Business Writing Tip #81—UK versus US English—Part Three

A few more differences. Remember, neither version is ‘wrong’. They are just different.soldier at the tower

The important thing to keep in mind is that when you’re writing, choose one version and stick to it.

 British (UK)American (US)
Past actions with result nowUse present perfect

I’ve lost my mobile phone. Have you seen it?
Use present perfect or past simple

I’ve lost my cell phone. Have you seen it?

OR

I lost my cell phone. Did you see it?
Using shallEither will or shall can be used with the first person (I or we)

I will/shall be late to the meeting because my car’s broken down.

Shall can be used to ask for advice.

Which version of the report shall we use?
Shall is unusual

I will be late to the meeting because my car’s broken down

Should is the more usual way to ask advice.

Which version of the report should we use?
Can’t vs must notUK English users use can’t to say that they believe something is not probable.

I haven’t heard from David. He can’t have got my message yet.
US English uses must not when something isn’t probable.

I haven’t heard from David. He must not have got my message yet
The all important weekend At the weekend/at weekendsOn the weekend/on weekends
Completing forms
(note: Indian English often uses fill up – not wrong, just different)
Use either fill in or fill outUse fill out
RoundUse either round or around.
He turned round/around.
Use around.
He turned around.
Front/backUse at the front or back
Please sit at the front of the room.
Use in the front or back
Please sit in the front of the room.

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