You may have heard people describe certain words or spellings as \u201cAmerican English.\u201d But what exactly is American English? And how do you avoid errors in your writing when using it? Let us explain.\nWhat Is American English?\nAmerican English is the English dialect (or set of dialects) used in the United States. It is also known as US English, AmE, AmEng, or en-US, and is specific to the US, not North America in general. Canadian English, for instance, is nearer to British English in some ways.\n\nHaving said that, American English is also used internationally due to the country\u2019s influence overseas. As such, many \u201cAmericanisms\u201d are now common in other English dialects.\n\nBut what makes American English unique? As we\u2019re all about writing at Proofed, we\u2019ll ignore pronunciation for now. But it does differ from other major English dialects in various ways:\n\n \tBritish English \u2013 American and British English differ quite a bit in some respects, especially in vocabulary and spelling (e.g., center vs. centre). There are also minor grammar and punctuation differences, such as use of \u201cdouble\u201d (US) and \u2018single\u2019 (UK) quote marks.\n \tAustralian English \u2013 Australian English is close to British English in many ways, so it is similarly different from American English. However, Australian English also has its own vocabulary (e.g., a comforter is a doona in Australia and a duvet in the UK). And Australian English does favor the US spelling program over the UK spelling programme.\n \tCanadian English \u2013 Canadian English combines influences from US English (e.g., preferring -ize spellings of words like realize and organize) with some elements of British English (e.g., using the UK spelling colour rather than color).\n\nThe key is to be aware of these differences when writing for a US audience.\nTips for Using American English\nWe won\u2019t attempt a definitive rundown of everything that makes American English unique here. But we will offer a few helpful guidelines that you can follow when using US English:\n\n \tSome American English dialect terms are informal, so make sure to avoid them in formal documents such as college papers. Dictionaries should tell you if a word is informal.\n \tIf you have a style guide from your school or publisher, check whether it specifies dialect-specific spelling or punctuation conventions.\n \tBe consistent in the dialect you use throughout a document.\n \tWhen writing a document, set Microsoft Word to use American English by going to Review > Language > Set Proofing Language on the ribbon and selecting \u201cEnglish (United States).\u201d\n\nFinally, you can have your work proofread by someone who knows American English, especially if you are less familiar with this dialect, as a native speaker may spot things you have missed.