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Stylistic Differences Between
American and British Writing

Here are a few of the stylistic differences between American and British writing.

Titles and headlines

The use of capitalization varies within American writing and British writing. The words in newspaper headlines, titles of publications, and chapter and section headings are sometimes capitalized as in conventional sentences. In other words, only the first word, proper nouns, and acronyms, are capitalized.

In other instances, particularly in American English, additional words are sometimes capitalized in headlines and titles for additional emphasis. Typically, all words are capitalized, except prepositions, conjunctions, and short articles.


When writing numbers, it is normal in British English to insert an "and" before the tens and units (e.g., three hundred and fifty-nine, four thousand and fourteen).

In American English, it is more common to drop the "and" (e.g., three thousand five).


In Americans writing, commas and periods are placed inside quotation marks.

  • Trouble-proof means "not easily disturbed or injured." (American style)

In British writing, the punctuation will be placed inside the quotation marks only if it relates to the quote. Otherwise, the punctuation will be placed outside.

  • Trouble-proof means "not easily disturbed or injured". (British style)

Business letter-writing

In American writing, it is customary to write a colon after the greeting. ("Dear Sir:") in business letters. However, this practice is not followed in all areas of the United States.

In British writing of business letters, it is common to write a comma ("Dear Sir,") or use open punctuation ("Dear Sir").

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