My friend Darlene in San Diego was puzzled when I mentioned that one of the final checks I give a manuscript before it goes out is to ensure that I have conformed to American spelling, since the markets I submit to are American. She was not aware that the English spoken in the UK and many of its former colonies - like those here in the Caribbean - is not identical to American English.
C'mon, folks. It's not just the accents that diverge. It's also the spelling, grammar, vocabulary, idiom, formatting of dates and numbers et al. There are even differences in the approach to punctuation. To quote George Bernard Shaw, the United States and United Kingdom are "two countries divided by a common language".
Here are thirteen examples of these differences:
1. The ise (UK) vs. ize (US) divide: realise/realize, recognise/recognize, specialise/specialize...
2. The our (UK) vs. or (US) divide: labour/labor, favour/favor, harbour/harbor, neighbour/neighbor...
3. UK: post, postman, postbox. US: mail,mailman, mailbox.
4. UK: Primary school. US: Elementary school.
5. UK: Secondary school. US: High school.
6. UK: pavement. US: sidewalk. (In the US I believe the pavement refers to the paved surface of the road, so you don't caution your children like we do to walk on the pavement.)
7. UK: Bank holiday. US: Public holiday.
8. UK: A public school is an elite private school. (Don't ask) US: A public school is a state-run school.
9. UK: The past participle of some verbs can be either regular or irregular, for example learned/learnt, burned/burnt, leaped/leapt, dreamed/dreamt, spilled/spilt. US: The irregular form of these verbs is never or rarely used.
10. UK: Athletes play in a team. US: Athletes play on a team.
11. UK: The last letter of the alphabet is pronounced zed. US: It's pronounced zee.
12. UK: 'First floor' is the one above the entrance level while the entrance level is the 'ground floor'. US: 'First floor' is the ground level, and the one above is the 'second floor'.
13. UK: Digital time is written with a point, for example, 6.00 US: Digital time is always written with a colon: 6:00