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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #1

    Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    There is much less difference between British and American English than most people imagine.

    What is grammatically correct in the UK is also correct in the US, and vice versa.

    With the exception of the spelling of a few words, and the obvious differences in pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, and lexical items, good English is good English, and bad English is bad English.

    Chalking things up to British/ American differences is most often the sign of ignorance.

    So, ESL learners, beware!


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    #2

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    Hear hear!

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    #3

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    Quote Originally Posted by phukos View Post
    There is much less difference between British and American English than most people imagine.

    What is grammatically correct in the UK is also correct in the US, and vice versa.

    With the exception of the spelling of a few words, and the obvious differences in pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, and lexical items, good English is good English, and bad English is bad English.

    Chalking things up to British/ American differences is most often the sign of ignorance.

    So, ESL learners, beware!
    I'd like to endorse this, with the rider that the ignorance being spoken of may not necessarily have the pejorative connotations often associated with that word. Just today I received a PM from a member who was genuinely surprised to learn that the major variants of English (US/UK/AUS/NZL/SA/CAN) are all mutually intelligible and share the same core structure. The person sending the message genuinely thought that native English speakers from one country would struggle to understand those from another.


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    #4

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    stuartnz:
    It's one thing for learners in this forum, with little exposure to English in their everyday conversations, to fear the spectre of some vast 'difference' between American and British English they hear about.
    It is another for native speakers in this forum to construe poor grammar as being a valid American variant, and some normal evolution of 'the people's language'.


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    #5

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    I'd like to endorse this, with the rider that the ignorance being spoken of may not necessarily have the pejorative connotations often associated with that word. Just today I received a PM from a member who was genuinely surprised to learn that the major variants of English (US/UK/AUS/NZL/SA/CAN) are all mutually intelligible and share the same core structure. The person sending the message genuinely thought that native English speakers from one country would struggle to understand those from another.
    Yes, 'ignorance' might be a little strong. And we'll just ignore Glasgow!

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    #6

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    stuartnz:
    It's one thing for learners in this forum, with little exposure to English in their everyday conversations, to fear the spectre of some vast 'difference' between American and British English they hear about.
    It is another for native speakers in this forum to construe poor grammar as being a valid American variant, and some normal evolution of 'the people's language'.
    I made no claim otherwise. My only concern was the possibly unintended consequence of the use of the word "ignorance" in a post addressed, not to native speakers, but to learners.

    As for the evolution of the language, and what actually constitutes poor grammar, those are topics for another place.
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    #7

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    Quote Originally Posted by phukos View Post
    What is grammatically correct in the UK is also correct in the US, and vice versa.
    Nearly always, but I have seen AmE speakers classify want/need + ing with a passive meaning and will have + past participle for assumptions about an already completed act as errors and they were surprised when BrE speakers said they were fine to them.

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    #8

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Nearly always, but I have seen AmE speakers classify want/need + ing with a passive meaning and will have + past participle for assumptions about an already completed act as errors and they were surprised when BrE speakers said they were fine to them.
    There is a page called "common errors in English" which I have on my list of links. I have renamed the link "Alleged errors in US English" because some of the errors listed are only considered such in US English, and others are just prescriptivist nitpickery such as "compare with/compare to" and other such nonsensical made-up shibboleths.

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    #9

    Re: Much less difference than imagined US/ UK

    When I was a childe, people complained about the changes coming from AmE, but now it appears that the position has reversed.

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