It is often said that the UK and US are two countries divided by the same language. This comment is usually attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw. The reason why there are differences is because both are living languages, absorbing words and inventing new ones relentlessly. With movies, TV, internet and books, people can translate as they go along on either side of the Atlantic. Nevertheless there still seems to be wide differences between the two cultures.

As a language, especially a language used in business, the future of English seems to be guaranteed. However, there is no guarantee that people from different cultures, such as the US and the UK are communicating well simply because they speak the same language. Furthermore, there are areas where the two languages are developing in different directions.

Communication is about getting a person or a group to understand what you are saying. Communication is a process and is also about developing trust, as well as influencing, convincing, persuading, understanding needs and building relationships. You may have to adapt your approach depending on who is receiving your communication, be it spoken or written. The process involves language, communication, culture.

Many people know about the widespread use in British English of the letter s for z. For example, organisation (always British English) and organization (always American, but sometimes British as well). There is a long list of vocabulary differences as well. Thanks to the American media, we probably all know that autumn (UK) is fall (US) and that the American restroom has a number of equivalents in British English depending on the different social strata. In higher class Britain, it is the gents/ladies or lavatory. It is the toilet in middle-class Britain, but in a working class neighbourhood, you will hear it referred to as the loo.

If a word is a proper noun then a capital letter is used. For example, Kings of the UK have included James. But James is the King. Modern usage in British English is to reduce the use of capital letters in a sentence where possible. However, this approach has not taken off in the US.
In numerous publications in the UK, the word internet will be lower cased. Not so in many American writings. Usually, it will be capitalized. American English, perhaps, has been influenced by the German language thanks to German immigrants. This language uses more capital letters in sentences.

B: Boldness and bravery tempered with wisdom provides a firm foundation for successful conversations and communications.
L: Listen, listen, listen. Learn more by attentive listening.
E: Exchange ideas. Conversation is not a contest, it is an exchange.
S: Seek to understand the points of view up for discussion.
S: Speak with respect. Show respect because by showing respect you are communicating your respect for others.

Y: You can show respect and still politely disagree. You can communicate more effectively if you listen effectively, respect the speaker and enjoy the conversation.
O: Opt to make better communication skills part of your strategy for success.
U: Understanding the communication process and utilizing this process to maximum effect will pay dividends in better relationships and greater social and business success.

Author's Bio: 

Susan McKenzie teaches at Linguaphone in Singapore. For enquiries about the courses Tel: 8455 8534, Email: and Read articles written by Susan at