English tips: Watching boob tubes on the boob tube. How Americanly British.

Communicate for Success—English Tips, Vol. 5

We Americans refer to the television as the boob tube. But to the British, a boob tube is a tube top. Americans and Brits have other subtle differences in our languages that go beyond the imperial “u” the British like to insert between “o” and “r.” We explore a few of those subtleties in today’s English tips. (Thanks to our friends at Oxford University Press for noting most of these and many more.)

Communicate for Success word cloud taken from Consistent Voice Communication's web home page and created with tagxedo.comToward vs towards—Only use “towards” if you’re British. You don’t need the sovereign “s” if you’re American.

That’s very accommodating—Only use “accommodations” if you’re American. The British drop the sovereign “s” and speak only of “accommodation.” They must have been miffed at the queen that day.

More than one math is too much—We Americans hate “math,” as our test scores show, which is why we treat it singularly. To our friends across the pond, however, it’s “maths.”

Unlike a—No, we’re not referring to unliking someone on Facebook. We Americans, speak of “unlike” as in different, unlike the British who speak of “unalike.”

What an ugly home—In America, when we speak of “homey,” we speak of a comfortable and inviting abode. The same concept in Britain is “homely,” which to Americans means “ugly.” Want to confuse the British next time you visit? Refer to yourself as a “homely American.”

More to come. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any. Or click on the archive link below. Have a question about the English language? Ask it in the comments section.


English tips archive


Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at Tom@YourConsistentVoice.com.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lena on January 13, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Tom, thank you for helping me to tighten up my writing; I am sensing a shift. My t
    thoughts are being articulated more clearly, succinctly. If you disagree, I trust you will tell me so.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • I gave a talk to a university class in October in which I told them to find supportive critics to keep them grounded and growing throughout their writing lives, Lena. There is no greatness, only growth. We need people willing to help us continue to succeed by suggesting better approaches, whatever our endeavors. Yes, your thoughts are being articulated more clearly and succinctly. And I will continue to provide you supportive criticism to help keep you grounded and growing. Isn’t that what you teach in New Thought Sobriety? I trust you will do the same for me. BTW, you have a typo in your comment. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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