1. Grammar and Spelling
Section One – Grammar and Spelling
1. Gender: There is no gender distinction for nouns/adjectives.
2. Articles: The indefinite article is “A” and the definite article is “The”.
3. Accents: Accents do not appear in American English.
4. Plural: The plural form can be recognised by the addition of “s” or “es”.
Section Two – Punctuation
1. Speech marks: The norm in American (and British) English is to use the curly speech marks, i.e. “ and ”.
1. “Give me more work!”, shouted Chloe.
2. Apostrophe: Apostrophes are used either to show possession, or where a word has been contracted, i.e. cannot => can’t.
3. Brackets: Brackets are used to give explanation for the proceeding phrase. Usually the first word is not capitalized, but punctuation is the same as it is outside brackets.
4. Capitalisation: Capitalisation is used similarly to the way in which it is used in British English. Thus, names of days/seasons/months should all be capitalised, along with the initial letter when beginning a sentence.
Section Three – Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurements: Imperial, except for weight (i.e. pounds not stone; hands not used for length).
Time: 10:30 AM, 12 noon or 12 PM, 12 midnight or 12 AM. No military time is used except in certain sectors like the military and manufacturing (especially when they run 3 shifts around the clock).
Date: the format is as follows:
A decimal point is used in American English. A comma is used to separate thousands, in numbers with four digits or more.
There is usually no space between a figure and a percentage sign (%). It is more common not to have a space before the °C sign, but both are acceptable.
Currency: different quantities of US dollars would be written as follows:
N/a = same
Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter (not normally abbreviated in English) = same, but Fall may be used instead of Autumn.
One common abbreviation which may look odd to non-native speakers would be #. This is called the pound sign and depending on where it is used in the document it means different things.
In a Press Release it means the end—usually you will see ### With a number in front it means weight as in 70# paper It is also used to denote abbreviation for number.
Section Four – Hyphenation
Hyphens are used to link two words together, as in “life-giving”. They are also used when words are split over lines – they are split according to syllables.
Some prefixes which are joined to words with a hyphen exist in American English, i.e. re-organize.
Both short ‘N’ dashes (–), and longer ‘M’ dashes (—) are used.
Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities
The word ‘turnover’ does not mean revenue in the US, it actually means number of people in and out of jobs at the company. Therefore it usually has a negative connotation.
The spellings of certain words differ between American English and British English:
· color (US) vs. colour, catalog (US) vs. catalogue - basically take out the u!
· use z when British English would use an s. i.e. localize
· center (US) vs. centre, meter (US) vs. metre (length measurement)
Section Six – Geographic Distribution
English (US) is spoken/used in the following countries:
Antarctica, Antigua, Aruba (Dutch), Ascension Island, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize (British Honduras), Diego Garcia (U.K. & U.S.), Dominica, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Gaza Strip, Grand Caymans (U.K.), Grenada, Guam (U.S.), Guyana, Hawaii (U.S. State), Israel, Jamaica, Javis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kiribati (Republic of), Liberia, Micronesia, Midway Islands, Nauru, Nevis, Nikumaroro (Gardener Island), Niue (New Zealand), Northern Mariana Islands (U.S.), Palau (Republic of), Philippines, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Solomon Islands, St. Kitts (& Nevis) Independent, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, United States of America, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Wake Island, West Bank, Western Samoa, Zaire.
Source: http://www.worldlanguage.com/Languages/English - Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.
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