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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #102440: Differences between the USA and Canada
Differences between the USA and Canada
The United States and Canada are two very similar nations. However there are some very important differences between the two countries. Let us look at a few of them.
First of all let us look at the governmental structure of these two nations. One of the most obvious differences between these two republics is the head of state. In the US the head of state is the president (the same as France). The head of state in Canada is the prime minister (the same as the United Kingdom). This is because Canada is still a realm of the British Commonwealth. This means Canada still recognizes the English monarchy (currently led by Queen Elizabeth II) as their leading authority. In short, a Realm is a subject of the British Monarchy. Still the queen doesn't often intervene in Canadian affairs so the prime minister of Canada is in charge of leading the nation. The head of state is chosen from political parties. The US has two major parties (Democrats and Republics) and Canada has five (Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Green Party, Le Bloc Quebecois, and New Democratic Party).
Now let us look at currency. Both countries, the US and Canada, use a currency called “the dollar,” however they are two different dollars. There is a Canadian dollar and a US dollar. The value of these dollars has been very similar in recent years (2009-current 2013) with periods of the US dollar having more value alternating with periods of the Canadian dollar having more value. Usually the two currencies are valued only a few cents apart. The US mints the following coins: 1 cent (penny), 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), 50 cents (half dollar). The US also makes a dollar coin though it is not often used. Paper dollars are much more common. Canada prints all the same coins and a 2 dollar coin as well. Coins are used much more in Canada than they are in the US. A Canadian one dollar coin is sometimes called a “loonie,” named for the loon printed on it,and the two dollar coin a “twoonie.” Canada also stopped minting the penny in 2012 though it is still legal currency. Both nations print $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. As stated above the US also prints a $1 paper bill which Canada does not.
The size and the division of the two countries are also very different. First of all Canada is slightly bigger than the US. Canada is about 9,985,000 square kilometers (the second biggest nation in the world second only to Russia) whereas the US is about 9,825,000 square kilometers. US, on the other hand, has a much bigger population. Canada has a population of about 36,000,000. The US has a population of 316,000,000. The United States is divided into 50 states as well as some insular territories including Puerto Rico, The US Virgin Islands, American Samoa and several other small islands throughout the Pacific and Caribbean. These insular territories have limited voting rights and representation. Many of them are primarily army bases. Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories. The territories are not considered jurisdictions and are directed directly by the federal government.
The US and Canada also spend their money quite differently. The US, for example, spends trillions of dollars on their military. It spends by far more than any other nation in the world and has by far one of the largest militaries because of this. Canada spends significantly less on their military and therefore has a much smaller military. Canada, by contrast, spends much more money on their universal healthcare system, a system most Canadians are very proud of. The US does not have a unified healthcare system so most Americans pay out of pocket for healthcare.
These two countries also use different systems of measurement. Canada, like most of the world, uses the metric system (meters, liters,Celsius etc…) where the US uses the English imperial system (feet, miles, gallons, Fahrenheit etc…). This has been known to cause some confusion between the nations, particularly when it comes to weather.
American English and Canadian English also have some key differences. Canadian English is much more like British English in some ways. For example Canadians use the letter U in places Americans leave it out (labor vs labour,honor vs honour etc…). Canadians also pronounce the last letter of the alphabet “zed,” like the English, where Americans pronounce it “zee.” There are also certain terms that are disputed between the two versions of English. For example Americans use the term “soda”(usually) and Canadians use the term “pop.” Canadians are also often noted for pronouncing words such as “about” with a more round “o” sound. This produces a sound more like, “aboot.” Also Canadians are noted for often finishing sentences with the sound,“eh?” as if to ask, “Do you agree?” or “Isn't that right?” Americans, by contrast, tend to use unnecessary words and phrases such as, “like,” “ya know,” and “whatever,” excessively. Also the contraction “y'all” (meaning, “youall,” used to address a large group) is uniquely American, particularly in the south.
Though there are more, these are just some of the key differences between Americans and Canadians.
Source : Je suis américain et j'ai fait part de mes connaissances sur les Etats-Unis et le Canada.
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