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  1. #1
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Listening to the radio last night, I heard 2 radio DJs (British) interviewing an American folk singer, and I noticed an interesting verb use. I'm wondering if it was an accident or if the following is acceptable in AmE:

    DJ: So how long have you been singing?
    Singer: I sang since I was a little girl.

    Now, I realise that I would have expected an answer like "I've been singing for 10 years" as an appropriate answer to the exact question, but the point is that in BrE, her answer would be:

    I've been singing since I was a little girl.

    Is it correct that in AmE, the past simple would be used before "since" here?

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    If I were composing proper sentences, I would also say "I've been singing since..." or possibly "I've sung since..."

    But perhaps when she started, she was thinking something like "I sang when I was just a little girl" and changed her direction as she went.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    ...
    But perhaps when she started, she was thinking something like "I sang when I was just a little girl" and changed her direction as she went.
    Sounds very probable. The syntax of speech is like that.

    (Then of course it finds its way into a corpus, and then an academic says it's acceptable syntax [period - not something emollient like 'accepted in informal speech'], and then we have to go through the Descriptive vs Prescriptive wars all over again. )

    b

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    then we have to go through the Descriptive vs Prescriptive wars all over again. )

    b
    In this war, the pen is surely mightier than the sword!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    But if both sides are armed with pens?

  6. #6
    meobeo is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    It's not very uncommon to hear even native English speakers say something seemingly grammatically incorrect. On one occassion, when I was listening to the BBC, a man from London being interviewed said :"Personally, I done it 7 years on me father's advice." It's just the way he speaks naturally, reflecting his dialect and it surely is not standard.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Quote Originally Posted by meobeo View Post
    It's not very uncommon to hear even native English speakers say something seemingly grammatically incorrect. On one occassion, when I was listening to the BBC, a man from London being interviewed said :"Personally, I done it 7 years on me father's advice." It's just the way he speaks naturally, reflecting his dialect and it surely is not standard.
    Oh, I absolutely agree and when it's a BrE speaker speaking, I know when it's simply a dialect rather than a grammatical error. However, because the speaker in this example was American, I was interested to know if this was actually an accepted construction in AmE or simply a slip-up!

  8. #8
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    we have to go through the Descriptive vs Prescriptive wars all over again. )

    b
    Is there no room for a neutrality?

  9. #9
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Is there no room for a neutrality?
    The only things in the middle of the road are dead possums.

  10. #10
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Example of AmE vs BrE?

    Kill or be roadkilled?

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