19 / 05 / 2008


Good morning everybody. I hope you had a relaxing weekend. For the next several days we will review Daily Vitamins sent in February of 2004 about the differences between US and UK English.

Many English students that I have met over the years are too obsessed, in my opinion, with the dialect of English that they are learning. I have heard statements such as, "I want to learn American English because I have friends in New York" or "I want to learn British English since it's the 'correct' English" or even "I only want to learn the English spoken in Cambridge."

Every single language on Earth has different dialects and varieties! The Spanish spoken in Costa Rica, for example, is very different from the Spanish spoken in Madrid; however, they are both Spanish and they are both legitimate and 'correct' varieties to their speakers.

As a student of English, your objective should be to enthusiastically expose yourself to as many different English dialects and accents as possible (England, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand, Jamaica...). Don't be afraid of dialects, welcome them! A true sign of an advanced English student is his or her ability to understand speakers from different dialects or varieties.

In the preface to his book A to Zed, A to Zee: A Guide to the Differences between British and American English (Editorial Stanley, 2000), Glenn Darragh states that the differences between US and British English in "grammar, syntax and spelling are relatively minor. The main differences [...] are [vocabulary] and cultural."

This week we will dedicate the Daily Vitamin to highlighting some of the most important differences between standard US and standard UK English. We hope this will help you appreciate the differences and to see that those differences are very minimal, similar to the differences between, say, Mexican Spanish and Madrid Spanish.

For the next few days we will look at differences in Spelling, Grammar, & Vocabulary in these two varieties.

If you have any questions or comments about today's content, or you have suggestions for the Daily Vitamins about the differences between these varieties, please use the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (

Enjoy your day!