Or is it both? If it is American English, what would be the British English equivalent, or vice versa.

"I really like this dress" as in "I very much like this dress"

  • Speaking for the American side of things, either of those statements is perfectly normal, although the second sounds a bit more formal. Commented May 21, 2019 at 18:45
  • Ditto from a BrE speaker, the first is more natural. Commented May 21, 2019 at 18:49
  • 1
    Really meaning indeed (i.e. as an intensifier) as opposed to in reality (i.e. factually) is attested from the 16th century, before there was an American English to speak of. In any case, I usually refer to the amount of liking, rather than its intensity, i.e. I like this dress very much or a great deal or a whole lot, etc.
    – choster
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


There's not really (put intended) a difference in how often it occurs, in any case not significant enough to label either usage as American or British English.

Let's look at the usage of "I really like" and "I very much like"; that should eliminate most possibilities mentioned by @Laurel in the comments.

The NGram graph for American English:

enter image description here

and the one for British English:

enter image description here

aren't that much different; you do see that 'really' gained a lot of traction in the last 60 years.

  • 1
    I don't think those graphs are accurate. For example, "the woman, very much like her sister,...", "it sounds very much like you want to go" and "what were they really like?" will be matched.
    – Laurel
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 18:56
  • @Laurel In your examples, the word "I" is not included as it is in the displayed search strings. So your examples wouldn't be included.
    – jejorda2
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 19:27
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    @jejorda2 It wasn't when I posted that comment...
    – Laurel
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 19:29
  • I would recommend, in order to answer the OPs direct question which is comparing the use of 'really' in AmE and BrE, selecting the corpus for the same string 'really' in NGrams: I really like:eng_us_2019,I really like:eng_gb_2019
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 19:13
  • With the more carefully selected ngrams, a good answer [but doubtless with (pun intended) intended]. Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 16:04

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