English Comparison Spreadsheet

Level: Advanced

What you get

An Excel spreadsheet comparing US, Canadian, and UK English in terms of pronunciation, word choice, and date-time conventions. The spreadsheet contains over 6,400 meaningful entries with no repetition. Scroll down for a free sample.

Sources: Dr Jonathan has accumulated this spreadsheet over the years, as he has encountered non-US English.

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Free sample

Pronunciation

US UK Canada Last Updated
no "aa-ae split:" ae sound when 'a' is followed by f, th, n[consonant], or s: advanced ("aed-vaensd" or "aed-vaenst"), after[noon] ("aef-ter-noon"), etc.; ex: words including "ample" have an ae sound ("saem-pal;" ample, example, sample, trample, etc.) 'aa-ae split': aa sound when 'a' is followed by f, th, n[consonant], or s sounds: advanced ('aed-vaanced'), after[noon], alas, Alexander ('Ae-leks-aan-da'), answer, ask, a[u]nt, banana ('ba-naa-na'), bask[et], bath, blast, branch, brass, calf, can't, cask[et], cast(e), castle, chaff, chance, class, command[er], contrast, craft, daft, dance, disaster, draft/draught, falcon, fast, France, giraffe, glance, glass, graft, grant, half, last, lather, laugh, mask, mast[er], pass, past, path, photograph, plant, plaza, raft, rascal, rather, shaft, staff, task, telegraph, transactions ('traans-aek-shans'), transfer, vast, wrath, etc.; exceptions with a pattern: words including 'sample' have an aa sound but words with just 'ample' have an ae sound ('saam-pal': example, sample, etc.; 'aem-pal': ample, trample, etc.); aa sound in words with a fancy -sh sounding ending (moustache), but ae sound in words ending in -sh (cash, flash, stash); words beginning with 'fan' are 'faen-' (fantastic, fantasy); unusual exceptions: as ('aez'), cancel ('kaen-sal'), cancer ('kaen-sa'), hand ('haend'), harass ('hae-ras' or 'ha-raes'), pants ('paents'), tomato ('tO-maa-tO'), [under]stand ('[an-da-]staend') US 2018-09-07
aa sound for the o in a lot ("a-laat"), cot ("kaat"), God ("Gaad") aw sound for the o in a lot ('a-lawt'), cot ('kawt', same as 'caught'), God ('Gawd') 2018-07-25
ai and au/ou are not raised, starting low in the mouth/throat (the 'ou' in "around" and "about" are the same); ex: people in the US states near Canada (e.g., Michigan) sometimes do it the Canadian way ai and au/ou are raised before voiceless consonants, starting higher in the mouth/throat ('around' is like the US; 'about' is a little raised, almost like 'a boot'; other raised words: bike, out, house) 2018-07-25

Word choice & spelling: Those following a pattern

US UK Canada Last Updated
bare infinitive, often as a compound word (driver's license, jump rope, racecar, real-time, rowboat, sailboat, scrub brush, spark plug) gerund (driving licence, skipping rope, racing car, real time, rowing/sailing boat, scrubbing brush, spark[ing] plug) 2018-07-28
usually -se (defense), exceptions: practice for both nouns and verbs -ce for nouns (a doctor's practice; defence), -se for verbs (to practise medicine) UK 2018-05-01
the American public usually standardizes on 'z' (capitalize, Elizabeth); some words having 'ise' in the ancient Greek or Latin root use 's': advertise, advise, apprise, arise, chastise, circumcise, compromise, comprise, despise, devise, enterprise, exercise, expertise, franchise, improvise, incise, merchandise, revise, sunrise, supervise, televise the British public usually standardises on 's' (capitalise, Elisabeth); 'Oxford spelling' follows whatever the word's ancient Greek or Latin root did, which is complex (some Greek words had 'ize' endings and some had 'ise', but Latin usually had 'ise') usually US; some people do s if from Latin, z if from Greek (though Greek also sometimes uses s) 2018-08-20

Word choice & spelling: Those not following a pattern

Meaning US UK Canada Last Updated
ATM (automated teller machine), cash machine; "a hole in the wall" means a very small shop or restaurant/cafe in large building, shopping mall, or street full of larger shops cash point/machine, a hole in the wall ABM (automated banking machine) 2018-08-13
men's tight underwear briefs, underwear, jockey shorts, tighty-whiteys; men's loose underwear is called boxers; pants means full-length outerwear trousers [under]pants, Y-fronts, smalls ginch, gonch, gitch, gotch 2018-07-30
can for food or drink (e.g., canned fish) can for drinks, can/tin for food/paint/etc. (eg tinned fish) UK 2018-07-17

Dates & times

Meaning US UK Canada Last Updated
 

[minutes] before/of/'til/to/after/past [hour] (e.g., 5 'til 2 means five minutes until two o'clock. 10 past 4 means ten minutes after four o'clock. 6:30 is half past 6. 5:45 is quarter to/of 6. 2:15 is quarter after 2.)

[minutes] down [hour] o'clock, [minutes] to [hour], half [hour], quarter past/to [hour] (eg 5 down 2 o'clock means five minutes after two o'clock. It's five to ten. 6.30 is half 6. 5.45 is quarter to 6. 2.15 is quarter past 2.) 2018-07-30
long time (e.g., That was a long time ago.) ages (common; eg That was ages ago.); donkey's years, yonks (informal; eg I haven't seen you for donkey's years!) 2018-08-08
times are written like this: 2:30, usually AM/PM; 24-hour time is mostly used by the military, airplane pilots, NASA, etc. in this format: 1430 hours times are written like this: 2.30am/pm or 14:30 hours 2018-08-13