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38 Americanisms the British Can’t Bloody Stand

Someone, probably not George Bernard Shaw, once said that the US and Britain are two countries forever separated by a common language. With a little practice, we can decipher most of what the other is saying, but British English and American English have distinct idioms, some of which grate on the ear. There are quite a few phrases that were coined in America and seeped their way back into British use, and readers responding to a language article suggested the ones that bother them the most. Here's a taste:

6. “Touch base”—it makes me cringe no end.

7. Is “physicality” a real word?

8. Transportation. What’s wrong with transport?

9. Does nobody celebrate a birthday any more, must we all “turn” 12 or 21 or 40?

10. What kind of word is “gotten”? It makes me shudder.

Some of these bother older Americans, too. But some are just different word usage.

31. My brother now uses the term “season” for a TV series. Hideous.

In the US, we understand that a TV "series" is a show that can run for years, as opposed to a special, TV movie, or a mini-series, while a "season" is a year of that show (or in the case of reality game shows, it's one multi-episode game, since they often have two or three per year). The British use "series" for a year's worth of a "show." Neither is wrong, any more than calling fries chips or calling cookies biscuits. Read more of the annoying American terms that are invading British English at LitHub. -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Rei-artur and Kjoonlee)


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It seems there are plenty of grammar Nazis in the UK too.Some of their complaints I can see. Others are just the whining of cranky old pedants. “Deplane,” Does anyone "deship" after a sea voyage? Transportation vs transport. Around here, the first is a noun; the second is a verb. “My bad” It means the same as "I am sorry"--except at a funeral (long story)."Bi-weekly" VS "fortnightly" occurring every two weeks or twice a week depending on context, I suppose.'Fortnight"derives from the Anglo-Saxon fēowertyne niht, meaning "fourteen nights". Who speaks Anglo Saxon these days? Except that philologist who likes to recite Beowulf when drunk.“That’ll learn you” Don't blame the Americans for that one. The first time I heard it was in a pub brawl in Tralee, Ireland. Z as “zee.” Both zee and zed were interchangeable in British and American English until the mid nineteenth century. The Brits coined the Zee. It first appeared in print in a British language textbook— Thomas Lyle's New Spelling-book—in 1677. They also used a variety of other names for Z: izzard, uzzard, zad, shard and, ezod.. They have a lot of room to complain there.
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Bloody hell mate, isn't this the dog's bollocks and I'm just chuffed to bits. Which is a cheeky way of saying just deal with it. Now excuse me while I go microwave some tea.
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