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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


One of the challenges of learning English is that the language changes depending on the English-speaking country in which you are in. Whether you are in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, or any of the many other countries in which English is the primary language, you will find the language changes. Not only are there distinctions in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, but there are also many cultural differences which affect how we use the language.

There are many differences in vocabulary between British English and North American English. This can sometimes make communication, even between native English speakers, a challenge.

I lived in England for nearly one and a half years and during that time learned many lessons about what vocabulary to use. My biggest mistake was using the Canadian word "pants", which is equivalent to the word "trousers" in England. In England, "pants" are what you wear under your trousers and what we in Canada call "underwear". When I realized my mistake I never said "pants" in England again!

If you have any examples of vocabulary mix-ups, please email Dr. English with your stories. If you would like more information on CANADIAN, EH?, you can email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.


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