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  1. #1
    Ziggy Zag is offline Newbie
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    Default British and American grammar

    What are all these alleged differences I keep hearing people say exist between American and British grammar?? I've kind of racked my brain here and I've come up with nothing. I've been reading British books, watching Britcoms, etc. since I was a little kid and I still haven't spotted any places where the grammatically correct thing to do in the American dialect is gramatically incorrect in England or vice versa. Some possibilities provided by universal English grammar are more commonly used in one place as opposed to another--for instance, an American will begin a question with, "Do you have..." whereas a Brit will say, "Have you got..."--but these difference are cosmetic or idiosyncratic and never seem to involve the breaking of any rules in either region. Or Brits will more often use contractions with literal possessives ("I've no idea!") but again, no rule against that here in US of A. So what are these different rules of grammar, and why have I never noticed any through, say, ninety thousand replays of every episode of "Fawlty Towers"?

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: British and American grammar

    Welcome to the forum, Ziggy.

    Google American and British English differences and you'll find links to many articles on the subject.

    Rover

  3. #3
    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    To my knowledge there are very few differences in grammar. The differences are in spelling and vocabulary.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: not a teacher

    In BrE for example, it is perfectly correct to say the window needs cleaning, but most AmE speakers think this is non-standard. There are many things like this, but as we're basically speaking the same language, the grammatical differences tend to be small.

  5. #5
    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    In BrE for example, it is perfectly correct to say the window needs cleaning, but most AmE speakers think this is non-standard. There are many things like this, but as we're basically speaking the same language, the grammatical differences tend to be small.
    "The window needs to be cleaned."

  6. #6
    Ziggy Zag is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: British and American grammar

    I am an American and I see nothing wrong about, "The window needs cleaning." It's maybe not the most commonly heard sentence but it's perfectly grammatically correct here: definite article + noun + predicate. In fact, it's a construction you'll hear a lot around here: "That guy needs serious psychological help!" The verb, so far as I can see, isn't dangling either. Really, what's un-American, or locally grammatically incorrect, about the statement?

  7. #7
    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    It isn't "wrong". It's just not what you'd normally hear people say. Like using "I've" as a literal possessive, as noted above. Correct, but not common use here.

  8. #8
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    Hedwig is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: British and American grammar

    One difference that may be considered a 'grammatical' difference is maybe the treatment of collective nouns as plural in BrE or singular in AmE.

    I agree, though, that the differences between Br and AmE are not that marked. Actually, I'm not sure you can even call them different dialects. I prefer different varieties of English.

    = Neither a teacher, nor a native speaker =

  9. #9
    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    Does anyone call them different dialects? I'd think the word "dialect" implies greater differences in grammar and mutual comprehension than anything that exists between British and American. I say "have a try" or simply "try" instead of "have a go", I say "shut up" instead of "shut it", but if I read someone in a Harry Potter book use the second option I have no trouble understanding.

  10. #10
    engr.yasir ali bhatti is offline Banned
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    Default Re: British and American grammar

    Not like as much.I like British accent.

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