Hi there and Happy New year all Emotion: smileI think one of my new year resolutions is to improve my English. I started to last year but it kinda tapered off... lol I am mostly going to be learning from web sites and places like this Emotion: smile I was thinking of maybe buying a book or two. My question: What is the difference between American and British English? My thinking is that they are pretty much the same and that the only difference is spelling and some small rules of punctuation? Is this correct? Can I learn English from an American book or web site and then just find out the differences later? I would like to know both anyway.

Lastly, anybody have any good book recommendations? My English is pretty basic so I would be wanting something that takes me from that up to a good standard with easy to understand text. Thanks in advance.

Best Regards,
Me.

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to ." - Princess Bride.
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I think one of my new year resolutions is to improve my English. I started to last year but it ... pretty much the same and that the only difference is spelling and some small rules of punctuation? Is this correct?

This is the kind of question that youcan ask 100 people and get 200 answers!
Here's my answer: They are essentially the same. It's rare that Americans and Brits fail to understand each other, and when they do, it's usually over one or two words here and there.

If you want to go into detail, there are a number of sources you can go to.
Fort example, I just did a Google search and came up with over 8,000 hits for:
("american english" "british english" differences)
Can I learn English from an American book or web site and then just find out the differences later? I would like to know both anyway.

I'd suggest you start with the one you are more likely to use.
Hi there and Happy New year all Emotion: smile I think one of my new year resolutions is to improve my ... wanting something that takes me from that up to a good standard with easy to understand text. Thanks in advance.

At the basic level, there's not much difference between them. The grammar is much the same, and the spelling and punctuation differences fall mostly into standard patterns (the -or/-our ending being the most obvious). However, at the level of word usage, it's much more difficult. Of course there are the well-known hazardous ambiguities such as 'vest', 'pants' and 'suspenders', 'rubber', 'fanny' etc, and many phrases that are equally comprehensible to both groups will be used more or differently on one side or the other (my favourite is the example mentioned by Stephen Fry in Making History, where a character's use of 'named after' instead of 'named for' marks him out as British).
Very few speakers of either variant can speak fluently in the other. What's more, there isn't really any one version of English on either side of the pond - a Londoner and a Brummie will speak very differently, as will a New Yorker and a Texan.
My (probably bad) advice would be to read texts of both kinds and learn a hybrid language. Then you'll be equipped for both, and you'll probably find yourself automatically adjusting according to which other people you're talking to.
Danny
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Not necessarily. I use "named after" probably as much as "named for" (USA-NY).
Hi there and Happy New year all Emotion: smile I think one of my new year resolutions is to improve my ... wanting something that takes me from that up to a good standard with easy to understand text. Thanks in advance.

I've been in Canada for over 30 years and it is the suffix -ise or -ize that I have found most difficult. From a Canadian dictionary:
Usage: Many English verbs ending in the sound (iz) can be spelled with -ize or -ise. In Canadian usage (and American, I suspect) -ize is preferred for words containg the Greek suffix, such as apologize, civilize, visualize but -ise is usual in differently formed words derived from Old French, such as advertise, exercise and supervise. The spelling -ize is used when forming new words, such as customize, slenderize, etc.
My difficulty stems from the fact that I never studied Greek or Old French, obviously :-)
"Danny Kodicek" (Email Removed) schrieb im Newsbeitrag
Of course there are the well-known hazardous ambiguities such as 'vest', 'pants' and'suspenders', 'rubber', 'fanny' etc, and many phrases that ... Stephen Fry in Making History,where a character's use of 'named after' instead of 'named for' marks him out as British).

I've heard both prepositions used in the United States with 'named.' Sometimes examples of British and American English, I've noticed, don't seem to work. Reading an editorial in a British newspaper these days on, say, the political situation in China or some other country, I'm often struck by words and even entire expressions that English friends 30 years ago said were exclusively American and were not used in the British press. They also used to tell me, for example, no one in Britain would say that a telephone line was 'busy' instead of 'engaged.' But an American acquaintance of mine called a telephone number in London just the other day and got a recording by a woman with a British accent saying the line was 'busy.' What gives?
Very few speakers of either variant can speak fluently in the other.What's more, there isn't really any one version of English on either side ofthe pond - a Londoner and a Brummie will speak very differently, as will aNew Yorker and a Texan.

I don't know how many Americans can imitate British English with any degree of fluency and sustained accuracy, but I've heard English children in London who have grown up watching American films switch to American English for a joke. Listening to them at length, I expected the desk sergeant in NYPD Blue to come out any minute to book a suspect. Perfect!

Regards, WB.
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I think one of my new year resolutions is to ... spelling and some small rules of punctuation? Is this correct?

There are a few grammar and punctuation differences. There are many extreme pronunciation differences. There's a fair number of vocabulary differences, even excluding slang. Vocabulary differences can cause major misunderstandings when the same word or phrase has opposite meanings on opposite sides of the ocean (table (v.); just about).
For written: read mysteries by British authors and by American authors. Recently written ones not Christie and Doyle nor even Sayers; not Queen and Hammett and Poe. Note which nationality the author is not necessarily the setting; some mysteries set in England are written by Americans.
Cece
This is the kind of question that youcan ask 100 ... start with the one you are more likely to use.

There are a few grammar and punctuation differences. There are many extreme pronunciation differences. There's a fair number of vocabulary ... which nationality the author is not necessarily the setting; some mysteries set in England are written by Americans. Cece

I have no trouble reading British, and am familiar with the odd words that don'r match, like lorry and lift, but sometimes when I watch British TV drama and comedy I miss things the accent throws me if they mumble, which some do. I can usually understand mumbling Americans.
Can Britishers understand Gilbert & Sullivan? Much of it, I can't.

Carter Jefferson
http://carterj.homestead.com /
I've been in Canada for over 30 years and it is the suffix -ise or -ize that I have found ... Canadian usage (and American, I suspect) -ize is preferred for words containg the Greek suffix, such as apologize, civilize, visualize

In American English, the spelling in '-ize' is obligatory for these words. As far as I know, the '-ise' spellings are never acceptable south of the border.
but -ise is usual in differently formed words derived from Old French, such as advertise, exercise and supervise.

Er "usual"? These words must be spelled with '-ise' in all varieties of English, and things like *'advertize' and *'surprize' are nowhere acceptable
though they are sometimes produced by Brits trying to use American spelling.
The spelling -ize is used when forming new words, such as customize, slenderize, etc.

That's because the set of words in obligatory '-ise' is closed.
My difficulty stems from the fact that I never studied Greek or Old French, obviously :-)

If you use the '-ise' spelling for the Greek-suffixed words, you will never have to worry, as long as you remember the unique word 'capsize', which has no other spelling. If you choose to follow American norms, you simply have to memorize the list of words in '-ise'. It isn't long.
Larry Trask
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