British & American Academic English


Differences between UK and US English in EAP

How British is your Academic English?

A test of where your Academic English comes from

Without looking at the list below, listen to your teacher define some words and expressions in English and write the form that you would most often use (one only). If there’s anything you have no idea about, leave it blank until you can hear the options at the second stage.

Listen to your teacher define the words again, this time with options to choose from. Choose one option each time (changing what you wrote before if it isn’t one of the options). If you’ve never used any of the options, just choose the one that you like the sound of.

Compare your answers with your partner. Who do you think has more British English?

Compare with the list under the fold below. British expressions are in bold.

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British and American academic English vocabulary

  • An informal way of talking about university – uni/ school
  • The periods that academic years are divided up into – semester/ term
  • Much less important and/ or much shorter than an exam – quiz/ test
  • A first-year student at university – fresher/ freshman
  • A student in the year after that – second year student/ sophomore
  • Looking at something again to make sure you remember it – review/ revise
  • A symbol that means you got the answer right, the opposite of a cross – tick/ check/ check mark
  • A question about what you studied at university – What was your major?/ What did you study at university?
  • One day when almost no one works, e.g. as part of a long weekend – bank holiday/ holiday/ legal holiday
  • A longer period with no work, e.g. Xmas – holiday/ vacation
  • The first school you go to, after kindergarten – primary school/ Elementary school
  • The opposite of a private school – public school/ state school
  • The time between lessons – recess/ break
  • The document telling you when your classes are – schedule/ timetable
  • Accommodation for students – halls/ student halls/ dorm/ dormitory

Do the same with the spelling and punctuation examples on the next page.

British and American academic English spelling

The noun of behave – behavior/ behaviour

A colour booklet listing things you can buy that is thicker than a pamphlet, e.g. one from IKEA – catalog/ catalogue

A book or CD ROM that has factual entries on almost everything, e.g. Britannica and Encarta – encyclopaedia/ encyclopedia

The place where you watch a play, e.g. Romeo and Juliet – theatre/ theater

One hundredth of a metre – centimeter/ centimetre

The past forms of “model” and “label” – modelled/ modeled, labelled/ labeled

The noun of “enrol” – enrolment/ enrollment

A colour between black and white – gray/ grey

A word meaning manual work that is also the name of the main centre-left party in the UK – labour/ labor

The person who lives in the house next to yours – neighbour/ neighbor


British and American academic English punctuation

The short forms of “mister”, “misses” and “doctor” – Mr Mrs Dr/ Mr. Mrs. Dr.

The punctuation mark used at the end of a statement – full stop/ period

Curved punctuation marks used to enclose information that is not part of the main argument of the sentence, such as examples – parentheses/ brackets

This sentence with the correct punctuation - Bananas apples and pears – Bananas, apples and pears/ Bananas, apples, and pears

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Lesson plans & worksheets can be used by teachers without any fee in the classroom; however, please ensure you keep all copyright information and references to in place.

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