Questions tagged [transatlantic-differences]

Differences between how English is used on one side of the Atlantic compared with on the other side; specifically, the difference between Canadian and American English on one side and Irish and British English on the other.

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98
votes
8answers
19k views

Which is correct: “__ is different from __” or “__ is different than __”?

As someone who learned English later on in life, I was taught that different from is the correct grammar to use: this is different from that. However, it seems these days everyone uses different than ...
70
votes
8answers
17k views

How can I order eggs “over hard” in the UK?

I've recently made a couple of trips to the London area, and I've had a terrible time trying to convince the hotel breakfast cooks that I want my eggs fried "over hard", meaning that both the white ...
67
votes
6answers
5k views

How come 'ou' was reduced to 'o' in the US?

Americans write color and favorite, when others say colour and favourite. How/why did this happen?
58
votes
5answers
490k views

“Fill out a form” or “fill in a form”

Does one fill out a form or does one fill in a form? I've gotten different answers from the people I've asked. Google search results: fill in a form — 14,200,000 fill out a form — 7,000,000
51
votes
3answers
8k views

How did “biscuit” come to have a distinct meaning in North American English?

The Oxford Living Dictionary makes a clear distinction between the usage of biscuit in Britain and North America: British: A small baked unleavened cake, typically crisp, flat, and sweet. ‘a ...
49
votes
5answers
12k views

Why do we say “under the grill”, not “above” or “on” the grill?

I found this sentence in a textbook. It's I cooked the fish slowly on / under the grill. According to the author, the correct answer is under. I also used Google. It turns out that there ...
47
votes
10answers
17k views

Should I say “ATM” or “cashpoint” in the UK?

ATM is an initialism of automated teller machine, coined sometime in the 1970s. I have always considered it an Americanism while its British equivalent has always been cashpoint, Oxford Living ...
31
votes
3answers
184k views

“Programming” versus “programing”: which is preferred?

I was surprised that my spell checker did not complain for programing with one m, so I Googled it, and found on free dictionaries that both forms were acceptable. Which one is more common? Does it ...
29
votes
8answers
9k views

Why do Americans add “The” in front of a team name, but the British do not?

I'm not certain that there is an answer to this one: Americans refer to our teams as The Example: The New York Yankees The British in my experience do not. Example: Manchester United I know ...
28
votes
13answers
59k views

American vs. British English: meaning of “One hundred and fifty”

I've noticed that Americans do not say "and" when speaking numbers: for example, 150 would be pronounced "one hundred fifty". I and most other British-English speakers would pronounce it "one hundred ...
28
votes
7answers
36k views

Why did “sceptical” become “skeptical” in the US?

Compare the following two Google Ngram Viewer charts for sceptical vs. skeptical in American English and British English: British English American English My interpretation of these charts is that: ...
23
votes
4answers
19k views

What is the name for the glove worn to take out baked food from oven, so that touching the hot tray doesn't burn our hands? [closed]

Is there a specific name for the thick glove worn (or may be any cloth used) to touch hot dishes in the oven? For example, we wear a glove and take the dish containing baked food from the oven. It'...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

British Mass Nouns versus American Count Nouns

British English often employs mass nouns where American English would only employ count nouns. Count nouns are nouns which take pluralization and numerical quantifiers like 'many'. Mass nouns can't be ...
21
votes
2answers
14k views

“Closet” vs. “Wardrobe” Why is the first more common in the US?

I believe that speakers on both sides of the pond (i.e. the Atlantic Ocean) are familiar with the terms closet and wardrobe. The first is distinctly American, and the latter is used in the UK. Oxford ...
21
votes
7answers
4k views

Are “traitor” and “trader” pronounced the same?

Are "traitor" and "trader" distinguishable when spoken with any English accent? My English-speaking friends seem to pronounce them exactly the same way.
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does American English still write “glamour” with a “u”?

Why is it that in American English the word glamour retains its u while humour, neighbour, and others have shed it compared with their British spellings?
20
votes
9answers
74k views

What's the difference between “bucket” and “pail”?

What is the difference between bucket and pail? Is there a distinction between the shape of a bucket and the shape of a pail? Are buckets and pails made of different materials? Is there a difference ...
18
votes
5answers
32k views

Why is “t” sometimes pronounced like “d” in American English?

Why, in American English, is the word Italy is pronounced /ˈɪdəli/ and not /ˈɪtəli/? What is the rule that is followed in the pronunciation of Italy to make the letter t pronounced like a d? Why is ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

Why does the term “gondola” refer to BOTH a Venetian canal boat AND an enclosed lift up a mountain? [closed]

The first time I encountered the word “gondola” was as a 20 year old on her first visit to Venice. Gondolas, to me, were written in my memory as a flat, fancy, romantic (and expensive to ride) boat ...
18
votes
3answers
159k views

Which is correct: “I loaned him some money” or “ I lent him some money”?

My Webster's New world Dictionary does not contain the word "loaned" at all, but my Thesaurus does, and the word "lent" is the first synonym listed. My wife, who learned English as a second language ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is the BrE “petrol” called “gas” in AmE?

One of the most conspicuous differences in AmE vs BrE usage is probably that of gasoline (gas) vs petrol to refer to: a light fuel oil that is obtained by distilling petroleum and used in ...
17
votes
5answers
26k views

Is the proper spelling “judgment” or “judgement”?

I always thought the proper spelling was  judgment, but I see  judgement all the time, even in articles, news, etc. Merriam-Webster lists  judgement as a variant spelling for judgment. But is the ...
17
votes
7answers
24k views

How to pronounce fractions larger than a twentieth, where the last digit of the denominator is a 1 or a 2? i.e. one thirtieth is to 30 as _ is to 31

Disclaimer: I speak British English. I've noticed a lot of differences between the way Americans and Brits pronounce numbers.1 Since the question concerns this, I thought it might be appropriate to ...
16
votes
6answers
7k views

The inquisitive tale of “Nosey Parker”

A nosy parker is someone who doesn't mind their own business. They will poke their noses into other people's affairs, and attempt to eke out whatever information they can, the more personal the better....
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are expressions like “gonna”, “wanna” and “shoulda” American English?

As Etymonline suggests, the use of “a” meaning “have” in expressions like “should have” (shoulda), “could have” (coulda) and “would have” (woulda) were almost standard usage until the 17th century: ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

“I've gotten better-looking as I get older” When did “gotten” re-enter the BrEng vernacular?

This summer I went to Ireland, to be more precise Dublin. Overall good weather and good fun. Anyway, while I was staying in Dublin I'd buy the local newspaper and one tabloid headline caught my eye. ...
14
votes
3answers
78k views

“…didn't finish…yet” versus “…haven't finished…yet”

If I worked on something yesterday but it was not finished, which tense should I use? I didn't finish it yet or I haven't finished it yet
14
votes
4answers
66k views

When would one use “burnt” and when would “burned” be more appropriate?

More out of curiosity than anything, when would one use "burnt" and when would "burned" be appropriate? For example, This coffee tastes burnt. This coffee tastes burned. or They burnt the ...
13
votes
8answers
149k views

Is there a rule in British English about how to pronounce “either”?

There are two common pronunciations of "either": British /ˈaɪðər/ and American /ˈiːðər/. If Americans are more or less consistent in this regard, then the Brits seem to be freely using both. In fact, ...
13
votes
2answers
56k views

What’s the difference between “tire” and “tyre”?

Basically, everything is in the title. I've seen on the web that tire is US English, while tyre is British English. But then I asked some British friends graduating in Language and Literature, and ...
13
votes
2answers
828 views

When did drowning men stop “catching at straws”?

‘grasping at straws’ vs. ‘clutching at straws’ Some sustain that the phrase “grasping at straws” has overtaken that of “clutching at straws”. I read that the former is American while the latter is ...
12
votes
5answers
12k views

The etymology of “redhead” vs. “ginger haired”

All my life I have known people with reddish, orangey hair, to be termed ginger haired. Just as you don't call a blonde a 'yellow head' red head just wasn't a word that was said (wouldn't orange head ...
12
votes
6answers
6k views

Is using the present perfect old fashioned?

I was talking to a Singaporean (English is her native language. I think, closer to American rather than British) friend. I learned in English class that you can use present perfect when there is a ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

“Mx” the gender-neutral honorific

The gender-neutral honorific “Mx” has its own entry in the OED since August 2015, so no one can argue it doesn't exist. According to The Sunday Times, central and local governments have been quietly ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Is the phrasal verb “buck up” used only in British English, not in American English?

Is the phrasal verb buck up used only in British English? I’ve never heard an American use the word buck up to mean cheer up; I suspect the phrasal verb is only used in British English.
10
votes
2answers
2k views

UK English: Do y'all use “buzzard” to mean “a contemptible or rapacious person”?

In the US, buzzard denotes vultures, but also a contemptible or rapacious person to use definition 3 from the online Merriam-Webster. The most common phrase I'm personally familiar with is to say you ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

UK English: Is “dived” a valid word?

Proofing a manuscript, I found this in the middle of a chase scene: Spotting an opening, I dived into it and was horrified to find it was a dead end. Is “dived” a valid past tense of the verb “...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Your Mileage May Vary [closed]

In the United States we have a saying, "your mileage may vary", which means "your experience may be different". In English-speaking countries that don't use Imperial miles, is there an equivalent ...
9
votes
4answers
18k views

Percent or per cent

How should I choose between writing "percent" and "per cent"? For example: He sold 42 percent of his stock in the company. or He sold 42 per cent of his stock in the company. Are there ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is the 'L' in detailed not doubled?

I cannot quite understand why the 'L' is not doubled when forming 'detailed' from 'detail'. Is that an exemption to the consonant doubling, or did I simply not understand the rules? From the answers ...
9
votes
3answers
634 views

Are there any studies on changes in British English to become more like American English?

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 ...
8
votes
8answers
53k views

Does “pants” more commonly mean “trousers” or “underpants”?

In the UK, I've heard pants being used as slang for underpants (or was it in Bridget Jones' Diary?), whereas in India it almost exclusively means "trousers". Describing the meaning of "put your pants ...
8
votes
7answers
8k views

What is “lemonade” in American English?

Lemonade is a fizzy drink, strongly carbonated. It comes in two varieties, white (which is actually colourless) and red. I have never known anyone to make it at home. Various things I've picked up in ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

“Muppet” in American English

I see an event is being organised in Washington, DC, called the Million Muppet March. In British English, at least, muppet has no very positive connotations:- muppet (ˈmʌpɪt) — n slang a ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

“Lambast” or “lambaste”

I looked up both lambast and lambaste in several dictionaries, but came up with no conclusions about which one is AE and which BE (if this distinction can ever be made). Moreover, the different ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the reason that American English and British English use “Post” and “Mail” with different frequencies?

Common usage in the UK is that a postman of the Royal Mail Service delivers the post, and someone may post a letter (see BrE Ngram), whereas in the USA, usage has become equally common that a mailman ...
8
votes
3answers
62k views

“shyer” or “shier”

My Longman dictionary states that the comparative of 'shy' is 'shyer'. However, at least two online dictionaries also give the form 'shier' as being acceptable: The Free Dictionary and Merriam-Webster....
7
votes
5answers
17k views

“Dear Professor” vs “Dear Mr”: differences between British and American usage

In British English, is it acceptable to address a professor as "Dear Professor X" when writing a formal or informal letter? Does it sound natural? Why I am asking this question: I was looking ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the etymology of the word teeter totter?

Seesaw and teeter totter are two names for the same piece of playground equipment. I grew up using the word teeter totter mostly, but was aware of seesaw, as it was used in books. I was ...
6
votes
2answers
21k views

nonexistent, non-existent or non existent? [duplicate]

I see various spellings of the same, which one is correct? I have considered that the spelling might differ if it is British or American English, but as English isn't my native speak I have no clue.