American vs. British

Admittedly, the different standards between American and British dialect used to confuse/go without my notice when I first started writing. I was so used to what I would read in my own books, that any diversions just seemed wrong to me. Only after I started getting involved in online writing communities and communicating with writers from all over the globe, did I realize there were so many different variations and rules.

A lot of them have to do with punctuation. If you’re based in the US, odds are you write using American English. So, double quotes, and commas and periods go inside the quotation marks. If you use British English, you use single quotes, and commas and periods can go either inside or outside depending on your preference. But they agree on all other punctuation, so no need to worry about that. Below I’ve included two examples to help you distinguish between the two styles.

“I’m going to the store,” Alice said. “We need milk and bread.”

‘I love to read fantasy novels’, Jesse exclaimed. ‘They’re my favorite’.

AE and BE also differ in spelling. Several you can learn simply by following the rule er—re and putting a “u” after “o” (e.g. favorite—favourite). There are several words that don’t follow these general rules so, like any other language, those you would need to memorize. Refer to the image below for a more extensive look.

Hopefully this post helps you better understand the differences between AE and BE. The more you read and the more you immerse yourself in various writing styles, the more natural they’ll seem.

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