[Grammar] British or Britisher

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keen learner

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What do we say?
He is British.
He is Britisher.
 

Tullia

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I would strongly advise you NEVER to say "Britisher" or "a Britisher". You may hear it used, probably in Indian English (and I see you list yourself as Indian) but most British people consider it an insulting term. Some people are more insulted than others, of course, but it's best avoided totally.
 

BobK

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:up: 'He is British' works fine. 'Britisher' is not only insulting, it is also a noun - so in less enlightened times some people said 'he is a Britisher', but as Tullia said this is offensive. (Like any noun it can be used with an adjectival function - so you could have 'a Briitsher '<noun>' (though it's not advisable to use it).

Another less offensive version is 'he's a Brit'; a lot af people dislike this.

b
 

SoothingDave

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I've never heard of "Britisher."
 

BobK

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I've only met it in World War 2 comics, where German officers nearly always address British soldiers as 'du Britisher pig-dog' ;-)

b
 

SoothingDave

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Schwein-hund.

I use "Brits" on occasion, but mean no offense. Would "Britons" be the preferred term?
 

keen learner

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:up: 'He is British' works fine. 'Britisher' is not only insulting, it is also a noun - so in less enlightened times some people said 'he is a Britisher', but as Tullia said this is offensive. (Like any noun it can be used with an adjectival function - so you could have 'a Briitsher '<noun>' (though it's not advisable to use it).

Another less offensive version is 'he's a Brit'; a lot af people dislike this.

b
Will I say "I met a British on a cruise."? or "a British person"? or "a British man"?
 

Tdol

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I have heard South Asian speakers using it- it may not be intended to be taken as offensive, but it's probably better not to use it.
 

emsr2d2

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Will I say "I met a British on a cruise."? or "a British person"? or "a British man"?

I met a British person/man/woman/girl/guy etc on a cruise.
I met a Brit on a cruise (note that I don't consider "a Brit" to be offensive at all).

I too had never heard of "Britisher" so would not have considered it either correct or offensive. I can imagine it being in a German war comic but I would have expected it to be "Britische(r)" which would fit the German for the adjective "British".
 

Tullia

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I've never heard of "Britisher."


I've heard it a lot, but that's because I used to be admin for an online forum where the community was international but predominantly Indian, with a substantial proportion of Brits as well, and we had some problems over the use this word. It seemed that many of the Indian community members were using it without intent to offend (or indeed realisation that it offended) so we had to do a bit of two-way education to teach the Indian members that it might be offended and the British members that it wasn't usually meant to be offensive when they saw it in the forum!


I'm not sure "Britons" is heard very often. I'd stick to "the British" or "British people".
 

keen learner

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Now that I read in Bob's post in what context it was used I understand why the British feel offended.Not only will i refrain from using it but will also tell others not to use it because here it is used just to refer to person who is from GB as in "I met an American".
 

BobK

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Schwein-hund.

I use "Brits" on occasion, but mean no offense. Would "Britons" be the preferred term?


I take no offence, but I still don't like it very much. ;-) (It's a bit like young people, and older ones with pretensions to modernity, saying 'uni' when they mean 'university' - without even the excuse of being Australian. ;-)

b
 

BobK

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I met a British person/man/woman/girl/guy etc on a cruise.
I met a Brit on a cruise (note that I don't consider "a Brit" to be offensive at all).

I too had never heard of "Britisher" so would not have considered it either correct or offensive. I can imagine it being in a German war comic but I would have expected it to be "Britische(r)" which would fit the German for the adjective "British".
:up: Agreed, about the c, but as the writers didn't even trust their readers with 'Schweinhund'...

b
 

bagzi94

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He is British.
He is a British.

May I say both? If so, what's the difference.
Thank you for your time in advance! :)
 

bhaisahab

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He is British.
He is a British.

May I say both? If so, what's the difference.
Thank you for your time in advance! :)

You can say "He is British" or "He is a British person". Not "He is a British".
 

BobSmith

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You learn something new every day. It never dawned on me that "he's a Brit" may be in any way offensive. I can't think of an AmE equivalent, except for maybe a southerner saying "he's a yank" (to which I would take no offense, even if offense was meant).

Can someone explain why "Britisher" is offensive? I can't for the life of me make out why.
 

SoothingDave

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Some British people (and other foreigners) refer to any Americans as "Yankees" or "Yanks."

I wouldn't take offense, even if I were from the south.

To me "Brits" and "Yanks" are like "nicknames."
 

Tullia

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Can someone explain why "Britisher" is offensive? I can't for the life of me make out why.

I haven't come across it in the context BobK recognises it, but in the Indian context it was, so I have been told, used in the 19th century to refer in a very pejorative manner to the British people who were of course often in positions of power in colonial India. Nowadays a lot of younger Indians don't realise that was how the word was originally used and don't realise it could be deemed offensive, but for many British people it brings up uncomfortable associations with the actions of people in the past with whom we might not wish to be conflated. Of course, some Indian people who have very strong views about the British in India still do use it when they are *trying* to be offensive, so I think it's best avoided on "better safe than sorry" grounds. I didn't know, as Tdol mentioned, it is also used in SE Asia, and I don't know about how people in that part of the world would react to it, but as I saw the OP was Indian I thought that avoiding it would be the safest advice.
 

TheParser

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I am not a good reader, but I do not think that any British person answered this question from two fellow members:

Is it OK to refer to people as "Britons"?

I also have another serious question. Would the "average" British person get angry if someone referred (in a friendly way) to

him/her as a "L _ _ _ _"? (I am referring to that fruit that was used in the British Navy for nutritional purposes.)

Of course, I know better than to ever visit Wales or Scotland and say something like "I like you English people"!
 
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