British vs. American Words – Transportation

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
– Robin Williams

There is a wide array of spelling alternatives between British-English and American English. Whereas Americans use -ze, the Britons change these words to -se. So, instead of analyze it becomes analyse. They may use a different word all together, which makes their version of English colorful and unique. It makes all the more important to be aware of these words, whether you personally know Britons or travel there. Having this lingo down is going to make you fit in seamlessly to the culture. Let’s learn them together! I’ve placed the British-English words in bold and their American versions are in regular text. How many of these do you know?

Aeroplane — Airplane

Articulated lorry — Tractor-trailer 

Boot — Trunk

Breakdown van — Tow truck

Car park — Parking lot

Central reservation — Median strip

Flyover — Overpass

Footway — Sidewalk

Gear lever — Gearshift

Lorry — Truck

Luggage van — Baggage car

Marshalling yard — Railroad yard

Milometer — Odometer

Motorway — Expressway

Number plate — License plate

Pavement — Sidewalk

Pedestrian crossing — Crosswalk

Public transport — Public transportation 

Railway — Railroad

Roundabout — Traffic circle

Rowing boat — Rowboat

Sailing boat — Sailboat

Underground — Subway

Windscreen — Windshield

Zebra crossing — Crosswalk

Notice that many of these words are easy to remember and recognize. Only a few times have they changed the word all together. Still, even when this happens, we are quick to figure out exactly what that word means. All that has really changed is the perspective of which we look at the word. While we call an interstate the expressway due to driving fast, it too makes sense to call it a motorway. 

If you’ve studied British-English, or even Australian-English, then you realize that these versions of English are more alike than different. While they each have their own lingo, they use the same grammatical rules of American English — only they tweak their words here and there. 

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