With the spread of American popular culture (movies, books, franchises, etc.) and technical jargon (manuals, Web syntaxes, default spell-check settings, etc.), I'm wondering if there have been any studies on a resulting general change in the use of traditional British English conventions, particularly in places such as Britain and Ireland, in the direction of American conventions.

In particular, I'm looking for the results of systematic studies on the topic, or strong evidence for change or lack of change of British English usage. (For example, the change of a few key conventions over the past 5, 10 or 20 years.)

I refer equally to spoken conventions (e.g., "come and see" vs. "come see") as well as spelling (e.g., "centred" vs. "centered").

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    Well, the second derivative is still negative, anyway. But that's just entropy. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 21:02
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    Web syntaxes seems an odd thing to list; when you consider Sir Berners-Lee country of origin. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 21:03
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    Another factor is the default installation option of many software spell-check features.
    – user63230
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 0:51
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    It's a day ending in y, so it must be time to carp about foreign influence on the language. Half of the time, it is a lazy journalist complaining about a native usage that has simply fallen out of use; otherwise it is a complaint about some neologism that is equally reviled in Cambridge, Mass. and Cambridge, Cambs.
    – choster
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 1:05
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    If questions about trends in dialect use belong at Linguistics and practical questions about grammar and syntax are "off-topic," it's hard to imagine what kind of questions might be allowed here anymore. Perhaps we should just write-protect the question-submission form, congratulate ourselves on a job well done, and call it a day.
    – phenry
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 0:47

3 Answers 3


The flow of expressions between British and American English doesn't just go one way, although I expect today that the predominant direction is from the US to the UK. There is an English professor who has a blog where he talks about Britishisms entering American English.


It seems to me that as English is always in flux as a living language that British English conventions are not in decline but changing as they have naturally done for hundreds of years.

So the notion of a convention within English is the problem as there is none as such. One can't have a true convention in communication within a living language.

The reason that Grammar was dropped from the English Curriculum was because although English grammar is strongly based upon Latin, there were nothing but problems as Latin was a non-evolving language it had fixed conventions which could be followed nicely; unfortunately it could only be followed nicely by the latin language - English moved on and left the conventions of Latin behind. But Latin was never an appropriate basis for English grammar in the first place so was no great loss.

So, the answer is no, Conventions within the English language are not in decline, they are merely evolving; if they exist at all.

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    OP was clearly asking about distinctly British conventions being replaced by American ones. You may want to try again.
    – DougM
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 8:53
  • @DougM And it was answered clearly - English (which American is part of) does NOT have declining conventions - never has never will - they are in flux. Try again yourself. Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 9:27
  • OP is using decline in the sense of a decreased frequency of use.
    – Anonym
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 17:09
  • @user61979 Of course he is - and I stated it is NOT IN DECLINE! Stop voting me down for NO REASON Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 21:35
  • For the Down voters Justify your down votes : Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect. Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 21:39

So you're interested in both the colloquial and the standard... one is enshrined and gradually changing, the other is not quantifiable, at least so far as I've been led to understand. This site is an excellent example of the modalities and descriptive/prescriptive conversations concerning both. You should check it out some time [sic????] damn i also dont know where to put the period, better just put an ellipsis after "some time". Wait, that's a British formulation. Where you say? There, behind me, the period outside of the quotation marks. Well is it allowed if I'm American? Oh... no... it's actually grammatically correct. Never mind.

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