American and British English differences: Wikis

  
  
  

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This is one of a series of articles about the differences between American English and British English, which, for the purposes of these articles, are defined as follows:

  • American English (AmE) is the form of English used in the United States. It includes all English dialects used within the United States of America.
  • British English (BrE) is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom.
American and British English differences
Vocabulary
Pronunciation

Orthography

Computing

Fiction

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Written forms of American and British English as found in newspapers and textbooks vary little in their essential features, with only occasional noticeable differences in comparable media[1] (comparing American newspapers to British newspapers, for example). This kind of formal English, particularly written English, is often called 'standard English'.[2] [3] An unofficial standard for spoken American English has also developed, as a result of mass media and geographic and social mobility. It is typically referred to as 'standard spoken American English' (SSAE) or 'General American English' (GenAm or GAE)[citation needed], and broadly describes the English typically heard from network newscasters, commonly referred to as non-regional diction, although local newscasters tend toward more parochial forms of speech.[15] Despite this unofficial standard, regional variations of American English have not only persisted but have actually intensified, according to linguist William Labov.[citation needed]

Regional dialects in the United States typically reflect the elements of the language of the main immigrant groups in any particular region of the country, especially in terms of pronunciation and vernacular vocabulary. Scholars have mapped at least four major regional variations of spoken American English: Northern, Southern, Midland, and Western (Labov, Ash, & Boberg, 2006).[4] After the American Civil War, the settlement of the western territories by migrants from the east led to dialect mixing and levelling, so that regional dialects are most strongly differentiated in the eastern parts of the country that were settled earlier. Localized dialects also exist with quite distinct variations, such as in Southern Appalachia and New York.

The spoken forms of British English vary considerably, reflecting a long history of dialect development amid isolated populations. Dialects and accents vary not only between the countries in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but also within these individual countries.

There are also differences in the English spoken by different groups of people in any particular region. Received Pronunciation (RP), which is "the educated spoken English of south-east England", has traditionally been regarded as proper English; this is also referred to as BBC English or the Queen's English. The BBC and other broadcasters now intentionally use a mix of presenters with a variety of British accents and dialects, and the concept of "proper English" is now far less prevalent.[5]

British and American English are the reference norms for English as spoken, written, and taught in the rest of the world. For instance, the English-speaking members of the Commonwealth often closely follow British English forms while many new American English forms quickly become familiar outside of the United States. Although the dialects of English used in the former British Empire are often, to various extents, based on British English, most of the countries concerned have developed their own unique dialects, particularly with respect to pronunciation, idioms, and vocabulary; chief among them are Canadian English and Australian English, which rank third and fourth in number of native speakers.[6][7]

Contents

Historical background

The English language was first introduced to the Americas by British colonization, beginning in the early 17th century. Similarly, the language spread to numerous other parts of the world as a result of British trade and colonization elsewhere and the spread of the former British Empire, which, by 1921, held sway over a population of about 470–570 million people: approximately a quarter of the world's population at that time.

Over the past 400 years, the form of the language used in the Americas—especially in the United States—and that used in the British Isles have diverged in a few minor ways, leading to the dialects now occasionally referred to as American English and British English. Differences between the two include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, punctuation, idioms, formatting of dates and numbers, and so on, although the differences in written and most spoken grammar structure tend to be much more minor than those of other aspects of the language in terms of mutual intelligibility. A small number of words have completely different meanings between the two dialects or are even unknown or not used in one of the dialects. One particular contribution towards formalizing these differences came from Noah Webster, who wrote the first American dictionary (published 1828) with the intention of showing that people in the United States spoke a different dialect from Britain, much like a regional accent.

This divergence between American English and British English once caused George Bernard Shaw to say that the United States and United Kingdom are "two countries divided by a common language"; a similar comment is ascribed to Winston Churchill. Likewise, Oscar Wilde wrote, "We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, the language" (The Canterville Ghost, 1888). Henry Sweet falsely predicted in 1877, that within a century, American English, Australian English and British English would be mutually unintelligible. It may be the case that increased worldwide communication through radio, television, the Internet, and globalization has reduced the tendency to regional variation. This can result either in some variations becoming extinct (for instance, the wireless, superseded by the radio) or in the acceptance of wide variations as "perfectly good English" everywhere. Often at the core of the dialect though, the idiosyncrasies remain.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that although spoken American and British English are generally mutually intelligible, there are enough differences to cause occasional misunderstandings or at times embarrassment – for example, some words that are quite innocent in one dialect may be considered vulgar in the other.

Pronunciation

Grammar

Nouns

Formal and notional agreement

In BrE, collective nouns can take either singular (formal agreement) or plural (notional agreement) verb forms, according to whether the emphasis is, respectively, on the body as a whole or on the individual members; compare a committee was appointed with the committee were unable to agree.[8][9] The term the Government always takes a plural verb in British civil service convention, perhaps to emphasise the principle of collective responsibility.[10] Compare also the following lines of Elvis Costello's song "Oliver's Army": Oliver's Army are on their way / Oliver's Army is here to stay. Some of these nouns, for example staff,[11] actually combine with plural verbs most of the time.

In AmE, collective nouns are usually singular in construction: the committee was unable to agree AmE however may use plural pronouns in agreement with collective nouns: the team take their seats, rather than the team takes its seats. The rule of thumb is that a group acting as a unit is considered singular and a group of "individuals acting separately" is considered plural.[12] However, such a sentence would most likely be recast as the team members take their seats. Despite exceptions such as usage in the New York Times, the names of sports teams are usually treated as plurals even if the form of the name is singular.[13]

The difference occurs for all nouns of multitude, both general terms such as team and company and proper nouns (for example, where a place name is used to refer to a sports team). For instance,

BrE: The Clash are a well-known band; AmE: The Clash is a well-known band.
BrE: England are the champions; AmE: England is the champion.

Proper nouns that are plural in form take a plural verb in both AmE and BrE; for example, The Beatles are a well-known band; The Saints are the champions.

Verbs

Verb morphology

  • The past tense and past participle of the verbs learn, spoil, spell, burn, dream, smell, spill, leap, and others, can be either irregular (learnt, spoilt, etc.) or regular (learned, spoiled, etc.). In BrE, both irregular and regular forms are current, but for some words (such as smelt and leapt) there is a strong tendency towards the irregular forms, especially by users of Received Pronunciation. For other words (such as dreamed, leaned and learned[14]) the regular forms are somewhat more common. In AmE, the irregular forms are never or rarely used (except for burnt and leapt).[15]
    The t endings may be encountered frequently in older American texts. Usage may vary when the past participles are used as adjectives, as in burnt toast. (The two-syllable form learnèd /ˈlɜrnɪd/, usually written without the grave, is used as an adjective to mean "educated" or to refer to academic institutions, in both BrE and AmE.) Finally, the past tense and past participle of dwell and kneel are more commonly dwelt and knelt in both standards, with dwelled and kneeled as common variants in the US but not in the UK.
  • Lit as the past tense of light is more common than lighted in the UK; the regular form is used more in the US, but is nonetheless less common than lit.[16] Conversely, fit as the past tense of fit is more widely used in AmE than BrE, which generally favours fitted.[17]
  • The past tense of spit "expectorate" is spat in BrE, spit or spat in AmE.[18] AmE typically has spat in figurative contexts, e.g. "he spat out the name with a sneer", but spit for "expectorated".
  • The past participle of saw is normally sawn in BrE and sawed in AmE (as in sawn-off/sawed-off shotgun).[19]
  • The past participle gotten is never used in modern BrE, which generally uses got, except in old expressions such as ill-gotten gains. According to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, "The form gotten is not used in British English but is very common in North American English, though even there it is often regarded as non-standard." In AmE, gotten emphasizes the action of acquiring and got tends to indicate simple possession (for example, Have you gotten it? versus Have you got it?). Gotten is also typically used in AmE as the past participle for phrasal verbs using get, such as get off, get on, get into, get up, and get around: If you hadn't gotten up so late, you might not have gotten into this mess. Interestingly, AmE, but not BrE, has forgot as a less common alternative to forgotten for the past participle of forget.
  • In BrE, the past participle proved is strongly preferred to proven; in AmE, proven is now about as common as proved.[20] (Both dialects use proven as an adjective, and in formulas such as not proven).[21]
  • AmE further allows other irregular verbs, such as dive (dove) or sneak (snuck), and often mixes the preterit and past participle forms (springsprang, US also sprungsprung), sometimes forcing verbs such as shrink (shrankshrunk) to have a further form, thus shrunkshrunken. These uses are often considered nonstandard; the AP Stylebook in AmE treats some irregular verbs as colloquialisms, insisting on the regular forms for the past tense of dive, plead and sneak. Dove and snuck are usually considered nonstandard in Britain, although dove exists in some British dialects and snuck is occasionally found in British speech.
  • By extension of the irregular verb pattern, verbs with irregular preterits in some variants of colloquial AmE also have a separate past participle, for example, "to buy": past tense bought spawns boughten. Such formations are highly irregular from speaker to speaker, or even within idiolects. This phenomenon is found chiefly in the northern US and other areas where immigrants of German descent are predominant, and may have developed as a result of German influence[22]. Even in areas where the feature predominates, however, it has not gained widespread acceptance as standard usage.

Use of tenses

  • Traditionally, BrE uses the present perfect tense to talk about an event in the recent past and with the words already, just, and yet. In American usage, these meanings can be expressed with the present perfect (to express a fact[citation needed]) or the simple past (to imply an expectation[citation needed]). This American style has become widespread only in the past 20 to 30 years; the British style is still in common use as well. Recently, the American use of just with simple past has made inroads into BrE, most visibly in advertising slogans and headlines such as "Cable broadband just got faster".
    • "I've just arrived home." / "I just arrived home."
    • "I've already eaten." / "I already ate."
  • In BrE, have got or have can be used for possession and have got to and have to can be used for the modal of necessity. The forms that include ‘‘got’’ are usually used in informal contexts and the forms without got in contexts that are more formal. In American speech the form without got is used more than in the UK, although the form with got is often used for emphasis. Colloquial AmE informally uses got as a verb for these meanings – for example, I got two cars, I got to go.
  • In conditional sentences, US spoken usage often substitutes would and would have (usually shortened to [I]'d and [I]'d have) for the simple past and for the pluperfect (If you'd leave now, you'd be on time. / If I would have [I'd've] cooked the pie we could have [could've] had it for lunch). This tends to be avoided in writing because it is often still considered non-standard although such use of would is widespread in spoken US English in all sectors of society. Some reliable sources now label this usage as acceptable US English and no longer label it as colloquial.[23][24] (There are, of course, situations where would is used in British English too in seemingly counterfactual conditions, but these can usually be interpreted as a modal use of would: If you would listen to me once in a while, you might learn something.[25][26] In cases in which the action in the if clause takes place after that in the main clause, use of would in counterfactual conditions is however considered standard and correct usage in even formal UK and US usage: If it would make Bill happy, I'd [I would] give him the money.[25]
  • The subjunctive mood (morphologically identical with the bare infinitive) is regularly used in AmE in mandative clauses (as in They suggested that he apply for the job). In BrE, this usage declined in the 20th century, in favour of constructions such as They suggested that he should apply for the job (or even, more ambiguously, They suggested that he applied for the job). Apparently, however, the mandative subjunctive has recently started to come back into use in BrE.[27]

Verbal auxiliaries

  • Shall (as opposed to will) is more commonly used by the British than by Americans.[28][29] Shan't is almost never used in AmE (almost invariably replaced by won't or am not going to), and is increasingly rare in BrE as well. American grammar also tends to ignore some traditional distinctions between should and would[30]; however, expressions like I should be happy are rather formal even in BrE.
  • The periphrastic future (be going to) is about twice as frequent in AmE as in BrE.[31]

Transitivity

The following verbs show differences in transitivity between BrE and AmE.

  • agree: Transitive or intransitive in BrE, usually intransitive in AmE (agree a contract/agree to or on a contract). However, in formal AmE legal writing one often sees constructions like as may be agreed between the parties (rather than as may be agreed upon between the parties).
  • appeal (as a decision): Usually intransitive in BrE (used with against) and transitive in AmE (appeal against the decision to the Court/appeal the decision to the Court).[32]
  • catch up ("to reach and overtake"): Transitive or intransitive in BrE, strictly intransitive in AmE (to catch sb up/to catch up with sb). A transitive form does exist in AmE, but has a different meaning: to catch sb up means that the subject will help the object catch up, rather the opposite of the BrE transitive meaning. In other words, the subject acts more like an indirect object.
  • cater ("to provide food and service"): Intransitive in BrE, transitive in AmE (to cater for a banquet/to cater a banquet).
  • claim: Sometimes intransitive in BrE (used with for), strictly transitive in AmE.
  • meet: AmE uses intransitively meet followed by with to mean "to have a meeting with", as for business purposes (Yesterday we met with the CEO), and reserves transitive meet for the meanings "to be introduced to" (I want you to meet the CEO; she is such a fine lady), "to come together with (someone, somewhere)" (Meet the CEO at the train station), and "to have a casual encounter with". BrE uses transitive meet also to mean "to have a meeting with"; the construction meet with, which actually dates back to Middle English, appears to be coming back into use in Britain, despite some commentators who preferred to avoid confusion with meet with meaning "receive, undergo" (the proposal was met with disapproval). The construction meet up with (as in to meet up with someone), which originated in the US,[33] has long been standard in both dialects.
  • provide: Strictly monotransitive in BrE, monotransitive or ditransitive in AmE (provide sb with sth/provide sb sth).
  • protest: In sense "oppose", intransitive in BrE, transitive in AmE (The workers protested against the decision/The workers protested the decision). The intransitive protest against in AmE means, "to hold or participate in a demonstration against". The older sense "proclaim" is always transitive (protest one's innocence).
  • write: In BrE, the indirect object of this verb usually requires the preposition to, for example, I'll write to my MP or I'll write to her (although it is not required in some situations, for example when an indirect object pronoun comes before a direct object noun, for example, I'll write her a letter). In AmE, write can be used monotransitively (I'll write my congressman; I'll write him).

Complementation

  • The verbs prevent and stop can be found in two different constructions: "prevent/stop someone from doing something" and "prevent/stop someone doing something". The latter is well established in BrE, but not in AmE.
  • Some verbs can take either a to+infinitive construction or a gerund construction (e.g., to start to do something/to start doing something). For example, the gerund is more common:

Presence or absence of syntactic elements

  • Where a statement of intention involves two separate activities, it is acceptable for speakers of AmE to use to go plus bare infinitive. Speakers of BrE would instead use to go and plus bare infinitive. Thus, where a speaker of AmE might say I'll go take a bath, BrE speakers would say I'll go and have a bath. (Both can also use the form to go to instead to suggest that the action may fail, as in He went to take/have a bath, but the bath was full of children.) Similarly, to come plus bare infinitive is acceptable to speakers of AmE, where speakers of BrE would instead use to come and plus bare infinitive. Thus, where a speaker of AmE might say come see what I bought, BrE speakers would say come and see what I've bought (notice the present perfect tense: a common British preference).
  • Use of prepositions before days denoted by a single word. Where British people would say She resigned on Thursday, Americans often say She resigned Thursday, but both forms are common in American usage. Occasionally, the preposition is also absent when referring to months: I'll be here December (although this usage is generally limited to colloquial speech).
  • In the UK, from is used with single dates and times more often than in the United States. Where British speakers and writers may say the new museum will be open from Tuesday, Americans most likely say the new museum will be open starting Tuesday. (This difference does not apply to phrases of the pattern from A to B, which are used in both BrE and AmE.) A variation or alternative of this is the mostly American the play opens Tuesday and the mostly British the play opens on Tuesday.
  • American legislators and lawyers always use the preposition of between the name of a legislative act and the year it was passed, while their British colleagues do not. Compare Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The definite article

  • A few 'institutional' nouns take no definite article when a certain role is implied: for example, at sea (as a sailor), in prison (as a convict), and at/in college (for students). Among this group, BrE has in hospital (as a patient) and at university (as a student), where AmE requires in the hospital and at the university (though AmE does allow at college and in school). When the implied roles of patient or student do not apply, the definite article is used in both dialects.
  • Likewise, BrE distinguishes in future ("from now on") from in the future ("at some future time"); AmE uses in the future for both senses.
  • AmE omits, and BrE requires, the definite article in a few standard expressions such as tell (the) time.
  • In BrE, numbered highways usually take the definite article (for example "the M25", "the A14") while in America they usually do not ("I-495", "Route 66"). Upstate New York, Southern California and Arizona are exceptions, where "the 33", "the 5" or "the 10" are the standard. A similar pattern is followed for named roads (for example, Strand in London is almost always referred to as the Strand), but in America, there are local variations and older American highways tend to follow the British pattern ("the Boston Post Road").
  • AmE distinguishes in back of [behind] from in the back of; the former is unknown in the UK and liable to misinterpretation as the latter. Both, however, distinguish in front of from in the front of.
  • Dates usually include a definite article in UK spoken English, such as "the eleventh of July", or "July the eleventh", while American speakers most commonly say "July eleventh" or "July eleven".

Prepositions and adverbs

  • In the United States, the word through can mean "up to and including" as in Monday through Friday. In the UK Monday to Friday, or Monday to Friday inclusive is used instead; Monday through to Friday is also sometimes used. (In some parts of Northern England the term while can be used in the same way, as in Monday while Friday, whereas in Northern Ireland[citation needed] Monday till Friday would be more natural.)
  • British sportsmen play in a team; American athletes play on a team. (Both may play for a particular team.)
  • In AmE, the use of the function word out as a preposition in out the door and out the window is standard to mean "out through". For example, in AmE, one jumps "out of a boat" by jumping "out the porthole," and it would be incorrect in standard AmE to "jump out the boat" or climb "out of the porthole." In BrE, out of is preferred in writing for both meanings, but out is common in speech.[41] Several other uses of out of are peculiarly British (out of all recognition, out of the team; cf. above);[42] all of this notwithstanding, out of is overall more frequent in AmE than in BrE (about four times as frequent, according to Algeo[43]).
  • The word heat meaning "mating season" is used with on and in the UK (Regional Variation) and with in in the US.
  • The intransitive verb affiliate can take either with or to in BrE, but only with in AmE.
  • The verb enrol(l) usually takes on in BrE and in in AmE (as in "to enrol(l) on/in a course") and the on/in difference is used when enrolled is dropped (as in "I am (enrolled) on the course that studies....").
  • In AmE, one always speaks of the street on which an address is located, whereas in BrE in can also be used in some contexts. In suggests an address on a city street, so a service station (or a tourist attraction or indeed a village) would always be on a major road, but a department store might be in Oxford Street. Moreover, if a particular place on the street is specified then the preposition used is whichever is idiomatic to the place, thus "at the end of Churchill Road."
  • BrE favours the preposition at with weekend ("at (the) weekend(s)"); the constructions on, over, and during (the) weekend(s) are found in both varieties but are all more common in AmE than BrE.[44] See also Word derivation and compounds.
  • Adding at to the end of a question requesting a location is common in AmE, for example, "where are you at?", but would be considered superfluous in BrE. However, some south-western British dialects use to in the same context; for example "where are you to?", to mean "where are you".
  • After talk American can also use the preposition with but British always[citation needed] uses to (that is, I'll talk with Dave / I'll talk to Dave). The American form is sometimes seen as more politically correct in British organisations, inducing the ideal of discussing (with), as opposed to lecturing (to). This is, of course, unless talk is being used as a noun, for example: "I'll have a talk with him" in which case this is acceptable in both BrE and AmE.
  • In both dialects, from is the preposition prescribed for use after the word different: American English is different from British English in several respects. However, different than is also commonly heard in the US, and is often considered standard when followed by a clause (American English is different than it used to be), whereas different to is a common alternative in BrE.[45][46]
  • It is common in BrE to say opposite to as an alternative to opposite of, the only form normally found in AmE. The use of opposite as a preposition (opposite the post office) has long been established in both dialects, but appears to be more common in British usage.
  • The noun opportunity can be followed by a verb in two different ways: opportunity plus to-infinitive ("the opportunity to do something") or opportunity plus of plus gerund ("the opportunity of doing something"). The first construction is the most common in both dialects, but the second has almost disappeared in AmE and is often regarded as a Briticism.
  • Both British and Americans may say (for example) that a river is named after a state, but "named for a state" would rightly be regarded as an Americanism.
  • BrE sometimes uses to with near (we live near to the university), while AmE avoids the preposition in most usages dealing with literal, physical proximity (we live near the university), although the to reappears in AmE when near takes the comparative or superlative form, as in she lives nearer/nearest to the deranged axe murderer's house.
  • In BrE, one calls (or rings) someone on his or her telephone number; in AmE, one calls someone at his or her telephone number.
  • When referring to the constituency of a US Senator the preposition "from" is usually used: "Senator from New York," whereas British MPs are "for" their constituency: "MP for East Cleveland."
  • In AmE, the phrases aside from and apart from are used about equally; in BrE, apart from is far more common.[47]
  • In AmE, the compound "off of" may be used where BrE almost always uses "off". Compare AmE "He jumped off of the box" and BrE "He jumped off the box".

Phrasal verbs

  • In the US, forms are usually but not invariably filled out, but in Britain they can also be filled in. However, in reference to individual parts of a form, Americans may also use in (fill in the blanks). In AmE the direction fill it all in (referring to the form as a collection of blanks, perhaps) is as common as fill it all out.
  • Britons facing extortionate prices may have no option but to fork out, whereas Americans are more likely to fork (it) over or sometimes up; the out usage is however found in both dialects.
  • In both countries, thugs will beat up their victim; AmE also allows beat on (as both would for an inanimate object, such as a drum) or beat up on, which are often considered slang.
  • When an outdoor event is postponed or interrupted by rain, it is rained off in the UK and rained out in the US.

Miscellaneous grammatical differences

  • In AmE, some prescriptionists feel that which should not be used as an antecedent in restrictive relative clauses. According to The Elements of Style (p. 59), "that is the defining, or restrictive pronoun, which the nondefining, or nonrestrictive." This distinction was endorsed by Fowler's Modern English Usage, but the use of which as a restrictive pronoun is common in great literature produced on both sides of the Atlantic.[48]
  • In names of American rivers, the word river usually comes after the name (for example, Colorado River), whereas for British rivers it comes before (as in the River Thames). Exceptions in BrE include the Fleet River, which is rarely called the River Fleet by Londoners outside of official documentation, and also where the river name is an adjective (the Yellow River). Exceptions in the US are the River Rouge and the River Raisin, both in Michigan and named by the French. This convention is mixed, however, in some Commonwealth nations, where both arrangements are often seen.
  • In BrE speech, titles may precede names, but not descriptions of offices (President Roosevelt, but Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister and Mr Jones, the team's coach), while both normally precede names in AmE (President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Coach Jones).
  • In BrE the word sat is often colloquially used to cover sat, sitting and seated: I've been sat here waiting for half an hour. The bride's family will be sat on the right-hand side of the church. This construction is not often heard outside the UK. In the 1960s, its use would mark a speaker as coming from the north of England but by the turn of the 21st century this form had spread to the south. Its use often conveys lighthearted informality, when many speakers intentionally use a dialect or colloquial construction they would probably not use in formal written English. This colloquial usage is widely understood by British speakers. Similarly stood can be used instead of standing. To an American, these usages are passive, and may imply that the subject had been involuntarily forced to sit or stand, or directed to hold that location.
  • In most areas of the United States, the word with is also used as an adverb: I'll come with instead of I'll come along, although it is rarely used in writing. Come with is used as an abbreviation of come with me, as in I'm going to the office – come with by speakers in Minnesota and parts of the adjoining states. These parts of the United States have high concentrations of both Scandinavian and German American populations. It is similar to South African English, where the expression comes from Dutch, and is used by Afrikaans speakers when speaking English. These contractions are not used by native BrE speakers.
  • The word also is used at the end of a sentence in AmE (just as as well and too are in both dialects), but not so commonly in BrE, although it is encountered in Northern Ireland. Additionally, sentence ending as well is more formal in AmE than in BrE.
  • Before some words beginning with h with the first syllable unstressed, such as hallucination, hilarious, historic(al), horrendous, and horrific, some British writers prefer to use an over a (an historical event, etc.). An is also preferred before hotel by some writers of BrE (probably reflecting the relatively recent adoption of the word from French, where the h is not pronounced).[49] The use of "an" before words beginning with an unstressed "h" is more common generally in BrE than American.[49] Such usage would now be seen as affected.{{cn} American writers normally use a in all these cases, although there are occasional uses of an historic(al) in AmE.[50] Unlike BrE, AmE typically uses an before herb, since the h in this word is silent for most Americans.
  • In AmE absent is sometimes used to introduce an absolute construction (Absent any objections, the proposal was approved.). This usage does not occur in BrE.

Word derivation and compounds

  • Directional suffix -ward(s): British forwards, towards, rightwards, etc.; American forward, toward, rightward. In both dialects, distribution varies somewhat: afterwards, towards, and backwards are not unusual in America; while in Britain forward is common, and standard in phrasal verbs like look forward to. The forms with -s may be used as adverbs (or preposition towards), but rarely as adjectives: in Britain as in America, one says "an upward motion". The Oxford English Dictionary in 1897 suggested a semantic distinction for adverbs, with -wards having a more definite directional sense than -ward; subsequent authorities such as Fowler have disputed this contention.
  • AmE freely adds the suffix -s to day, night, evening, weekend, Monday, etc. to form adverbs denoting repeated or customary action: I used to stay out evenings; the library is closed Saturdays. This usage has its roots in Old English, but many of these constructions are now regarded as American (for example, the OED labels nights "now chiefly N. Amer. colloq."; but to work nights is standard in BrE).
  • In BrE, the agentive -er suffix is commonly attached to football (also cricket; often netball; occasionally basketball). AmE usually uses football player. Where the sport's name is usable as a verb, the suffixation is standard in both dialects: for example, golfer, bowler (in Ten-pin bowling and in Lawn Bowls), and shooter. AmE appears to sometimes use the BrE form in baller as slang for a basketball player, as in the video game NBA Ballers. However, this is derived from slang use of to ball as a verb meaning to play basketball.
  • English writers everywhere occasionally (and from time immemorial) make new compound words from common phrases; for example, health care is now being replaced by healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic. However, AmE has made certain words in this fashion that are still treated as phrases in BrE.
  • In compound nouns of the form <verb><noun>, sometimes AmE favours the bare infinitive where BrE favors the gerund. Examples include (AmE first): jump rope/skipping rope; racecar/racing car; rowboat/rowing boat; sailboat/sailing boat; file cabinet/filing cabinet; dial tone/dialling tone; drainboard/draining board.
  • More generally, AmE has a tendency to drop inflectional suffixes, thus favoring clipped forms: compare cookbook vs. cookery book; Smith, age 40 vs. Smith, aged 40; skim milk vs. skimmed milk; dollhouse vs. doll's house; barbershop vs. barber's shop.[51] This has recently been extended to appear on professionally printed commercial signage and some boxes themselves (not mere greengrocers' chalkboards): can vegetables and mash potatoes appear in the U.S.
  • Singular attributives in one country may be plural in the other, and vice versa. For example, the UK has a drugs problem while the United States has a drug problem (although the singular usage is also commonly heard in the UK); Americans read the sports section of a newspaper, while the British are more likely to read the sport section. In America, software is referred to as computer codes, whereas the same software in the UK would be computer code. However, BrE maths is singular, just as AmE math is: both are abbreviations of mathematics.

Vocabulary

Most of the differences in lexis or vocabulary between British and American English are in connection with concepts originating from the 19th century to the mid 20th century, when new words were coined independently.[citation needed] Almost the entire vocabularies of the car/automobile and railway/railroad industries (see Rail terminology) are different between the UK and US, for example. Other sources of difference are slang or vulgar terms, where frequent new coinage occurs, and idiomatic phrases, including phrasal verbs. The differences most likely to create confusion are those where the same word or phrase is used for two different concepts. Regional variations, even within the US or the UK, can create the same problems.

It is not a straightforward matter to classify differences of vocabulary. David Crystal identifies some of the problems of classification on the facing page to his list of American English/British English lexical variation, and states "this should be enough to suggest caution when working through an apparently simple list of equivalents".[52]

Overview of lexical differences

Note: A lexicon is not made up of different words, but different "units of meaning" (lexical units or lexical items e.g. 'fly ball' in baseball), including idioms and figures of speech[citation needed]. This makes it easier to compare the dialects.

Though the influence of cross-culture media has done much to familiarize BrE and AmE speakers with each other's regional words and terms, many words are still recognized as part of a single form of English. Though the use of a British word would be acceptable in AmE (and vice versa), most listeners would recognize the word as coming from the other form of English, and treat it much the same as a word borrowed from any other language. For instance, an American using the word chap or mate to refer to a friend would be heard in much the same way as an American using the Spanish word amigo.

Words and phrases which have their origins in BrE

Some speakers of AmE are aware of some BrE terms, although they might not generally use them, or may be confused as to whether someone intends the American or British meaning (such as for biscuit). They will be able to guess approximately what some others, such as “driving licence,” mean. However, use of many other British words such as naff (unstylish, though commonly used to mean "not very good"), risks rendering a sentence incomprehensible to most Americans.

Words and phrases which have their origins in AmE

Speakers of BrE are likely to understand most AmE terms, examples such as 'sidewalk', 'gas (gasoline/petrol)', 'counterclockwise', or 'elevator (lift)', without any problem. Certain terms which are heard less frequently, eg. 'copacetic (satisfactory)', are unlikely to be understood by most BrE speakers.

Divergence

Words and phrases with different meanings

Words such as bill (AmE "paper money", BrE and AmE "invoice") and biscuit (AmE: BrE's "scone", BrE: AmE's "cookie") are used regularly in both AmE and BrE, but mean different things in each form[citation needed]. As chronicled by Winston Churchill, the opposite meanings of the verb to table created a misunderstanding during a meeting of the Allied forces;[53] in BrE to table an item on an agenda means to open it up for discussion, whereas in AmE, it means to remove it from discussion.

The word "football" in BrE refers to Association football, also known as soccer. In AmE, "football" means American football.

Similarly, the word "hockey" in BrE refers to field hockey, while in AmE "hockey" means ice hockey.

Other ambiguity (complex cases)

Words with completely different meanings are relatively few; most of the time, there are either (1) words with one or more shared meanings and one or more meanings unique to one variety (e.g. bathroom and toilet) or (2) words whose meanings are actually common to both BrE and AmE, but which show differences in frequency, connotation, or denotation (e.g. smart, clever, mad).

Some differences in usage and/or meaning can cause confusion or embarrassment. For example, the word fanny is a slang word for vulva in BrE, but means buttocks in AmE – the AmE phrase fanny pack is bum bag in BrE. In AmE the word fag (short for faggot) is a highly offensive term for a gay male, but in BrE it is also a normal and well-used term for a cigarette, or for hard work or a chore. In AmE the word pissed means being annoyed, whereas in BrE it is a coarse word for being drunk (in both varieties, pissed off means irritated).

Sometimes the confusion is more subtle. In AmE the word quite used as a qualifier is generally a reinforcement: e.g. "I'm quite hungry" means "I'm very hungry". In BrE quite (which is much more common in conversation) can have this meaning, as in "quite right" or "quite mad", but it more commonly means "somewhat", so that in BrE "I'm quite hungry" can mean "I'm somewhat hungry". This divergence of use can lead to misunderstanding.

Frequency

  • In the UK, the word whilst is historically acceptable as a conjunction (as an alternative to while, especially prevalent in some dialects). In AmE only while is used in both contexts.[citation needed]
  • In the UK, generally the term fall meaning "autumn" is obsolete. Although found often from Elizabethan Literature to Victorian literature, continued understanding of the word is usually ascribed to its continued use in America.[citation needed]
  • In the UK, the term period for a full stop is now obsolete, while in AmE the term full stop is rarely, if ever, used for the punctuation mark. For example, Tony Blair said, "Terrorism is wrong, full stop", whereas in AmE, "Terrorism is wrong, period."[54]

Social and cultural differences

Lexical items that reflect separate social and cultural development.

Education

School
The naming of school years in British (except Scotland) and American English
Age range British English American English
Name Alternative name Syllabus Name Alternative name
1 - 4 Preschool (optional)  
Nursery Playgroup Foundation Stage 1    
4 - 5 Primary school Preschool
Reception Infants reception Foundation Stage 2 Pre-kindergarten  
5 - 6 Year 1 Infants year 1 Key Stage 1 Kindergarten
Elementary school
6 - 7 Year 2 Infants year 2 1st grade  
7 - 8 Year 3 Junior year 3 Key Stage 2 2nd grade  
8 - 9 Year 4 Junior year 4 3rd grade  
9 - 10 Year 5 Junior year 5 4th grade  
10 - 11 Year 6 Junior year 6 5th grade  
11 - 12 Secondary school Middle school Junior high school
Year 7 First form[55] Key Stage 3 6th grade  
12 - 13 Year 8 Second form 7th grade  
13 - 14 Year 9 Third form 8th grade  
14 - 15 Year 10 Fourth form Key Stage 4, GCSE High school
9th grade Freshman year
15 - 16 Year 11 Fifth form 10th grade Sophomore year
16 - 17 Sixth form (optional) 11th grade Junior year
Year 12 Lower sixth Key Stage 5, A level
17 - 18 Year 13 Upper sixth 12th grade Senior year

In the UK, the US equivalent of a high school is often referred to as a secondary school regardless of whether it is state funded or private. Secondary education in the United States also includes middle school or junior high school, a two or three year transitional school between elementary school and high school.

A public school has opposite meanings in the two countries. In the US this is a government-owned institution supported by taxpayers. In England and Wales, the term strictly refers to an ill-defined group of prestigious private independent schools funded by students' fees, although it is often more loosely used to refer to any independent school. Independent schools are also known as private schools, and the latter is the correct term in Scotland and Northern Ireland for all such fee-funded schools. Strictly, the term public school is not used in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the same sense as in England, but nevertheless, Gordonstoun, the Scottish private school which Charles, Prince of Wales attended, is sometimes referred to as a public school. Government-funded schools in Scotland and Northern Ireland are properly referred to as state schools – but are sometimes confusingly referred to as public schools (with the same meaning as in the US); whereas in the US, where most public schools are administered by local governments, a state school is typically a college or university run by one of the states.

Speakers in both the United States and the United Kingdom use several additional terms for specific types of secondary schools. A US prep school or preparatory school is an independent school funded by tuition fees; the same term is used in the UK for a private school for pupils under thirteen, designed to prepare them for fee-paying public schools. An American parochial school covers costs through tuition and has affiliation with a religious institution. In England, where the state-funded education system grew from parish schools organised by the local established church, the Church of England (C. of E., or C.E.), and many schools, especially primary schools (up to age 11) retain a church connection and are known as church schools, C.E. Schools or C.E. (Aided) Schools. There are also faith schools associated with the Roman Catholic Church and other major faiths, with a mixture of funding arrangements.

In the US, a magnet school receives government funding and has special admission requirements: students gain admission through superior performance on admission tests. The UK has city academies, which are independent privately sponsored schools run with public funding, and which can select up to 10% of pupils by aptitude. Also, in the UK four Local Education Authorities retain selection by ability at eleven. They maintain Grammar Schools (State funded secondary schools) which admit pupils according to performance in an examination (known as the 11+) and Secondary Modern Schools for those who fail. Secondary modern schools are often referred to as High Schools. Grammar Schools cream from 10% to 23% of those who sit the exam. Private schools can also call themselves Grammar schools.

University

In the UK, a university student is said to study, to read or informally simply to do a subject. In the recent past the expression 'to read a subject' was more common at the older universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. In the US, a student studies or majors in a subject (although concentration or emphasis is also used in some US colleges or universities to refer to the major subject of study). To major in something refers to the student's principal course of study, while to study may refer to any class being taken.

BrE:

"She did biology at Warwick." (informal)
"She studied biology at Cambridge."
"She read biology at Cambridge."

AmE:

"She majored in biology at Harvard."
"She concentrated on biology at Harvard."

At university level in BrE, each module is taught by a lecturer or tutor, while professor is the job-title of a senior academic. In AmE, each class is generally taught by a professor (although some US tertiary educational institutions follow the BrE usage), while the position of lecturer is occasionally given to individuals hired on a temporary basis to teach one or more classes and who may or not have a doctoral degree.

The word course in American use typically refers to the study of a restricted topic (for example, a course in Early Medieval England, a course in Integral Calculus) over a limited period of time (such as a semester or term) and is equivalent to a module at a British university. In the UK, a course of study is likely to refer to a whole program of study, which may extend over several years, and be made up of any number of modules.

General terms

In the UK, a student is said to sit or take an exam, while in the US, a student takes an exam. The expression he sits for an exam also arises in BrE, but only rarely in AmE; American lawyers-to-be sit for their bar exams, and American master's and doctoral students may sit for their comprehensive exams, but in nearly all other instances, Americans take their exams. When preparing for an exam, students revise (BrE)/review (AmE) what they have studied; the BrE idiom to revise for has the equivalent to review for in AmE.

Examinations are supervised by invigilators in the UK and proctors (or (exam) supervisors) in the US (a proctor in the UK is an official responsible for student discipline at the University of Oxford or Cambridge). In the UK, a teacher sets an exam, while in the US, a teacher writes or gives an exam.

BrE:

"I sat my Spanish exam yesterday."
"I plan to set a difficult exam for my students, but I don't have it ready yet."

AmE:

"I took my exams at Yale."
"I spent the entire day yesterday writing the exam. I'm almost ready to give it to my students."

Another source of confusion is the different usage of the word college. (See a full international discussion of the various meanings at college.) In the US, this refers to a post-high school institution that grants either associate's or bachelor's degrees, while in the UK it refers primarily to an institution between secondary school and university (normally referred to as a Sixth Form College after the old name in secondary education for Years 12 and 13, the 6th form) where intermediary courses such as A Levels or NVQs can be taken and GCSE courses can be retaken. College may sometimes be used in the UK or in Commonwealth countries as part of the name of a secondary or high school (for example, Dubai College). In the case of Oxford, Cambridge, Aberdeen, London, Lancaster and Durham universities, all members are also members of a college which is part of the university, for example, one is a member of St. Peter's College, Oxford and hence the University (Trinity College and University College in Dublin, however, are both independent institutions).

In both the US and UK, college can refer to some division within a university such as the "college of business and economics". Institutions in the US that offer two to four years of post-high school education often have the word college as part of their name, while those offering more advanced degrees are called a university. (There are exceptions, of course: Boston College, Dartmouth College and The College of William & Mary are examples of colleges that offer advanced degrees, while Vincennes University is an unusual example of a "university" that mostly offers only associate's degrees.) American students who pursue a bachelor's degree (four years of higher education) or an associate degree (two years of higher education) are college students regardless of whether they attend a college or a university and refer to their educational institutions informally as colleges. A student who pursues a master's degree or a doctorate degree in the arts and sciences is in AmE a graduate student; in BrE a postgraduate student although graduate student also sometimes used. Students of advanced professional programs are known by their field (business student, law student, medical student, the last of which is frequently shortened to med student). Some universities also have a residential college system, the details of which may vary from school to school but generally involve common living and dining spaces as well as college-organized activities.

"Professor" has different meanings in BrE and AmE. In BrE, it is the highest academic rank, followed by Reader, Senior Lecturer and Lecturer. In AmE "Professor" refers to academic staff of all ranks, with (Full) Professor (largely equivalent to the UK meaning) followed by Associate Professor and Assistant Professor.

There is additionally a difference between American and British usage in the word school. In British usage "school" by itself refers only to primary (elementary) and secondary (high) schools, and to sixth forms attached to secondary schools – if one "goes to school", this type of institution is implied. By contrast, an American student at a university may talk of "going to school" or "being in school". US law students and medical students almost universally speak in terms of going to "law school" and "med school", respectively. However, the word is used in BrE in the context of higher education to describe a division grouping together several related subjects within a university, for example a "School of European Languages" containing departments for each language, and also in the term "art school". It is also the name of some of the constituent colleges of the University of London, e.g. School of Oriental and African Studies, London School of Economics.

Among high school and college students in the United States, the words freshman (or the gender-neutral term frosh or first year), sophomore, junior and senior refer to the first, second, third, and fourth years, respectively. For first-year students, "frosh" is another gender-neutral term that can be used as a qualifier, for example "Frosh class elections". It is important that the context of either high school or college first be established, or else it must be stated directly (that is, She is a high school freshman. He is a college junior.). Many institutions in both countries also use the term first-year as a gender-neutral replacement for freshman, although in the US this is recent usage, formerly referring only to those in the first year as a graduate student. One exception is the University of Virginia; since its founding in 1819, the terms "first-year", "second-year", "third-year", and "fourth-year" have been used to describe undergraduate university students. At the United States military academies, at least those operated directly by the federal government, a different terminology is used, namely "fourth class", "third class", "second class", and "first class" (the order of numbering is the reverse of the number of years in attendance). In the UK, first year university students are often called freshers, especially early in the academic year; however, there are no specific names for those in other years, or for school pupils. Graduate and professional students in the United States are known by their year of study—such as a "second-year medical student" or a "fifth-year doctoral candidate." Law students are often referred to as "1L", "2L", or "3L" rather than "nth-year law students"; similarly, medical students are frequently referred to as "M1", "M2", "M3", or "M4").

While anyone in the US who finishes studying at any educational institution by passing relevant examinations is said to graduate and to be a graduate, in the UK only degree and above level students can graduate. Student itself has a wider meaning in AmE, meaning any person of any age studying at any educational institution, whereas in BrE it tends to be used for people studying at a post-secondary educational institution and the term pupil is widely used for a young person at secondary school.

The names of individual institutions can be confusing. There are several "University High Schools" in the United States that are not affiliated with any post-secondary institutions and cannot grant degrees, and there is one public high school, Central High School of Philadelphia, which does grant bachelor's degrees to the top ten percent of graduating seniors. British secondary schools often have the word 'college' in their names.

Transport/Transportation

Americans refer to transportation and British people to transport.[56] (Transportation in Britain has traditionally meant the punishment of criminals by deporting them to an overseas penal colony.) British use of the word communications encompasses the movement of goods and people as well as of messages, whereas in America the word primarily refers to facilities established for the sending and receiving of messages by post or electronic transmission. The latter are normally referred to in British English as telecommunications.

Differences in terminology are especially obvious in the context of roads. The British term dual carriageway, in American parlance, would be a divided highway. Central reservation on a motorway in the UK would be a median or center divide on a freeway, expressway, highway, or parkway in the US. The one-way lanes that make it possible to enter and leave such roads at an intermediate point without disrupting the flow of traffic are generally known as slip roads in the UK, but US civil engineers call them ramps, and further distinguish between on-ramps (for entering) and off-ramps (for leaving). When American engineers speak of slip roads, they are referring to a street that runs alongside the main road (separated by a berm) to allow off-the-highway access to the premises that are there, sometimes also known as a frontage road – in both the US and UK this is also known as a service road.

In the UK, the term outside lane refers to the higher-speed overtaking lane (passing lane in the US) closest to the center of the road, while inside lane refers to the lane closer to the edge of the road. In the US, outside lane is only used in the context of a turn, in which case it depends on which direction the road is turning (i.e., if the road bends right the left lane is the outside lane, but if the road bends left the right lane is the outside lane). Both also refer to slow and fast lanes (even though all actual traffic speeds may be at or even above the legal speed limit).

In the UK, drink driving is against the law, while in the US the term is drunk driving. The legal term in the US is driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The equivalent legal phrase in the UK is drunk in charge of a motor vehicle (DIC), or more commonly driving with excess alcohol.

Specific auto parts and transport terms have different names in the two dialects, for example:

UK US
B road rural road[57]
bonnet hood[58]
boot trunk[59][58]
bumper fender[57]
car park parking lot[57]
dual carriageway divided highway[58]
estate car station wagon[57]
flyover overpass[57]
gearbox transmission[58]
juggernaut 18 wheeler[60]
lorry truck[59]
articulated lorry trailer truck[57]
motorway or M road freeway[60]
pavement sidewalk[60]
petrol gasoline or gas[58]
saloon sedan[61]
silencer muffler[58]
spanner wrench[59][58]
ticking over idling[60]
windscreen windshield[58]

Television

In American television, the episodes of a show first broadcast in a particular year constitute a season, while the entire run of a show – which may span several seasons – is called a series. In British television, on the other hand, the word series may apply to the run of a show in one particular year, e.g. "The 1998 series of Grange Hill", referring to a programme which ran on British television for 30 years.

Levels of buildings

There are also variations in floor numbering between the US and UK. In most countries, including the UK, the "first floor" is one above the entrance level while the entrance level is the "ground floor". On (BrE) lift / (AmE) elevator buttons in the UK the Ground Floor is often denoted by the letter G, or the number 0. Normal American usage labels the entrance level as the "first floor" or the "ground floor", the floor immediately above that is the "second floor".

American (AmE) apartment buildings / (BrE) blocks of flats frequently are exceptions to this rule. The ground floor often contains the lobby and parking area for the tenants, while the numbered floors begin one level above and contain only the apartments themselves.

Units and measurement

Numbers

See also: Names of numbers in English

When saying or writing out numbers, the British will typically insert an and before the tens and units, as in one hundred and sixty-two or two thousand and three. In America, it is considered correct to drop the and, as in two thousand three.

Some American schools teach students to pronounce decimally written fractions (e.g. .5) as though they were longhand fractions (five tenths), such as thirteen and seven tenths for 13.7. This formality is often dropped in common speech and is steadily disappearing in instruction in mathematics and science as well as in international American schools. In the UK, 13.7 would be read thirteen point seven, and 13 710 would be pronounced thirteen and seven tenths.

In counting, it is common in both varieties of English to count in hundreds up to 1,900 – so 1,200 may be twelve hundred. However, Americans use this pattern for much higher numbers than is the norm in British English, referring to twenty-four hundred where British English would most often use two thousand four hundred. Even below 2,000, Americans are more likely than the British are to read numbers like 1,234 as twelve hundred thirty-four, instead of one thousand two hundred and thirty-four. In BrE, it is also common to use phrases such as three and a half thousand for 3,500, whereas in AmE this construction is almost never used for numbers under a million.

In the case of years, however, twelve thirty-four would be the norm on both sides of the Atlantic for the year 1234. The year 2000 and years beyond it are read as two thousand, two thousand (and) one and the like by both British and American speakers. For years after 2009, twenty ten, twenty twelve etc. are becoming common.

For the house number (or bus number, etc.) 272, British people tend to say two seven two while Americans tend to say two seventy-two.

There is also a historical difference between billions, trillions, and so forth. Americans use billion to mean one thousand million (1,000,000,000), whereas in the UK, until the latter part of the 20th century, it was used to mean one million million (1,000,000,000,000). The British prime minister, Harold Wilson, in 1974, told the House of Commons that UK government statistics would now use the short scale; followed by the Chancellor, Denis Healey, in 1975, that the treasury would now adopt the US billion version. One thousand million was sometimes described as a milliard, the definition adopted by most other European languages. However, the "American" version has since been adopted for all published writing, and the word milliard is obsolete in English, as are billiard (but not billiards, the game), trilliard and so on. However, the term yard, derived from milliard, is still used in the financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic to mean "one thousand million". All major British publications and broadcasters, including the BBC, which long used thousand million to avoid ambiguity, now use billion to mean thousand million.

Many people have no direct experience with manipulating numbers this large, and many non-American readers may interpret billion as 1012 (even if they are young enough to have been taught otherwise at school); also, usage of the "long" billion is standard in some non-English speaking countries. For these reasons, defining the word may be advisable when writing for the public. See long and short scales for a more detailed discussion of the evolution of these terms in English and other languages.

When referring to the numeral 0, British people would normally use nought, oh or zero, although nil is common in sports scores. Americans use the term zero most frequently; oh is also often used (though never when the quantity in question is nothing), and occasionally slang terms such as zilch or zip. Phrases such as the team won two–zip or the team leads the series, two–nothing are heard when reporting sports scores. In the case of association football—known as "football" in Britain and "soccer" in America—Americans will sometimes use "nil" as in Britain, although this usage is mostly confined to soccer journalists and hardcore fans, and is not universal among either group. The digit 0, for example, when reading a phone or account number aloud, is nearly always pronounced oh in both language varieties for the sake of convenience. In the internet age, the use of the term oh can cause certain inconveniences when one is referencing an email address, causing confusion as to whether the character in question is a zero or the letter O.

When reading numbers in a sequence, such as a telephone or serial number, British people will usually use the terms double or triple/treble followed by the repeated number. Hence, 007 is double oh seven. Exceptions are the emergency telephone number 999, which is always nine nine nine, and the apocalyptic "Number of the Beast", which is always six six six. In the US, 911 (the US emergency telephone number) is usually read nine one one, while 9/11 (in reference to the September 11, 2001 attacks) is usually read nine eleven.

Monetary amounts

  • Monetary amounts in the range of one to two major currency units are often spoken differently. In AmE one may say a dollar fifty or a pound eighty, whereas in BrE these amounts would be expressed one dollar fifty and one pound eighty. For amounts over a dollar, an American will generally either drop denominations or give both dollars and cents, as in two-twenty or two dollars and twenty cents for $2.20. An American would not say two dollars twenty. On the other hand, in BrE, two pounds twenty would be the most common form.
  • It is more common to hear a British-English speaker say one thousand two hundred dollars than a thousand and two hundred dollars, although the latter construct is common in AmE. The term twelve hundred dollars, popular in AmE, is frequently used in BrE but only for exact multiples of 100 up to 1900. Speakers of BrE very rarely hear amounts over 1900 expressed in hundreds, for example twenty-three hundred.
  • In BrE, particularly in television or radio advertisements, integers can be pronounced individually in the expression of amounts. For example, on sale for £399 might be expressed on sale for three nine nine, though the full Three hundred and ninety-nine pounds is at least as common. An American advertiser would almost always say on sale for three ninety-nine. In British English the latter pronunciation implies a value in pence, so three ninety-nine would be understood as £3.99.
  • The BrE slang term quid is roughly equivalent to the AmE buck and both are often used in the two respective dialects for round amounts, as in fifty quid for £50 and twenty bucks for $20. A hundred and fifty grand in either dialect could refer to £150,000 or $150,000 depending on context. Quid was formerly also used in Ireland for the punt and today is used for the euro. "Quid" does not have a plural form but "buck" does.
  • A user of AmE may hand-write the mixed monetary amount $3.24 as $324 or $324 (often seen for extra clarity on a check); BrE users will always write this as £3.24, £3·24 or, for extra clarity on a cheque, as £3—24. In all cases there may or may not be a space after the currency symbol, or the currency symbols may be omitted depending on context.[62]
  • In order to make explicit the amount in words on a check, Americans write three and 24100 (using this solidus construction or with a horizontal division line): they do not need to write the word dollars as it is usually already printed on the check. UK residents, on a cheque, would write three pounds and 24 pence, three pounds 24 or three pounds 24p, since the currency unit is not preprinted. To make unauthorized amendment difficult, it is useful to have an expression terminator even when a whole number of dollars/pounds is in use: thus Americans would write three and 00100 or three and no100 on a three-dollar check (so that it cannot easily be changed to, for example, three million) and UK residents would write three pounds only, or three pounds exactly.[63]
  • The term pound sign in BrE always refers to the currency symbol £, whereas in AmE pound sign means the number sign, which the British call the hash symbol, #. (From the 1960s through the 1990s, the British telephone company The GPO and its successors Post Office Telecommunications, British Telecom and BT Group, referred to this as gate on telephone keypads.)
  • In spoken BrE, the word pound is sometimes colloquially used for the plural as well. For example, three pound forty and twenty pound a week are sometimes both heard in British English. Some other currencies do not change in the plural; yen, rand and euro being examples. This is in addition to normal adjectival use, as in a twenty pound a week pay-rise.
  • In BrE, the use of p instead of pence is common in spoken usage. Each of the following has equal legitimacy: three pounds, twelve p, three pounds and twelve p, three pounds, twelve pence, three pounds and twelve pence, as well as just eight p or eight pence.
  • AmE uses words like nickel, dime, and quarter for small coins. In BrE, the usual usage is 10-pence piece or 10p piece for any coin below £1, with piece sometimes omitted, but pound coin and two-pound coin. BrE did have specific words for a number of coins before decimalisation.

Dates

Dates are usually written differently in the short (numerical) form. Christmas Day 2000, for example, is 25/12/00 or 25.12.00 (dashes are occasionally used) in the UK and 12/25/00 in the US, although the formats 25/12/2000, 25.12.2000, and 12/25/2000 now have more currency than they had before the Year 2000 problem. Occasionally other formats are encountered, such as the ISO 8601 2000-12-25, popular among programmers, scientists, and others seeking to avoid ambiguity, and to make alphanumerical order coincide with chronological order. The difference in short-form date order can lead to misunderstanding. For example, 06/04/05 could mean either June 4, 2005 (if read as US format), 6 April 2005 (if seen as in UK format), or even 5 April 2006 if taken to be an older ISO 8601-style format where 2-digit years were allowed.

A consequence of the different short-form of dates is that, in the UK, many people would be reluctant to refer to "9/11", although its meaning would be instantly understood. On the BBC, "September the 11th" is generally used in preference to 9/11. However, 9/11 is commonplace in the British press to refer to the events of September 11, 2001.

When using the word of the month, rather than the number, to write a date e.g. April 21, both that and 21 April are used in the UK,[64] but as a rule only April 21 would be seen in the U.S.

Phrases such as the following are common in Britain but are generally unknown in the U.S: "A week today", "a week tomorrow", "a week on Tuesday", "a week Tuesday", "Tuesday week" (this is found in central Texas), "Friday fortnight", "a fortnight on Friday" and "a fortnight Friday" (these latter referring to two weeks after "next Friday"). In the US the standard construction is "a week from today", "a week from tomorrow" etc. BrE speakers may also say "Thursday last" or "Thursday gone" where AmE would prefer "last Thursday". "I'll see you (on) Thursday coming" or "Let's meet this coming Thursday" in BrE refer to a meeting later this week, while "Not until Thursday next" refers to one next week.

Time

The 24-hour clock (18:00 or 1800) is considered normal in the UK and Europe in many applications including air, rail and bus timetables; it is largely unused in the US outside of military, police and medical applications.

Fifteen minutes after the hour is called quarter past in British usage and a quarter after or, less commonly, a quarter past in American usage. Fifteen minutes before the hour is usually called quarter to in British usage and a quarter of, a quarter to or a quarter till in American usage; the form a quarter to is associated with parts of the Northern United States, while a quarter till is found chiefly in the Appalachian region. Thirty minutes after the hour is commonly called half past in both BrE and AmE; half after used to be more common in the US. In informal British speech, the preposition is sometimes omitted, so that 5:30 may be referred to as half five. The AmE formations top of the hour and bottom of the hour are not commonly used in BrE. Forms like eleven forty are common in both dialects.

Greetings

When Christmas is explicitly mentioned in a greeting, the universal phrasing in North America is Merry Christmas. In the UK, Happy Christmas is also heard. It is increasingly common for Americans to say Happy Holidays, referring to all winter holidays (Christmas, Yule, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, Diwali, St. Lucia Day and Kwanzaa) while avoiding any specific religious reference, though this is rarely, if ever, heard in the UK. Season's Greetings is a less common phrase in both America and Britain.

Idiosyncratic differences

Figures of speech

Both BrE and AmE use the expression "I couldn't care less" to mean the speaker does not care at all. Speakers of AmE sometimes state this as "I could care less", literally meaning precisely the opposite. Intonation no longer reflects the originally sarcastic nature of this variant, which is not idiomatic in BrE.

In both areas, saying, "I don't mind" often means, "I'm not annoyed" (for example, by someone's smoking), while "I don't care" often means, "The matter is trivial or boring". However, in answering a question like "Tea or coffee?", if either alternative is equally acceptable, an American may answer, "I don't care", while a British person may answer, "I don't mind". Either sounds odd to the other.

In BrE, the phrase I can't be arsed (to do something) is a vulgar equivalent to the British or American I can't be bothered (to do it). To non-BrE speakers this may be confused with the Southern English pronunciation of I can't be asked (to do that thing), which sounds either defiantly rude or nonsensical.

Old BrE often uses the exclamation "No fear!" where current AmE has "No way!" An example from Dorothy L. Sayers:

Q.: Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?
A.: No fear!
— from A Catechism for Pre- and Post-Christian Anglicans

This usage may confuse users of AmE, who are likely to interpret and even use "No fear!" as enthusiastic willingness to move forward.

Equivalent Idioms

A number of English idioms that have essentially the same meaning show lexical differences between the British and the American version; for instance:

British English American English
not touch something with a bargepole not touch something with a ten-foot pole
sweep under the carpet sweep under the rug
touch wood knock on wood
see the wood for the trees see the forest for the trees
throw a spanner (in the works) throw a (monkey) wrench (in the works)
tuppence worth
also two pennies' worth, two pence worth, two pennyworth,
two penny'th, or (using a different coin) ha'penny'th)
two cents' worth, sometimes shortened to two cents
skeleton in the cupboard skeleton in the closet
a home from home a home away from home
blow one's trumpet blow (or toot) one's horn
a drop in the ocean a drop in the bucket[1]
storm in a teacup tempest in a teapot
flogging a dead horse beating a dead horse
haven't (got) a clue don't have a clue or have no clue
a new lease of life a new lease on life
if the cap fits (wear it) if the shoe fits (wear it)
lie of the land lay of the land

In some cases, the "American" variant is also used in BrE, or vice versa.

Writing

Spelling

In the early 18th century, English spelling was not standardized. Different standards became noticeable after the publishing of influential dictionaries. Current BrE spellings follow, for the most part, those of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755). Many of the now characteristic AmE spellings were introduced, although often not created, by Noah Webster in his An American Dictionary of the English Language of 1828.

Webster was a strong proponent of spelling reform for reasons both philological and nationalistic. Many other spelling changes proposed in the US by Webster himself, and, in the early 20th century, by the Simplified Spelling Board never caught on. Among the advocates of spelling reform in England, the influences of those who preferred the Norman (or Anglo-French) spellings of certain words proved decisive. Subsequent spelling adjustments in the UK had little effect on present-day US spelling, and vice versa. While, in many cases, AmE deviated in the 19th century from mainstream British spelling; on the other hand, it has also often retained older forms.

Punctuation

  • Full stops/Periods in abbreviations: Americans tend to write Mr., Mrs., St., Dr., while British will most often write Mr, Mrs, St, Dr, following the rule that a full stop is used only when the last letter of the abbreviation is not the last letter of the complete word. This kind of abbreviation is known as a contraction in the UK. Still, many British writers would also tend to write other abbreviations without a full stop, such as Prof, etc, eg, and so forth (as recommended by OED). The use of periods after most abbreviations can also be found in the UK, although publications generally tend to eschew the use of American punctuation. Unit symbols such as kg and Hz are never punctuated.
  • Both styles hyphenate multiple-word adjectives (e.g. "a first-class ticket"), but some British writers omit the hyphen when no ambiguity would arise.
  • Quoting: Americans begin their quotations with double quotation marks (") and use single quotation marks (') for quotations within quotations. BrE usage varies, with some authoritative sources such as The Economist and The Times recommending the same usage as in the U.S.[65], whereas other authoritative sources, such as The King's English, recommend single quotation marks.[66] In journals and newspapers, quotation mark double/single use depends on the individual publication's house style
  • Quotation marks with periods and commas: Americans always place commas and periods inside quotation marks. Exceptions are made only for parenthetical citation and cases in which the addition of a period or comma could create confusion, such as the quotation of web addresses or certain types of data strings. In both styles, question marks and exclamation points are placed inside the quotation marks if they belong to the quotation and outside otherwise. With narration of direct speech, both styles retain punctuation inside the quotation marks, with a full stop changing into a comma if followed by explanatory text, also known as a dialogue tag.
    • Carefree means "free from care or anxiety." (American style)
    • Carefree means "free from care or anxiety". (British style)
    • "Hello, John," I said. (Both styles)
    • Did you say, "I'm shot"? No, I said, "Why not?" (Both styles)
    • To insert a long dash, type "&mdash;". (Both styles)
The American style was established for typographical reasons, a historical legacy from the use of the handset printing press. It is used by most American newspapers, publishing houses, and style guides in the United States and Canada (including the Modern Language Association's MLA Style Manual, the American Psychological Association's APA Publication Manual, the University of Chicago's Chicago Manual of Style, the American Institute of Physics's AIP Style Manual, the American Medical Association's AMA Manual of Style, the American Political Science Association's APSA Style Manual, the Associated Press' The AP Guide to Punctuation, and the Canadian Public Works' The Canadian Style).[67] It also makes the process of copy editing easier, eliminating the need to decide whether a period or comma belongs to the quotation.[citation needed]
Hart's Rules and the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors call the British style "new" quoting. It is also similar to the use of quotation marks in many other languages (including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Catalan, Dutch, and German). A few U.S. professional societies whose professions frequently employ various non-word characters, such as chemistry and computer programming, use the British form in their style guides (see ACS Style Guide). According to the Jargon File, American hackers switched to what they later discovered to be the British quotation system because placing a period inside a quotation mark can change the meaning of data strings that are meant to be typed character-for-character.[68] (It may be noted that the current American system places periods and commas outside the quotes in these cases anyway.)
  • Parentheses/brackets:

Parentheses in American English, brackets in British English.

In both countries, standard usage is to place punctuation inside or outside parentheses/brackets according to the stop:
  • "I am going to the store. (I hope it is still open.)"
  • "I am going to the shop (if it is still open)."

Titles and headlines

Use of capitalization varies.

Sometimes, the words in titles of publications, newspaper headlines, as well as chapter and section headings are capitalized in the same manner as in normal sentences (sentence case). That is, only the first letter of the first word is capitalized, along with proper nouns, etc.

However, publishers sometimes require additional words in titles and headlines to have the initial capital, for added emphasis, as it is often perceived as appearing more professional. In AmE, this is common in titles, but less so in newspaper headlines. The exact rules differ between publishers and are often ambiguous; a typical approach is to capitalize all words other than short articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. This should probably be regarded as a common stylistic difference, rather than a linguistic difference, as neither form would be considered incorrect or unusual in either the UK or the US. Many British tabloid newspapers (such as The Sun, The Daily Sport, News of the World) use fully capitalized headlines for impact, as opposed to readability (for example, BERLIN WALL FALLS or BIRD FLU PANIC). On the other hand, the broadsheets (such as The Guardian, The Times, and The Independent) usually follow the sentence style of having only the first letter of the first word capitalized.

Keyboard layouts

See: British and American keyboards

See also

Sources

  • Algeo, John (2006). British or American English?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37993-8.
  • Hargraves, Orin (2003). Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515704-4
  • McArthur, Tom (2002). The Oxford Guide to World English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866248-3.
  • Peters, Pam (2004). The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62181-X.
  • Trudgill, Peter and Jean Hannah. (2002). International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th ed. London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-80834-9

References

  1. ^ Even in vocabulary. "A British reader of Time or Newsweek would note distinctly American expressions only a few times on any page, matching the few distinctly British expressions an American reader of The Economist would note." Edward Finegan in Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-first Century. Eds: Charles Albert Ferguson, Edward Finegan, Shirley Brice Heath, John R. Rickford (Cambridge University Press, 2004).pp29. See also Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp304.
  2. ^ "Standard English is essentially written, printed English, seen in the textbooks, newspapers, and periodicals of the world - and also, these days on the WWW. It is largely identical in its global manifestation; we must allow only for the small amount of variation in vocab, grammar, and spelling which make up the differences between Am, Br, Aus, and other 'regional' standards." David Crystal, "The Past Present and Future of World English" in Andreas Gardt, Bernd-Rüdiger Hüppauf, Bernd Huppauf (eds) Globalization and the future of German (Walter de Gruyter, 2004). pp39.
  3. ^ NB: 'standard English' as used to describe written and spoken international English is a more contentious usage.
    "standard English: In Sociolinguistics, a much debated term for the VARIETY of English used as a communicative norm throughout the English-speaking world. The notion has become increasingly difficult to handle because of the emergence of differing national standards of usage (in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and spelling) in areas where large numbers of people speak English as a first or second language." [sic]
    David Crystal, A Dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics (Blackwell Publishing, 2003). pp431
  4. ^ Labov, William; Sharon Ash; & Charles Boberg. (2006). Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 311-016746-8. Compare with Labov, Ash, & Boberg. (1997). A national map of the regional dialects of American English. Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania. [1]. Accessed 16 April 2007.
  5. ^ Kirby, Terry (2007-03-28), "Are regional dialects dying out, and should we care if they are?", The Independent, http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2398845.ece 
  6. ^ For the most part, American vocabulary, phonology, and syntax are used, to various extents, in Canada; therefore, many prefer to refer to North American English rather than American English (Trudgill and Hannah, 2002). Nonetheless, Canadian English features also many British English items, and is often described as a unique blend of the two main varieties.
  7. ^ Indian English has actually more English language speakers than the total of North American, British, Australian, and New Zealand combined (Crystal, 2005). [2] Indian English speakers typically are learning multiple first languages within an English-as-a-foreign-language context which has a decided impact on the phonological structure of Indian English.
  8. ^ Peters, p. 23
  9. ^ learnenglish.org.uk
  10. ^ Instructions to Secretaries of Committees, Cabinet Office, nd
  11. ^ Peters, p. 24
  12. ^ Chapman, James A. Grammar and Composition IV. 3d ed. Pensacola: A Beka Book, 2002.
  13. ^ "The names of sports teams, on the other hand, are treated as plurals, regardless of the form of that name."[3]
  14. ^ Peters, pp. 165 and 316.
  15. ^ Algeo, pp. 15ff.
  16. ^ Peters, p. 322.
  17. ^ Peters, p. 208.
  18. ^ Peters, p. 512
  19. ^ Peters, p. 487.
  20. ^ prove - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  21. ^ Peters, p. 446.
  22. ^ boughten. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000
  23. ^ http://www.perfectyourenglish.com/writing/american-and-british-usage-2.htm "Conditional would is sometimes used in both clauses of an if-sentence. This is common in spoken American English."
  24. ^ Pearson Longman, Longman Exams Dictionary, grammar guide: It is possible to use would in both clauses in US English but not in British English: US: The blockades wouldn't happen if the police would be firmer with the strikers. Br: The blockades wouldn't happen if the police were firmer with the strikers.
  25. ^ a b http://www.lingua.org.uk/eq&a.html
  26. ^ http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=5478593&postcount=6 To stress willingness of wish, you can use would or will in both clauses of the same sentence: If the band would rehearse more, they would play better. If the band will rehearse more, they will play better. Both mean the same. (based on the examples and explanations from Practical English Usage, Michael Swan, Oxford)
  27. ^ Peters, pp. 520 f.
  28. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shall#Current_common_usage
  29. ^ § 56. shall / will. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996
  30. ^ § 57. should. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996
  31. ^ [4]; Algeo, p. 25.
  32. ^ Possible entries for appeal
  33. ^ Peters, p. 343.
  34. ^ Peters, p. 515.
  35. ^ Peters, p. 67.
  36. ^ Algeo, p. 248.
  37. ^ Algeo, p. 247
  38. ^ Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  39. ^ Algeo, p. 245.
  40. ^ p. 245.
  41. ^ Algeo, p. 186; Peters, pp. 400–401.
  42. ^ Algeo, p. 186.
  43. ^ p. 175.
  44. ^ Algeo, pp. 163 f.
  45. ^ Partridge, Eric (1947). "Than, different". Usage and Abusage. London: Hamish Hamilton. "The impeccably correct construction is different...from although different to is permissible" 
  46. ^ Staff. "Guardian Style Guide". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/styleguide/page/0,,184835,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-03. "different from or to, not different than" 
  47. ^ Peters, p. 50; cf. OALD.
  48. ^ Language Log: More timewasting garbage, another copy-editing moron
  49. ^ a b Brown Corpus and Lancaster-Oslo-Bergen Corpus, quoted in Peters (2004: 1)
  50. ^ Algeo, p. 49.
  51. ^ Cookbook is now standard in BrE
  52. ^ Crystal states one of the classification problems as
    "We have to allow for words which have at least one [shared] meaning and one or more additional meanings that are specific to either AmE or BrE: an example is caravan, which in the sense of 'group of travellers in the desert' is common to both varieties; but in the sense of 'vehicle towed by a car' it is BrE (=AmE trailer)"
    David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language. 2nd Edition. (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  53. ^ Churchill, Winston (1948-1954). The Second World War, Volume 3: The Grand Alliance. London: Cassell. ISBN 978-0141441740. 
  54. ^ "PM's Press Conference". 10 Downing Street. 26 July 2005. http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/Page7999.asp. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  55. ^ David Else, British language & culture, Lonely Planet, http://books.google.com/books?id=0xUhkogmSS8C&pg=PA45 
  56. ^ Gabay, J. Jonathan (2007) Gabay's copywriters' compendium: the definitive professional writer's guide Elsevier, Oxford, England, page 144, ISBN 978-0-7506-8320-3
  57. ^ a b c d e f Hargis, Toni Summers (2006) Rules, Britannia: An Insider's Guide to Life in the United Kingdom St. Martin's Press, New York, page 63, ISBN 978-0-312-33665-3
  58. ^ a b c d e f g h Baugh, Albert Croll and Cable, Thomas (1993) A History of the English Language (4th edition) Prentice-Hall, New York, page 389, ISBN 0-415-09379-1
  59. ^ a b c Blunt, Jerry (1994) "Special English Words with American Equivalents" Stage Dialects Dramatic Publishing Company, Woodstock, Illinois, page 59, ISBN 0-87129-331-5; originally published in 1967
  60. ^ a b c d Hargis, Toni Summers (2006) Rules, Britannia: An Insider's Guide to Life in the United Kingdom St. Martin's Press, New York, page 64, ISBN 978-0-312-33665-3
  61. ^ "sedanc". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. 1989. "=SALOON 4c. Chiefly N. Amer. (Not used in the U.K.)" 
  62. ^ BSA changes to cheque writing see end of numbered item 9
  63. ^ [5] see end of numbered item 9
  64. ^ Sources for the April 21 format:
    • The Times [6] and The Sunday Times [7]
    • Daily Mail [8] and Mail on Sunday [9]
    • The Herald [10] and The Sunday Herald [11]
    • Swansea Evening Post [12]
    • Western Telegraph [13]
    • Ulster Herald [14]
  65. ^ Economist Staff (1996). "American and British English". The Economist Style Guide (Fourth ed.). London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd. pp. 85. ISBN 0241135567. Tim Austin, Richard Dixon (2003) The Times Style and Usage Guide. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0007145055
  66. ^ http://www.bartleby.com/116/406.html
  67. ^ Other style guides and reference volumes include: U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual (2008, p. 217), US Department of Education's IES Style Guide (2005, p. 43), The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing (1997, p. 148), International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, International Reading Association Style Guide, American Dialect Society, Association of Legal Writing Directors' ALWD Citation Manual, The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference by K. D. Sullivan (2006, p. 52), Webster's New World Punctuation by Geraldine Woods (2005, p. 68), The New Oxford Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane (1994, p. 278, 305, 306), Merriam-Webster's Manual for Writers and Editors by Merriam-Webster (1998, p. 27), Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers‎ by Lynn Troyka, et al. (1993, p. 517), Science and Technical Writing by Philip Rubens (2001, p. 208), Health Professionals Style Manual by Shirley Fondiller, Barbara Nerone (2006, p. 72), The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin (2000, p. 247), The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Straus (2007. p. 61), The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage by Allan M. Siegal, The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge by NY Times Staff (2004, p. 788), The Copyeditor's Handbook by Amy Einsohn (2000, p. 111), The Grammar Bible by Michael Strumpf, Auriel Douglas (2004, p. 446), Elements of Style by William Strunk, Elwyn B. White (1979, p. 36), Little English Handbook by Edward P. J. Corbett (1997, p. 135), Commonsense Grammar and Style by Phillip S. Sparks (2004, p. 18), Handbook of Technical Writing by Gerald Alred, et al. (2006, p. 83, 373), MIT Guide To Science and Engineering Communication by J. Paradis, M. L. Zimmerman (2002, p. 314), Guide to Writing Empirical Papers by G. David Garson (2002, p. 178), Modern English by A.L. Lazarus, A. MacLeish, H. W. Smith (1971, p. 71), The Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers (8th ed.) by John Ruszkiewicz, et al., Comma Sense by Richard Lederer, John Shore (2007, p. 138), Write right! by Jan Venolia (2001, p. 82), Scholastic Journalism by Earl English, Clarence Hach (1962. p. 75), Grammar in Plain English by Harriet Diamond, Phyllis Dutwin (2005, p. 199), Crimes Against the English Language by Jill Meryl Levy (2005, p. 21), The Analytical Writer by Adrienne Robins (1997, p. 524), Writing with a Purpose‎ by James McNab McCrimmon (1973, p. 415), Writing and Reporting News by Carole Rich (2000, p. 60), The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well by Tom Goldstein (2003, p. 163), Woodroof's Quotations, Commas And Other Things English by D.K Woodroof (2005, pp. 10-12), Journalism Language and Expression by Sundara Rajan (2005, p. 76), The Business Writer's Handbook‎ by Gerald Alred, et al. (2006, p. 451), The Business Style Handbook by Helen Cunningham (2002, p. 213), Essentials of English by Vincent Hopper (2000, p. 127).
  68. ^ The Jargon File, Chapter 5. Hacker Writing Style

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