I'm not sure this is the right place to ask this, but any help is appreciated.

I'm Portuguese, but I also use English for my work. For that, I use dictionaries in my computer. My question is: which dictionary language should I use, British or American English?


  1. Should I use British because it is the oldest?
  2. Should I use British because I'm in Europe?
  3. Should I use American because I will correspond with people from all parts of the globe?
  4. Should I use American because American words are similar to Portuguese ones (e.g. elevator <-> elevador, film <-> filme)?
  5. Should I use American because of NATO? (This one is maybe a little far-fetched.)

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, tchrist, Mari-Lou A, Edwin Ashworth, ScotM Jul 21 '15 at 1:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Probably you should use the dictionary that would correspond most closely to the sources you use and the people you correspond with. If you can identify those as American, use an American dictionary. If English or "global" (meaning former British colonies not including the USA) you probably should use British. – Robusto Jul 20 '15 at 14:41
  • 4
    British English and American English are exactly the same age. – tchrist Jul 20 '15 at 15:02
  • Aren't there company policies to advise you here (either the company you work within, or the companies you liaise with)? You might need to be flexible if you do business with both the US and the UK. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 20 '15 at 16:12
  • Ask this to your boss. – RK01 Jul 20 '15 at 17:19
  • @tchrist: Why do you say that? I would say American English is as old as the USA? – João M. S. Silva Jul 20 '15 at 22:29

Just speak or write in English...the differences are mainly in pronunciation, use of present perfect, and maybe a 100 word differences (lift as opposed to elevator and stuff like that) and the use of prepositions.

To really answer this question, it would be useful to know why you think you need to choose and why you will be speaking English.

  • In my distribution of GNU/Linux, my operating system, I have to choose one dictionary, if I want to use one. There are dictionaries for all English idioms. I just eliminated the less used ones. I will be writing in English in e-mails, forums (like this one), etc. but mostly for software development purposes. – João M. S. Silva Jul 21 '15 at 12:00
  • Either dictionary should be fine – michael_timofeev Jul 21 '15 at 13:16

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