in the two forms of English. For example, “athlete” in British English refers to someone who competes in running, jumping and throwing; whereas in American English, “athlete” is someone who participates in all sports competitions. There are also numerous words that are not used very often in British English but are commonly used in American English, and vice versa.
For instance, Americans use elevators while British use lifts; Americans go on vacations, whereas British go on holidays. And some other words that are widely used in America but seldom used in Britain are garbage, apartment and counter-clockwise. Another noticeable difference is spelling. There are hundreds of words that are spelt differently in American and British English. In simple terms, British English keeps the spelling of words it has absorbed from other languages; however, American English spellings are based mostly on how the word sounds when it is spoken. In addition, some minor differences in grammar also occur between American and British English.
First, there are some differences with the past tense of particular verbs. Americans tend to use the -ed ending, whereas British prefer to use the -t ending. Second, there are a few differences with collective nouns. In American English, collective nouns are always singular, which refers to a group as a whole unity. However, in British English, collective nouns can be singular or plural, but more tends toward plural.
Another grammatical difference relates to auxiliary verbs.