Learn American English: Pronunciation, Idiom & Writing

Would you like to learn to speak and write American English? What is the difference between American and British English? Can you learn to speak with an American accent?

Most people think of the English world as divided into two (or maybe three) big groups: British, American and – some would say – international. When a client wants to learn American English, including an American accent, that means learning American spelling, idiom, punctuation and pronunciation. We help people learn American English and to learn to speak with an American accent.

The last bit, American English pronunciation and accent, is actually fun, but also challenging, because pronunciation is all about habit.

If American English is your goal, you need a North American English native-speaker teacher to model and teach the American sound. 100% of our teachers are native speakers.

While British English was long considered the “gold standard,” American English is no longer a second tier language. The trending popularity of the American sound is no doubt influenced by Hollywood, American music and international business. And while many of our clients learned British English in school, they now have an international, blended way of using English that contains both American and British pronunciation, idiom, spelling and punctuation. And while that is often fine for speaking, it can be a problem with writing or test taking.

So while we love the modern international mash-up of British and American English, we know that some of you need or wish to choose a style and stick with it.

And what about Rhoticity (Rs) in American English?

Rhoticity refers to the way Rs are spoken in a given language. You may have noticed that English speakers with British accents place a schwa or “uh” sound where Americans place a clearly spoken R. Think of words like “mother” and “father.” With a British accent, the final R is absent and becomes “uh”, thus, “mothuh, fathuh.” Do yoo hear it? But Americans clearly express the final R on those words. Some people say it’s a pirate R. Personally, I like to compare American Rs to a growling dog. Grrrrr!

Would you like some tips for developing an American Accent?

  • Do more listening and less reading
  • Try our Interactive Video Library program and get personal accent feedback
  • At You Tube, watch any speech by Barack Obama
  • Choose American news and TV to keep up with world events. But be sure you are listening to an American journalist. Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper have great American sounds.
  • Visit Rachel’s English on YouTube
  • Add the Stitcher Podcasts app to your phone
  • Listen FREE to National Public Radio from Chicago, WBEZ.
  • Watch American series on Netflix. Avoid series set in parts of the US with strong regional accents. That means that The Sopranos is out, but Breaking Bad is in! Or try The Americans. The Russian spies in this series speak perfect SAE (Standard American English).
  • If music is your thing, turn on Spotify. Try an old crooner like Frank Sinatra, or fast forward to someone contemporary.
  • Do not roll your Rs
  • While initial Rs in British and American English are the same, mid and final position Rs are different. In the latter, American like to use the hard “pirate” R.

Barack Obama

Course details

LevelB1+ intermediate and above
TeacherNorth American English native-speaker
Course4 weeks, 90 minutes per lesson
Day & Timeflexible
Class Hours6 hours is a suggested package
Self Study Hours12
Total Learning Hours18
Max ParticipantsOne. Private training.
Study ResourcesNetflix, YouTube, etc. Optional American books.
LocationFlexible. See all our locations on the Contact Page
Melissa Nguyen
Melissa Nguyen
09:55 24 Apr 19
I have private lessons which are tailor made to my learning goals, and I'm very satisfied with the quality of teaching! Highly recommended!
Joanne Schouten
Joanne Schouten
13:47 04 Apr 19
If you want to improve your English skills, the English Center is the place to be. My teacher Daniel was the best, and I am impressed by the personal approach and feedback of the staff. Thank you all for helping me reach my goals.
Francesca Bergamin
Francesca Bergamin
07:53 11 Oct 18
Helpful staff, beautiful and cozy location. The course was created by matching my needs and my teacher Esther did an amazing job. Honestly I am sad that the lessons are finished. I do recommend this school.
Rijk Plasman
Rijk Plasman
05:50 06 Oct 18
Personal approach and modern learning methods.
Isis Caljé
Isis Caljé
13:36 05 Oct 18
I got great feedback on what I need to focus on to reduce my natural accent and sound more American.
John Gl
John Gl
16:39 08 Feb 18
Professional and great place!
Claire Langenhoff
Claire Langenhoff
10:10 06 Feb 18
If you're looking for a place to develop your professional English skills, this is the place to go!
Paul Duizendstra
Paul Duizendstra
08:41 06 Feb 18
Marike is the best.
Koen Feya Koen
Koen Feya Koen
10:14 22 Jun 16
Great teachers, very nice atmosphere and the founders/owners have a very personal approach into setting you up with the right course and helping you get started!
Mario Derksen
Mario Derksen
06:56 15 Apr 16
The English Center outsources their MailChimp newsletter at Mailhouse Rock. Each time a pleasure to work with Brenda/Michael!
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