These were originally different articles. I must have listened to ten or more conference talks on British and American English. As someone who has written as many text books in American English as in British English, the differences are part of my daily existence.
The events of Autumn Fall made me think again. The televised trial of the 19 year old British nanny, Louise Woodward, in Massachusetts is the case in point. She was accused of hitting the baby in her care, who subsequently died. In Britain it was inocuous. Consult Websters dictionary for American English.
We were heavily influenced in our choice of names by Private Eye magazine. Whatever, the overwhelming majority of signs say toilet.
The first definition it gives is: In this case it may have been a factor in the guilty verdict and life sentence. In January I saw that the verb to pop was said to be the most frequent verb employed by British doctors according to TV personality Dr Phil Hammond. Pop this under your tongue. Pop two of these pills into your mouth before meals. Pop this gown on. Pop down to the X-ray department. You can pop off now. Pop in and see me next week.
Have you ever taught it? It seems pretty useful. In spite of this, there are many grey or indeed gray areas in the differences between British English and American English. The British have holidays. The Americans have vacations. The British use only one word for the two types of event which Americans distinguish as vacations and holidays. Americans use vacation to refer to time off work, and holidays to refer to national and religious festivals.
Well, the British usually mean underclothes when they say pants, but the word trousers is not going to cause you any problem in North America. In reality, Americans use the two words with overlapping meanings. Two American mail order catalogues or rather catalogs throw up these examples in adverts: In other words trousers are upmarket from pants.
If they do have a zipper, they could be pants or trousers. The word pants for an outer garment is known to the British too. In the early seventies the fashion was loon pants.
The British Cotton Traders mail order brochure sticks to trousers except for three-quarter length crop pants. And think about those idiomatic expressions, all of them current in Britain: The Americans have the richer language. Panty-hose would be made of sheer material, like nylon. When I was at school, knickers were navy blue, voluminous, and the girls used to tuck their skirts in them when doing handstands. Where is this going? Pants or panties was the more adult word. In my state school in my home town, Bournemouth, knickers were exclusively female.
In the early sixties, Bournemouth football club resided in the Third Division South and so did Southampton. Nevertheless, Bournemouth lost one game by Definitely not where I lived! But I remember a friend from London independent school education telling me that he had to buy himself some new knickers.
I was shocked, assuming that he was intending to buy something pink and frilly. In the end, hotel laundry lists are the best guide to current usage. Beware all books on the subject.
Smalls sounds as if it comes from an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs set in I never heard it in the south, except jokingly. Not in my memory.
Then there are Y-fronts. Briefs would be the tiniest male garment. The British would say he was wearing a waistcoat and holding his trousers up with braces.
Transfer it to Britain, and a guy wearing a vest with suspenders sounds like a politician caught in an extremely compromising situation by a tabloid newspaper, because a vest is what Americans call an undershirt, and suspenders are a garter belt, or garters.
Adults and children are wearing mackintoshes. This book cover was drawn in The British wear trainers. But sneakers also covers plimsolls, which are canvas and flimsier than trainers or running shoes. Lists say the British said pumps, but while I recall Welsh relatives and a Yorkshire gym teacher saying pumps, we always said plimsolls in the south. The other listed one is wellingtons UK and galoshes US. I have my doubts about an Atlantic divide.
Wellington boots are rubber or PVC and stop below the knee.
The American brand Hunters alo known in the UK is used generically increasingly, and Hunters say they sell wellington boots. They also discuss Hunters wellies on their US website. In Britain we talk about the green wellie brigade. That is people who adopt rural garb such as Barbour jackets, long tweed skirts, corduroy trousers, tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows, soft checked shirts and green wellies etc as a fashion choice. I once saw a rather snooty couple in green wellies and Barbours applying mud via an aerosol artfully to their Land Rover in a Chelsea car park.
Note, it was a Land Rover as used by farmers, not a shiny Range Rover. On shoes in general, what the British consider specialist shoe trade vocabulary is on general use in the USA. Just as the Eskimos allegedly had many so words for snow, so do Americans sub-divide the simple shoe. Linguists say the dozens of words for snow is an urban legend but the Sami people of Lapland do have many words for snow.
With or without laces would serve for the rest. And anyway, most people wear trainers. American babies wear diapers. In America nappy hair is kinky hair, which some African-Americans have.
It also might render the baby dumb in the older sense of mute, quiet. This is the effect Americans seek: So baby gets a pacifier. A shiny, sprung, large wheeled Silver Cross conveyance in America is grandly a baby carriage. For many years, older infants travelled in a pushchair in Britain, and a stroller in America.
Buggy was potentially more elaborate, covering prams, pushchairs and the early hybrids of both. It started as American but became Trans-Atlantic. The issue is much less clear-cut now. Everyone has hybrid folding devices serving as pram, pushchair, car-seat, crib and portable baskets. They need to be put in cars. Whichever, they require a slash punctuation to emphasize their multi-role capability.
Your interest rate will be detailed in checkout. Where is this going? Antique baby cot for sale.
One role is trapping adult fingers painfully. After perambulating or strolling, British babies slumber in a cot. American babies sleep in a crib. The British use crib for expensive wooden cots for newborns too, and in Nativity plays, the baby Jesus is always in a crib.
For Americans a cot is a canvas bed on a folding metal frame. Soldiers sleep on cots. British soldiers, deceived into thinking war is a jolly camping expedition, sleep on camp beds. Anyway, they prefer draperies. This might help to explain the difference. The older British housing stock did not have so many floor-to-ceiling windows, and as below the window is the normal place for a radiator, the British had less use for floor length drapes.
If drapes are longer than curtains which is what I believe then Americans had more drapes than curtains because of their architecture. He put it in his sack. Male but perhaps the punning title is irrelevant. The non gender-marked version in the US is letter carrier, which is not known in Britain.
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