Athena

UK spelling vs. US spelling in US / UK editions

49 posts in this topic

That makes sense to me. As a native British English speaker, it's good to hear that there are students who lean towards British English!  :smile: :smile:

 

Rest assured, there are many fans! :) That's not to say I don't myself appreciate British English, I just sort of grew to the American way :) 

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There's no doubt that there's a lot more to it than I have said as I am not an expert and am always short of time, but I am fascinated by how our language has evolved. An increasing problem - for me too - is that it is quicker to consult Google for a spelling than it is to look it up in my OED. I think I shall put my OED closer to my keyboard. Or perhaps the OED is online?

 

Anyway, I just reuploaded one of my novels (with updates to the 'end matter') and sweet Amazon declared it had no spelling errors again. Yippee! One less job to do.

 

Writers really need discussions like this, so thank you everyone.

 

I like your Charles Darwin quotation willoyd. There now, we're quits.

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I forgot an American English word that always stops me dead when I read it - dove (as in dived). I always end up reading it as dove (as in the bird) instead, and have to go back and start the sentence again. 

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Me too, Ian. There's just a few that stop me in my tracks. Most of the time I can ignore for the sake of a good story.

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There's no doubt that there's a lot more to it than I have said as I am not an expert and am always short of time, but I am fascinated by how our language has evolved. An increasing problem - for me too - is that it is quicker to consult Google for a spelling than it is to look it up in my OED. I think I shall put my OED closer to my keyboard. Or perhaps the OED is online?

 

Anyway, I just reuploaded one of my novels (with updates to the 'end matter') and sweet Amazon declared it had no spelling errors again. Yippee! One less job to do.

 

Writers really need discussions like this, so thank you everyone.

 

I like your Charles Darwin quotation willoyd. There now, we're quits.

The OED is online at www.oed.com. Check if your local library has an online subscription for its members - mine does and there's an additional login field on the OED for library subscriptions, and your library can tell you how to access. I use it a lot!

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Thank you, Chesilbeach.  :smile:  I've been using free ones - some are better than others! 

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What really gets me are the following:

 

  1. The word "gotten" - the word is got, not gotten. "He had got it on holiday" rather than "he had gotten it on holiday".
  2. "Of" instead of "have", as in "he shouldn't have done that" - it only tends to be in self-published novels, but I have occasionally seen poorly edited professionally published novels that have the clanger "he shouldn't of done that" and it really grates on me every single time!
  3. "OK" in historical novels. I absolutely detest seeing "OK" instead of "alright" in an historical setting. It is enough for me to lose all respect for the author and so not enjoy the book any more and have to leave it unfinished. I also hate that in period drama on TV/film - it drives me nuts, and I have been known to scream at the screen when it happens!

 

I know what you mean. It drives me mad when I see anachronistic language. But actually, gotten is not incorrect. It comes from the same root as forgot/forgotten and really ought to be used that way even in UK English.

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I know what you mean. It drives me mad when I see anachronistic language. But actually, gotten is not incorrect. It comes from the same root as forgot/forgotten and really ought to be used that way even in UK English.

 

Not really true in British English as far as I can tell.  The OED lists it with two meanings, the first from "begotten" which it lists as Obsolete and the second as something that has been obtained, but is listed as extremely rare except when used as "ill-gotten", so neither come from forgot/forgotten.  It is still used in US English though. :)

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Posted (edited)

I know what you mean. It drives me mad when I see anachronistic language. But actually, gotten is not incorrect. It comes from the same root as forgot/forgotten and really ought to be used that way even in UK English.

 

 It might be correct if you wanted to take English back 200 years - which is about when it dropped out of use in Britain - but otherwise it is not. (This is a good example of where the US has preserved English as it was more than the British have!).

Edited by willoyd

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I notice, but it doesn't bother me. it is natural that the english language should have diversified in different countries, Bill Bryson's very interesting book Mother Tongue is good on the differences between American and british english.

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That's interesting Will, thanks for that.

 

Someone on another forum has pointed out that "hallway" has been in use since the 1870s.

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Interestingly, we were taught get - got - gotten in school, and schools in Germany usually teach British English. All the other spellings we learned were British. I was quite surprised when I read this thread and found out gotten is not actually the correct form :D

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Interestingly, we were taught get - got - gotten in school, and schools in Germany usually teach British English. All the other spellings we learned were British. I was quite surprised when I read this thread and found out gotten is not actually the correct form :D

 

Here here! I mean I knew Brits use 'got' whereas AmE uses 'gotten', but like you, I was taught it was  get - got - gotten, in school. And over here we also have British English taught in schools. :shrug:  Very odd! :D 

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Here here! I mean I knew Brits use 'got' whereas AmE uses 'gotten', but like you, I was taught it was  get - got - gotten, in school. And over here we also have British English taught in schools. :shrug:  Very odd! :D

whispers *it's 'hear hear'* :)

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It threw me at first hearing......"he's gone to hospital", instead of "he's gone to the hospital".  We, Americans, always insert the "the" naturally. 

Also "pissed" over here means angry, not drunk.

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It threw me at first hearing......"he's gone to hospital", instead of "he's gone to the hospital".  We, Americans, always insert the "the" naturally. 

Also "pissed" over here means angry, not drunk.

 

In the UK, "He's gone to the hospital" would mean that he has gone to a specific hospital, but not necessarily for treatment  (indeed, a logical response to the statement wculd be "Why?", as in has he gone for treatment, or for another reason?  He might even be a doctor or nurse off to provide treatment!)..  'To hospital' means that someone has gone for hospital based treatment, without defining precisely which hospital they've gone too. 

 

If you add "off", as in "I'm pissed off", then it can mean angry over here too, in a fed up sort of way!

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Willoyd, you've put it exactly as I think it should be explained, but so much better than I would have done.

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I don't know about everyone, but in our age group, we use pissed (or pissy) as a synonym of annoyed or angry in the UK as well =)

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What bothers me the most is spell check on my computer. My spell check will automatically correct spelling to only American English, even if I meant to type the British spelling. 

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What bothers me the most is spell check on my computer. My spell check will automatically correct spelling to only American English, even if I meant to type the British spelling. 

 

What word processor do you use? Have you set the language to British English (some come with the default of American English).?

 

I use Microsoft Word, which is set, under File > Options > Language to 'English (UK)', and American spellings (like 'traveled') are picked up as errors.

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What word processor do you use? Have you set the language to British English (some come with the default of American English).?

 

I use Microsoft Word, which is set, under File > Options > Language to 'English (UK)', and American spellings (like 'traveled') are picked up as errors.

Ah, thank you! (Sorry, I'm sort of clueless about computers.)

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Yes mine picks up US spellings as well, but I just ignore it, I know I'm right!

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It threw me at first hearing......"he's gone to hospital", instead of "he's gone to the hospital". We, Americans, always insert the "the" naturally.

Yet you miss out the 'and' when saying numbers like "three hundred and six"! :giggle2:

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Ah, thank you! (Sorry, I'm sort of clueless about computers.)

 

There's a big club of us like that!

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