Talk:Comparison of American and British English/Archive 4

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Proposed New Sections

You know what? The Philadelphia (er, California) lawyer kinda hit the nail on the head in the above posts. The article says squat about "Word order" or "Word choice." I mean, nobody ever wrote anything about differences in word order. As for "word choice," it's not just the chestnut petrol vs. gasoline thing. Many words are standard in both dialects, but the same word may not be equally idiomatic on both sides of the Pond. We gotta take some action. Thoughts?--JackLumber 13:39, 10 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

misc pronun diffs

some are wrong for GA. my GA speech has, and Webster's New World prefers, the "british" variants of diverge and route, and chartreuse ending in /z/ not /s/. Benwing 02:41, 22 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Couple has the same meaning in British and American English. If an American uses couple to mean more than two, she is being imprecise. -Acjelen 20:57, 28 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Couple also has the standard meaning of "a few" in America, according to Merriam-Webster; in the usage note at American Heritage Dictionary, couple of "...has been well established in English since before the Renaissance", although it has been demoted to "informal". SigPig 23:21, 27 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, let's just stick to what people do and say! This usage is even far from distinctively American, as even Oxford and Cambridge Learner's Dictionaries record it without objections or regional labels. I won't take any prescriptionist guff when uncalled for, will you :-) JackLumber 12:24, 28 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Will someone add this to the grammar section?

Transatlantic differences that don't appear to have been covered, which I need to know about, are:

'different than/from' and 'outside/inside (of)'.

In particular, does USEng prefer the BrEng version in formal writing?

Will someone who knows about this area please add to the section?

Tony 04:42, 5 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don’t think there is a BrE/AmE distinction for these forms. Different than/from is not a simple matter of preference in formal writing, but rather a question of context and idiom. For example, Bryan A. Garner’s Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style says:
…Thus, writers should generally prefer different from—e.g.: “He performed to everything from jazz to the bossa nova to Brahms and Scarlatti, establishing a style very different from that of Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, Fred Astaire and the Nicholas Brothers” (Dayton Daily News).
Still, it is indisputable that different than is sometimes idiomatic, and even useful, since different from often cannot be substitued for it—e.g.: “This designer’s fashions are typically quite different for men than for women.”
Also, different than may sometimes be useful to begin clauses if attempting to use different from would be so awkward as to require another construction—e.g.: “Life for Swann, who held out to sign a two-year $7 million contract in August, is a lot different than it was for him in Lynn” (Boston Herald).
Similarly, 'outside/inside (of)' is not a simple preference, but rather a question of context. When inside or outside is used as a noun, then it’s absolutely mandatory: “The inside of the house was much cooler than outside.“ Similarly, sometimes ‘of’ is necessary with ‘outside’. The sentence “There were Golden Jubilee celebrations outside of London as well” has a very different meaning from “There were Golden Jubilee celebrations outside London as well”.
Hope this answers your question. Nohat 05:23, 5 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, personally I'd say "He performed everything from Jazz to the Bossa Nova to Brahms and Scarlatti, establishing a style very different to that of Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, Fred Astaire and the Nicholas Brothers". To me that reads and sounds much better. --Veratien 13:44, 6 August 2005 (UTC) (a Brit)Reply[reply]
Veratien has a good point. As an American, different from and different than both sound basically correct (slight differences notwithstanding), but different to sounds completely wrong to my ears. --WhiteDragon 19:53, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, admirably, thank you. I guess my query concerns uses of 'different than' and 'inside/outside of' that are not necessary in their contexts. Tony 04:40, 6 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

dipthongal ligatures in British English

The use of dipthongs and ligatures should be mentioned somewhere - e.g. lævo- or laevo- pops up quite often in chemistry-related articles; in American English, it's spelled levo. Similarly, fœtus/foetus -> fetus.

I'm not sure where this would placed in the article, however; in general, the text seems more concerned with pronunciation rather than spelling. (Somewhat odd, considering the textual basis of Wikipedia, but I digress.)

moof 01:27, 20 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please note the separate article on spelling differences. -Acjelen 02:11, 20 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Namibia uses US English?

I find this highly improbable, given that Namibia was under South African rule for so long. Granted South African English uses some Americanisms like 'freeway', but the spelling and vocabulary is 'Commonwealth'.

Compound noun/noun phrase formed with a verb

The article has this point under Slight lexical differences:

In compound nouns of the form <verb><noun>, sometimes American English favours the bare infinitive where British English favours the gerund. Examples include: fry pan / frying pan; jump rope / skipping rope; racecar / racing car; rowboat / rowing boat; sailboat / sailing boat; swimsuit / bathing suit. ...

Most of the left-hand (ostensibly American) versions in that list seem correct to me as an American. However, I don't think I have ever heard the term fry pan; instead it's always frying pan. Also, to my knowledge swimsuit and bathing suit are interchangeable in American usage. Ddawson 01:03, 26 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are a number of British-flavoured terms that are interchangable in America; however, many are not commonly interchanged terms.

Most Americans know what "Autumn" means, and may very occasionally even use it without regarding it as a Britishism; yet the overwhelming tendency is for them to use "The Fall" - I think I'm going to start a page on this if one doesn't exist. Promsan 2K5/SEP.

Yes, most Americans are aware of both "autumn" and "fall," but they see them more as synonyms both in common use in American English; "autumn" is not really seen as a Britishism. However, you are correct in asserting that "fall" is more commonly used than "autumn." Autumn is generally seen as more formal.
Also, it's not necessarily "the fall." Although one can say, "I think rural New York is most beautiful in the fall," one could also say "Fall is the most beautiful season of the year," or "I will be attending UC Berkeley this fall." --Coolcaesar 22:18, 25 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Some months have gone by and this paragraph now reads:

In compound nouns of the form <verb><noun>, sometimes American English favours the bare infinitive where British English favours the gerund. Examples include: jump rope / skipping rope; racecar / racing car; rowboat / rowing boat; sailboat / sailing boat; file cabinet / filing cabinet. In each of these pairs, the former term is more common in America than the UK and the latter more common in the UK than America (although it is not necessarily the case that the former is more common than the latter within America or the latter more common than the former within the UK).

The general point seems clear enough but I find it hard to understand what the last sentence is trying to convey.

To take an example derived from the text: "Sometimes American English favours the infinitive... an example is rowboat / rowing boat. Rowboat is more common in America than the UK. (But even though American English "favours" rowboat over rowing boat, it is not necessarily the case that rowboat is more common than rowing boat within America.)"

That seems to be what the text says at the moment. Or perhaps not. In any case, it's hard to understand what the last sentence is trying to add. Can someone clarify this? Adrian Robson 15:17, 27 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your interpretation is correct. The wording was designed to forestall the removal of examples because "Americans say frying pan more than fry pan", when the point is that "Americans say fry pan more than Brits say fry pan". I guess it would be simpler just to list examples that work both ways to prevent such quibbles: the slight loss in precision could be trumped by the gain in comprehensibility. Indeed "fry pan" is gone already. jnestorius(talk) 16:51, 27 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I remember the fry(ing) pan issue, although I was not a registered user then. That wording is misleading at best and bamboozling at worst. I guess it's pretty safe to say just that the first item is the American usual choice and the second is the British preferred option. Then come the exceptions---AmE has both frying pan & fry pan, but frying pan is commoner (many avoid the issue by saying just skillet...); "looking glass," "hiding place," etc. are in both. I even have a counterexample: Brit. cheque account vs. Amer. checking account (Canadian spelling "chequing account" makes it even more noticeable.) Not to mention skimmed milk vs. skim milk (-ed, not -ing; but skim milk seems to be used in Olde Englande also.) "Barbed wire" is in both, but AmE has also "barb wire"---sometimes even spelled Bob wire (please don't laugh) to reflect a typical R-dropping pronunciation.... --JackLumber 20:44, 27 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Cheque account" is Australian, which has more AmE influence than BrE does. Usual BrE is "current account". The word "sometimes" is important: your "exceptions" are simply the "other times". The -ing/bare distinction is real enough to be mentioned in Quirk et al's A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (IIRC Appendix I is word-formation; if someone has a copy they could add a reference). I'm wary of relying on gut-instinct distinctions. Introspection is an unreliable research tool. Therefore, regarding your -ed examples: no comment. jnestorius(talk) 13:42, 5 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for "cheque account," someone added it to the List of American words not widely used in the UK (Link updated to List of American words not widely used in the United Kingdom because of redirect delete TrevorD 22:50, 9 May 2006 (UTC))alongside "current account" as a British alternative to the U.S. term---that's why I assumed it's used in Britain. The gerund vs. bare inf. distinction is mentioned in all the books I know. By "exceptions" I mean "fry pan"/"frying pan," not "looking glass." These things aside, I do not understand your comment; would you please explain? --JackLumber 13:54, 5 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
These websites suggest "cheque account" is used in Britain, even though it may be that "current account" is more common: Adrian Robson 14:35, 5 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, well I'm not sure "cheque" is a verb in any case. I think we agree as follows:
  • BrE & AmE both -ing: lots (hiding place)
  • BrE & AmE both bare: lots (cry baby)
  • BrE -ing, AmE bare: some (row[ing] boat)
    • sometimes both forms in one, one form in the other (fry[ing] pan)
  • BrE bare, AmE -ing: few (check[ing] account).
It's a question of how much detail to spend in the text teasing out what is a small point. My vote is for "not much".
JackLumber: I was trying to say that a few reverse examples [skim, barb] should not weigh as heavily as an accepted trend. I had got the impression you were disputing the existence of the trend, hence my citing CGEL; since we seem in fact to be in agreement I shouldn't have bothered. jnestorius(talk)
Cheque is not a verb, but sometimes suffixes like -ing or -ed are added to verbs, or nouns, to construct adjectival forms---and this is indeed the trend: compare cookery book / cookbook; Smith, aged 40 / Smith, age 40; 3-roomed house / 3-room house; and plural vs. singular: drugs problem / drug problem. Now the divide in British usage is somewhat blurry, but British English does have a tendency to add inflectional suffixes. As you see, I'm not challenging the existence of the trend---actually I added a couple of pairs to the list (fil(ing) cabinet and dial(ling) tone). I'm way too lost in lexicography to dispute trends! I am but a Greek chorus. Best, --JackLumber 19:30, 5 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To add to the current cheque discussion. I would say (as a Brit) that in Britain it used always to be "current account", but "cheque account" has gradually become more common. But we would NEVER call it a "checking account" (because that (to us) looks like an account that is doing some checking of something); nor a "chequing account" (because "cheque" is not a verb and "chequing" is not a word!). TrevorD 23:13, 5 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Go explain that to Canadians...--JackLumber 05:03, 6 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Misleading Classification

The classification implied in the title of this article is extremely misleading in relation to the content. There should be more emphasis on the fact that the classification is only vaguely coherent in relation to written English. As for most of the other points raised, English spoken in Southern Britain and Australia has much more in common with American English than it does with Scottish or Ulster English. Calgacus 17:10, 28 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When "American" Refers to Language . . .

This brings up a different issue than those mentioned in the discussion in Manual of Style archive ("U.S." or "American") in that it refers specifically to the name of the language spoken in the US, not the use of the language to name things other than itself.

Because the word "American" has multiple uses, referring to either the US exclusively or to what is pertinent to cultures/peoples in either the Americas (North, Central, and South) or North America, its use on pages dealing with language is not transparent because it cannot be immediately interpreted. There are distinctions between American (North American) English and British English. This is a different matter than the differences between US English and British English and Canadian English.

Canadian English (which is distinct on a number of counts from British English and has certain elements in common with US English) is, in a certain sense, "American English," and though the article explains its exclusion, a change of title would remove the need to make this distinction. Since "Canadian English" is a distinct article, one would think that the parallel for the country just south would bear that country's name, not a name that can also refer to the continent.

So, arguably, this article should be titled "US and British English Differences" (and any parallel changes in other articles made) in order to disambiguate the meaning of the word "American" with reference to the English language. This would allow the ability to distinguish without confusion or need for explanation between US English usage and usage that extends to multiple countries in the Americas, which would be useful given the realities of language use.

(n.b. I follow M-W 11th in using US rather than U.S. [i.e., the entry, not the style guide, which contradicts the entry], and am not meaning to raise that issue here.)

Emme 12:43, August 30, 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with that proposed change. "American English" is how the vast majority of Americans (myself included) refer to their own language. Calling it "US English" instead would, as a matter of statistics, create far more confusion than it alleviates. American English speakers are technically a supermajority of native English speakers at the moment, see English language. Wikipedia is a reference work that simply documents what is going on in other sources, and is not a normative work in itself. --Coolcaesar 17:56, 30 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also there's the fact that non-American speakers refer to the US as America and the accompanying adjective as American, and have since time began (or at least, it's not a novelty caused by the huge US population nowadays). Also also, what about the English used in say the United States of Mexico? Why should America usurp 'US' to refer only to themselves? — Felix the Cassowary 23:17, 30 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • It seems a bit unfair to say that. The same reason "American" should be used is the same reason "United States" (abbr. US) could be used. All other uses of "United States" (that I know of) came after the formation of the "United States of America". Anyway, "American" just implies "from USA", and I see no need to change anything. — TheKMantalk 07:17, 26 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Luck Out?

I've never heard this ever in my life in any dialect of English - and I don't live in a cave! What possible justification can there be for the inclusion of obscure and unhelpful terms like this in the article - put it on one of the lists if you must, but not on the main article! Promsan September 2005.

Well, I'm American and I have heard the term, and the article has the meaning exactly right. I can't vouch for British usage, of course. Ddawson 04:29, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well I'm British, and it means nothing to me. It's not British English, that's for sure. It takes one to know one 11:07, 28 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've definitely heard Americans use it to mean got lucky... and I've also heard it in use in New Zealand to mean the opposite. That of course, has no bearing on its presence or not in British English, but we'll need more than a jury of 1 to decide whether or not it is present...Limegreen 23:56, 28 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I, an Aussie, have definitely heard it meaning unlucky. Never heard it to mean lucky... It's far from common, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was an old slangish term that spread to other parts of the Commonwealth then died out and is dying out elsewhere, too. —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 00:09, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps that's the strongest argument for retaining it: the American usage I think goes against most non-US peoples' commonsense interpretation to the point that it needs to be glossed. I remember being extremely confused the first time I heard one of my (US) flatmates using it. She'd lucked out, and seemed happy about, and I was like WTF?Limegreen 02:05, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
the argument for retaining it on a page of comporative british/american is only valid if the phrase is used in both places - I too have never heard its use in the UK (in the context given or any other), unless by someone trying to sound american or impersonating one. If it is current in aus or NZ is it still appropriate as an example here at all? considering how few examples are given it might be better to use a common one. DavidP 17:54, 6 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whether it's retained or not, its location in the article looks bizarre. The contents box reads:

9 Miscellaneous

9.1 General trends
9.2 Figures of speech
9.3 Business
9.4 Education
9.5 Luck out

It needs to be relegated to a much lower position; I doubt that anyone can have intended it to be on a par with the topic headings Business, Education or General Trends! And actually, I would have thought it was sufficiently obscure and little used not to qualify for this article at all. Adrian Robson 19:32, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with the structural change. However, I still think that the clear difference between US useage and any other english speaker's interpretation of it, warrants its inclusion. Wouldn't you expect that 'luck out' would be similar in meaning to 'out of luck'?Limegreen 21:06, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have never heard anyone use the term "to luck out" in the UK. The term would simply be meaningless here. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 04:33, 9 February 2006 UTC.

Same here - I will remove it. If anything it should say something like "non US English speakers might assume it means "out of luck" -- Chris Q 07:27, 9 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Public school

Public school Public school (UK)

There is a hot debate taking place over at Talk:Public school (UK) and Talk:Public school regarding the differences between language and culture in Scotland and England, with the Scottish definition being in line with the US, Canadian, Australian and the rest-of-the-world. But a small number of English patriots seem to want to keep the various colonies in their place and have the English definition dominate the two articles.

Personally, I'm not even sure that there should be a separate article on English public schools, as they are simply a sub-topic of private schools, but if there must be an article it should be called Public school (England) and not Public school (UK) (sic).

Anyway, we Scots would appreciate some input from our "co-definitionists"--Mais oui! 20:49, 27 September 2005 (UTC) in the USA!Reply[reply]


I've removed this sentence from the article:

"* In American English, "built-in" describes a feature integrated or included in a larger whole. The British English equivalent adjective is "inbuilt" (without a hyphen)."

It's not obvious what this is referring to. The British talk about "built-in cupboards" in their kitchens. They don't call them "inbuilt cupboards". Maybe this sentence refers to some other usage that I haven't thought of but it needs clarification or expansion to make sense of what was intended. Adrian Robson 07:40, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OED supports a slightly different interpretation: in some NAm usage "built-in" can be a noun, so a house ad might simply say the house has "built-ins" (presumably implying fittings such as wardrobes etc.). There is no suggestion that inbuilt is sole UK useage, but that it exists as a variant not so commonly found in NAm.Limegreen 23:47, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scottish and Northern Ireland usage

It's not clear what the following sentence intends to convey. I'd suggest removing it unless someone can clarify what it means.

"The forms of English used in Scotland and Northern Ireland are British English only in relation to the written form of the language, as the spoken varieties of these dialects (despite the name) are in no way sub-dialects of British English, although some features of Commonwealth English are inevitably used." Adrian Robson 08:06, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems perfectly clear. Which bit do you not understand?--Mais oui! 09:06, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that it seems clear, but perhaps that's because I know what it's attempting to say. The sentence really is a bit on the long side. It also seems a little bit emotive in its wording (IMHO). In fact, I'd suggest that in many commonwealth countries written English conforms to a relatively homogeneous standard that do not relate to the local spoken dialect. In fact it's not even confined to English. Written (formal) German is used across Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, while spoken German is in the local dialect.
Perhaps it could be re-phrased similar to:
"Formal written English in Scotland and Northern Ireland generally conforms to British English standards. In contrast, spoken dialects in this area are not sub-dialects of British English, although they share some features." (NB- I haven't checked this re-phrasing in context)Limegreen 10:03, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think saying they're "not sub-dialects" is ambiguous. If you start from the (possibly false) assumption that there is a British dialect, then saying they're not sub-dialects could either mean that there's no difference between the speech of southern England and that of Edinburgh; or that they're so different that, for example, Northern Irish is completely incomprehensible to the Southern Irish. Clearly neither of these is true and I think the problem arises from saying that they're "not" sub-dialects. Instead, it might be clearer to say what they are.

It seems to me that an article like this should be aimed at explaining the subject to an intelligent reader who knows little or nothing about the subject. In the special case of articles about the English language, I think that implies an intelligent, possibly university age, non-native speaker. And I think that someone in this group might take the above sentence to mean that a southern English speaker would find a speaker from Edinburgh completely unintelligible. This is a long way from the truth and I doubt that it's what the writer originally intended.

Incidentally, I wholeheartedly support Limegreen's clarification of the distinction between written and spoken language. The article as a whole would benefit from distinguishing when the comments refer to spoken and when to written language Adrian Robson 10:48, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see your point, however, it's worth noting that dialects occur on a continuum from the more mutually intelligible to the bloody difficult. While a southern english speaker would likely have little problem with a speaker from Edinburgh, the same can't be said for Glasgow or Liverpool. If you consider the development of English dialects tree-wise (which does have admitted problems), Scottish dialects probably split from English English more distantly than many commonwealth englishes (e.g., AusE, NZE, SAfE). Actually, kind of referring back to the previous point about most Commonwealth written Englishes being similar, it really seems that this article is mostly about differentiating written English, and perhaps American vernacular from accepted Commonwealth forms. Limegreen 21:01, 4 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some unclear points

  1. On informal occasions, the British would use "have got", whereas Americans would say "have" or just "got". "Have got" is occasionally used by Americans to denote urgency, such as in "I have got to go to the bathroom." "Have" is the only form used in formal writing. Umm... no. As an American, the phrase "I've got", "he's got", etc. is very common in informal speech. "To have got" is very common to mean both "to need to"/"to be required to" as well as "to possess". I've rewritten this.
  2. In the United States, the word through can mean "up to and including" as in Monday through Friday. This causes little confusion in Britain though it is rarely used by British speakers, who might instead say Monday to Friday inclusive, or simply Monday to Friday. Some areas of the UK also use the term while in the same way, as in Monday while Friday. This is generally a feature of Northern England. What does this mean? What do British speakers think the word "through" means? Why does it cause any confusion at all? I'm deleting this section later if no one helps it.
Since you ask, UK english uses the word ' through ' to mean passing from one place or condition to another.."through the eye of a needle" . It does not mean ' until '. ..mikeL
I'm not aware of Australians having any problem understanding 'Monday through Friday'.--Jeffro77 09:37, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. "Amidst" is not common in A.E., but it's not considered "pretentious" (same with "amongst").
  2. There is an apocryphal story that, because of (while meaning until in Northern England), railway crossings with signs saying "do not cross the track while the lights are flashing" had to be changed after several fatalities occurred. is unencyclopediac and unnecessarily morbid (and removed).
  3. While the use of American expressions in English is often noted in Britain, movement in the opposite direction is less common. But recent examples exist, including the idiom "to go missing," which had been a distinctively British expression but is used increasingly in American English, at least in journalism, and the noun "queue" and verb "queue up," which seem to be making inroads in the U.S. as well. (The usual American equivalent of "to go missing" is "to disappear" and that of "queue (up)" is "line (up).") No, not really. All three are examples of things that word be understood by A.E. speakers, but almost never used (the slight exception is "queue" as a noun; maybe an American using it would avoid being given a funny look... but I doubt it).
Surely americans usually ' stand in line ' rather than 'line (up) ' or 'queue'. ..mikeL

Thoughts? Matt Yeager 00:07, 4 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

and certainly I have never as an Americain used the phrase "on queue"; I would use "in line" or "standing in line". The verb queue up (or just queue) is a different meaning, for instance, a radio station may queue up a song (meaning get ready to play the next song in the list). --WhiteDragon 20:01, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not aware of Australian using "on queue" either to indicate standing in line for something. We would more likely use "in line", "in the queue" or "lining up".--Jeffro77 09:37, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the context of radio production, might this not be a different word, as in "cue the next song"? Adrian Robson 08:40, 6 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To "queue the next song" means to sequentially arrange it as the next song to be played. To "cue the next song" means to give a signal to indicate that the song is to begin.--Jeffro77 09:37, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I assume the point with "through" is that the British don't use it, and find it quaint/unusual on hearing it (apparently the inverse situation to "queue").Limegreen 00:29, 4 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

long form time

I have just added a small but important detail to the long form date section. it said that "25 December 2000" was occasional in UK & common in US and that "December 25 2000" was occasional in US & common in UK

perhaps true - but nearly always written "25th" in the UK. I hope I have managed to add it without disrupting the flow too much. see what you think. It would have helped a lot if I could find out what the "st, nd, rd, th" suffix thingies were called. any ideas?

By the way - have any fellow brits noticed the relatively recent (last 5 years or so) adoption of 'get' as in "can I get a cup of coffee" to a shopkeeper. rather than "can I have a cup of coffee". It seems almost entirely limited to the under 25s and i assume an americanism. perhaps an addition to the section on adopted phrases. DavidP 04:03, 5 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"'25 December 2000' was occasional in UK & common in US
and that 'December 25 2000' was occasional in US & common in UK" - Isn't the opposite true? "December 25th, 2000" is far more common :in the US than "25th December 2000". -- 00:57, 19 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's what I wrote originally, if someone's changed it around, they are wrong. To recap, both the US and UK tend to use the "December 25, 2000" form more often than the "25 December 2000" form, although both are correct, and some people (I mentioned Strunk and White) strongly prefer the latter for its sequential order and lack of punctuation. The latter form is somewhat more common in the UK than the US.
BTW, many people (and perhaps even more so in Britain) might add the "th" and so on while writing letters, signing cheques, etc., but a newspaper (say) is very unlikely to use this form, not least because the additional letters are thought to be somewhat superfluous; furthermore the user above has omitted the comma in "December 25, 2000"; this form is far more common, and accepted, with a comma between day and year than without. ProhibitOnions 18:12, 21 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would say that when the year is included, most Brits would write the day before the month. Gailtb 21:44, 21 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perhaps true, but in the absence of a study indicating this it would be reasonable to say simply that this is "common" usage. At the same time, we can easily demonstrate that most major British newspapers use "December 25, 2000" as their date form. ProhibitOnions 06:19, 22 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
the guardian uses the form Saturday 26.11.05 on its cover pages, for page headers it uses Saturday November 26 2005 and 26/11/05 - remember that these are prescribed by typographic layout rather than good usage, heaven forbid if we all started talking headline speak. Shock Horror Probe. DavidP 14:33, 30 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]