Ways you didn’t know US English and British English differed

Ways you didn’t know US English and British English differed

Everyone knows about the differences in British and American English like the spelling of “color” versus “colour”, and the differences between word choices like “closet” versus “wardrobe” even where both the words exist in both languages.

But less appreciated are the pronunciation differences of individual words. I thought it would be fun (nerdy fun) to look at the differences phonetically between English English and American English pronunciations, at least in northern New England:


In the UK this is pronounced “chooner” whereas in the USA this is pronounced “tuner”. This also happens in Tuesday (“choose-day”).

Dual / duel

In the UK these words are both pronounced “jew-all” whereas in the USA they are both pronounced “doo-al”. This extends to similar words like “dew” which is pronounced “djew” in England.

Weirdly, there is an example where the British pronounce the ‘d’ in the word like a ‘j’, but then go on to pronounce the rest of the word ‘properly’ according to the spelling, while the American starts out using the ‘proper’ pronunciation for the first letter, and then veers off into pronouncing the end weirdly: Duty.

Americans say “doo-dy” pronouncing the first syllable properly, but then pronouncing the ‘t’ as a ‘d’. English people say “joo-ty’, pronouncing the ‘d’ as a ‘j’, but then pronouncing the ‘t’ properly.

Of course the times when ‘duty’ come up are different too. An American does jury duty (which could presumably be spelled ‘jury juty” in England) while a Brit does “jury service”. Duty implies you do it despite your personal preferences, whereas service suggests that it is something you do for your fellow man.

Oh, and Britain does not have jury selection, either, which means that the jury is more likely “of your peers”, is less likely to be racially biased, and means you are much more likely to serve on a jury if you are called up.

Do you know of any other counter-alphabetical pronunciation differences? Garage doesn’t count! Share them in the comments.

Note: I have used England, UK, Britain, etc. at different points in this post. As an Englishman I cannot be sure about Scottish pronunciations, for example, so I have differentiated. But UK is not the same as England! Read more about the differences here.

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