UK v American

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
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UK v American

Post by Helen_Combe » 15 Apr 2018, 11:28

We all know the ‘o’ v ‘ou’ difference between US and UK English (colour, flavour, favour, honour)

But I’ve been coming across a few that are new to me, so I’m listing them here.

UK - likeable US - likable
UK - kerb for a raised edge on a road (curb for everything else) US curb for both
UK - travelled US - traveled
UK - whisky US - whiskey

And the old favourites

UK - chips US - French Fries
UK - crisps US - chips
UK - football US - soccer
UK - rugby US - football
UK - American football US - football

Anyone like to add any more?
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Post by lbhatters » 15 Apr 2018, 11:57

Helen_Combe wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 11:28
We all know the ‘o’ v ‘ou’ difference between US and UK English (colour, flavour, favour, honour)

But I’ve been coming across a few that are new to me, so I’m listing them here.

UK - likeable US - likable
UK - kerb for a raised edge on a road (curb for everything else) US curb for both
UK - travelled US - traveled
UK - whisky US - whiskey

And the old favourites

UK - chips US - French Fries
UK - crisps US - chips
UK - football US - soccer
UK - rugby US - football
UK - American football US - football

Anyone like to add any more?
Your question promted me to look it up. I found a great article about it.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/spell ... d-spelling

There are a lot.

analyze - analyse
apologize - apologise
behavior - behaviour
canceling - cancelling
catalog - catalogue
center - centre
check - cheque
color - colour
encyclopedia - encyclopaedia
favorite - favourite
fiber - fibre
fulfill - fulfil
gray - grey
humor - humour
jewelry - jewellery
labor - labour
license - licence (noun)
pajamas - pyjamas
practice - practise (verb)
theater - theatre
tire - tyre

to name a few.

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/spell ... words.html
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Post by Helen_Combe » 15 Apr 2018, 12:05

lbhatters wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 11:57

Your question promted me to look it up. I found a great article about it.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/spell ... d-spelling
That’s a great article, very clear. 👍 Thank you
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Post by KRay93 » 15 Apr 2018, 12:59

Helen_Combe wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 11:28
And the old favourites

UK - football US - soccer
UK - rugby US - football
UK - American football US - football
This one always caught my attention. In my country (Argentina), we say "rugby", the adapted version of our language of "football" (futbol), as well as our own version of "American football" (futbol americano). Considering that rugby emerged as an alternative form of "soccer" (i hate this word) in England, why in the US wasn't simply called "American Football" or "American Rugby"? I think that this would have resulted in less confusion as to the rest of the world...

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Post by Helen_Combe » 15 Apr 2018, 13:03

KRay93 wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 12:59

This one always caught my attention. In my country (Argentina), we say "rugby", the adapted version of our language of "football" (futbol), as well as our own version of "American football" (futbol americano). Considering that rugby emerged as an alternative form of "soccer" (i hate this word) in England, why in the US wasn't simply called "American Football" or "American Rugby"? I think that this would have resulted in less confusion as to the rest of the world...
I don’t like the word ‘soccer’ either. I never understood why the American game is called football since the ball hardly ever makes contact with a foot.
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Post by Confident » 15 Apr 2018, 13:15

Very good, this helps to me.

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Post by DATo » 15 Apr 2018, 14:18

To whom it may concern: The word soccer predates the word football and was a term originally used by the British upper class.

Different words with similar meanings include:

Ice UK - Ice cream USA
Lift UK - elevator USA
boot UK - trunk (car) USA
bonnet UK - hood (car) USA
biscuit UK - cookie USA

English expressions:

blimey - originally "God blind me." Expression of shocked surprise.
cheeky - flippant
cracking - best or stunning
crusty dragon - booger
full of beans - plenty of energy (USA meaning = someone giving incorrect information)
ring up - call on the phone
spend a penny - go to the bathroom
bloody - emphatic swear word

American expressions:

doosie - an exceptional example (originally, "It's a daisy")
clear out (also "bail") - leave
cram - study hard for a test
down to earth - practical
cold shoulder - intentionally ignoring someone
pass the buck - to deflect responsibility onto someone else
plead the fifth - refuse to answer because it might prove one guilty
tight (as in tight race) - very close
tight (as relates to money) stingy
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Post by Helen_Combe » 15 Apr 2018, 15:21

DATo wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 14:18
To whom it may concern: The word soccer predates the word football and was a term originally used by the British upper class.

Different words with similar meanings include:

Ice UK - Ice cream USA
Lift UK - elevator USA
boot UK - trunk (car) USA
bonnet UK - hood (car) USA
biscuit UK - cookie USA

English expressions:

blimey - originally "God blind me." Expression of shocked surprise.
cheeky - flippant
cracking - best or stunning
crusty dragon - booger
full of beans - plenty of energy (USA meaning = someone giving incorrect information)
ring up - call on the phone
spend a penny - go to the bathroom
bloody - emphatic swear word

American expressions:

doosie - an exceptional example (originally, "It's a daisy")
clear out (also "bail") - leave
cram - study hard for a test
down to earth - practical
cold shoulder - intentionally ignoring someone
pass the buck - to deflect responsibility onto someone else
plead the fifth - refuse to answer because it might prove one guilty
tight (as in tight race) - very close
tight (as relates to money) stingy
I was under the impression that soccer was a shortening for Association Football. However, if it was used by the upper classes that explains my plebeian dislike of the word.

I use all the rest except for the following-

I only ever use ice to describe frozen water. Cold stuff that comes in scoops I call ice cream.

Never heard of crusty dragon before, I say bogie.

All of those American expressions have come into common usage over here, even the fifth amendment.
Tight can also mean drunk.

We do have another lovely expression.

‘I’ll come and knock you up for breakfast’

That one dates back to when people didn’t have alarm clocks and a man was paid to go round with a long pole and knock on people’s bedroom windows to wake them for work. They were called ‘knocker uppers’
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocker-up
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Post by DATo » 15 Apr 2018, 16:47

Helen_Combe wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 15:21


I was under the impression that soccer was a shortening for Association Football. However, if it was used by the upper classes that explains my plebeian dislike of the word.

I use all the rest except for the following-

I only ever use ice to describe frozen water. Cold stuff that comes in scoops I call ice cream.

Never heard of crusty dragon before, I say bogie.

All of those American expressions have come into common usage over here, even the fifth amendment.
Tight can also mean drunk.

We do have another lovely expression.

‘I’ll come and knock you up for breakfast’


That one dates back to when people didn’t have alarm clocks and a man was paid to go round with a long pole and knock on people’s bedroom windows to wake them for work. They were called ‘knocker uppers’
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocker-up
Well, I'm not about to attempt to translate that into our American idiom ... suffice it to say you Brits have a lot more fun at breakfast time than the average Yank.
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Post by crediblereading2 » 15 Apr 2018, 20:36

UK - Cheque US - check

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Post by Helen_Combe » 16 Apr 2018, 07:44

Here’s another. When I think of a yard, it is a paved utility area like a stable yard or a builder’s yard. When I think of the decorative, green bit of land around my house, it’s a garden.
In the US, the decorative bit is also a yard.
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Post by Helen_Combe » 16 Apr 2018, 07:48

DATo wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 16:47

’I’ll come and knock you up for breakfast’

Well, I'm not about to attempt to translate that into our American idiom ... suffice it to say you Brits have a lot more fun at breakfast time than the average Yank.
Indeed we do! When I was at University, a male friend of mine offered to collect two female American students in time for breakfast and nearly got his face slapped.

How we laughed. :lol2:
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Post by PlanetHauth » 03 May 2018, 03:16

Helen_Combe wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 11:28
We all know the ‘o’ v ‘ou’ difference between US and UK English (colour, flavour, favour, honour)

But I’ve been coming across a few that are new to me, so I’m listing them here.

UK - likeable US - likable
UK - kerb for a raised edge on a road (curb for everything else) US curb for both
UK - travelled US - traveled
UK - whisky US - whiskey

And the old favourites

UK - chips US - French Fries
UK - crisps US - chips
UK - football US - soccer
UK - rugby US - football
UK - American football US - football

Anyone like to add any more?
I knew about most of these, and actually learned the other day where the UK uses double l's, the US uses a single (like in the example above), and as another commenter pointed out with analyze vs. analyse, where the UK uses z, the US uses s. I'm not sure if this is a general, broad-sweeping rule, or if it only applies to certain words, though.

The one that sticks out to me is likeable vs. likable. I'm American and swear I have never seen it spelled l-i-k-a-b-l-e. :eusa-think: And I swear I've only ever used the UK spelling in my own writing, but now I'm questioning everything. :?
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Post by Helen_Combe » 03 May 2018, 03:36

PlanetHauth wrote:
03 May 2018, 03:16

I knew about most of these, and actually learned the other day where the UK uses double l's, the US uses a single (like in the example above), and as another commenter pointed out with analyze vs. analyse, where the UK uses z, the US uses s. I'm not sure if this is a general, broad-sweeping rule, or if it only applies to certain words, though.

The one that sticks out to me is likeable vs. likable. I'm American and swear I have never seen it spelled l-i-k-a-b-l-e. :eusa-think: And I swear I've only ever used the UK spelling in my own writing, but now I'm questioning everything. :?
Off the top of my head, I think the ‘z’ rule is for words that end ‘ise’ or ‘yse’.
I think both the likeables are accepted, but the one without the e is more predominantly used. Mind you, words change over time, so maybe popularity is shifting.


I came across a great one yesterday.

What I call pumps are called sneakers is the US
What I call court shoes are called pumps in the US.

I was totally bamboozled to find that American women apparently wear heels and patent leather while playing sport :shock2:
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Post by PlanetHauth » 03 May 2018, 03:56

Helen_Combe wrote:
03 May 2018, 03:36
PlanetHauth wrote:
03 May 2018, 03:16

I knew about most of these, and actually learned the other day where the UK uses double l's, the US uses a single (like in the example above), and as another commenter pointed out with analyze vs. analyse, where the UK uses z, the US uses s. I'm not sure if this is a general, broad-sweeping rule, or if it only applies to certain words, though.

The one that sticks out to me is likeable vs. likable. I'm American and swear I have never seen it spelled l-i-k-a-b-l-e. :eusa-think: And I swear I've only ever used the UK spelling in my own writing, but now I'm questioning everything. :?
Off the top of my head, I think the ‘z’ rule is for words that end ‘ise’ or ‘yse’.
I think both the likeables are accepted, but the one without the e is more predominantly used. Mind you, words change over time, so maybe popularity is shifting.


I came across a great one yesterday.

What I call pumps are called sneakers is the US
What I call court shoes are called pumps in the US.

I was totally bamboozled to find that American women apparently wear heels and patent leather while playing sport :shock2:
The 'z' rule you mentioned makes sense, now that I think about it.

:lol2: I bet you were bamboozled! I enjoy seeing the differences between the "two" languages. It makes me realize just how different the cultures are, even though the US stemmed from the UK way back when, and leads me down a great etymological rabbit hole.

Although, I think my favorite pastime is reading stories or comments discussing the UK's use of "fanny" vs. the US's use of the word. :lol2: I guess any comparison of the English language is fun to me, but this particular word and the conversation that ensues is usually pretty hysterical to me.
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