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  1. #11
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    What do you call a series of classes where you learn a language? I can't think of another term in English except "language course".

    - Where is John this week?
    - He's on an Italian course in Rome.

    - Do you want to learn Spanish?
    - Yes. In fact, I've signed up to a Spanish course at my local college.

    The only thing I can think of in American English is that you don't have a singular noun for it, but would say "He's taking Italian classes" or something similar. Is that right?
    "He's taking Itaian classes" works, but more frequently heard woud be "He's taking an Italian course." (AmE)

  2. #12
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    "He's taking Itaian classes" works, but more frequently heard woud be "He's taking an Italian course." (AmE)
    Ah, so it was only the preposition that was the issue when someone else said that "He's on an English course" wouldn't work in AmE. Thanks.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #13
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    ... in your part of the world. As we've said, it's fine in BrE.
    It is. Honest.

  4. #14
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    What do you call a series of classes where you learn a language? I can't think of another term in English except "language course".

    - Where is John this week?
    - He's on an Italian course in Rome.

    - Do you want to learn Spanish?
    - Yes. In fact, I've signed up to a Spanish course at my local college.

    The only thing I can think of in American English is that you don't have a singular noun for it, but would say "He's taking Italian classes" or something similar. Is that right?
    The difference between the American and the British version is not about "course", it is about "on" and "up". How does one get "on" a course? A person can get "on" a bus and can get "on" the fast track, but not "on" a class, or course. Would this work in BrE - I've enlisted up to a four year term in the Marines?

  5. #15
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    The difference between the American and the British version is not about "course", it is about "on" and "up". How does one get "on" a course? A person can get "on" a bus and can get "on" the fast track, but not "on" a class, or course. Would this work in BrE - I've enlisted up to a four year term in the Marines?
    I think we'd be more likely to say "I've enlisted in the Marines for four years".

  6. #16
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    The difference between the American and the British version is not about "course", it is about "on" and "up". How does one get "on" a course? A person can get "on" a bus and can get "on" the fast track, but not "on" a class, or course. Would this work in BrE - I've enlisted up to a four year term in the Marines?
    Perhaps this use of "on" is rather unusual but in the UK, one "gets on" a course by going to the website or the college and "signing up" for it. If your application is successful then you are officially "on the course".

    We don't use it with "class" but then we don't really use that in the same way as it's used in AmE. Where you say "He's taking Italian classes", we say "He's having Italian lessons".

    We don't say "enlisted up", but we do say that we "sign up for/to/as" something.

    I've signed up for singing lessons this winter.
    I've signed up to volunteer with clearing rubbish off the streets on Sunday morning.
    I've signed up as a volunteer at a charity shop.

    With the Marines, I think we say "I've enlisted on a four-year term in the Marines" but I'm not knowledgeable about military terminology. It might be "for", not "on". Or something like "I've enlisted in the Marines for a four-year tour".
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 30-Oct-2012 at 15:29. Reason: typo and additional info
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #17
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    We might also say "I've signed up for four years in the Marines".

  8. #18
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    I really do believe you!

    It's just that before I started learning more about how different our prepositions can be, I would have said "at" the weekend was wrong, living "in" a street was wrong, and being "on" a course was wrong. Now I know that all three are fine, as long as you're not talking to an American. I used to think our differences were mostly vocabulary, some spelling, and that got/gotten thing, but now I know that prepositions can be sneaky about how they work on different continents as well!
    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.

  9. #19
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I really do believe you!

    It's just that before I started learning more about how different our prepositions can be, I would have said "at" the weekend was wrong, living "in" a street was wrong, and being "on" a course was wrong. Now I know that all three are fine, as long as you're not talking to an American. I used to think our differences were mostly vocabulary, some spelling, and that got/gotten thing, but now I know that prepositions can be sneaky about how they work on different continents as well!

    For us Australians as well. We would never say at the weekend, always on the weekend. We don't say in a street, but on a street. Atleast I've never heard it used that way in the classroom, and in my classroom with the prac teacher, when the children wrote about what they where going to do or did on the weekend, they would always be told not to write 'at the weekend'.

    I don't know. You Americans and Brits are weird. :D
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  10. #20
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    Re: I'm on an English course - correct ?

    ...or "I've joined the Marines on a 4 year commitment." It's that BrE "on" again....
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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