Saturday, July 7, 2012

American English... my old nemesis


In my other life I am editing again, which means that, once again, my spelling falls short of the stuff you find in Webster’s. Is it Webster’s? Whatever dictionary you Americans use. The one that's not the Oxford. You know the one. It's shorter, because you took out all the u's in the our endings to save on printing costs. Yeah, I think it's Webster's that doesn't like me. Also, just quietly, the Chicago Manual of Style has issues with my love of italics to show direct thoughts, but that’s a whole other thing.

But OMFG, I can’t… I just... you don’t even… that toward/towards forward/forwards backward/backwards thing gets me EVERY time! Why… WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY can you not use English the right way?

(By which, of course, I mean my way. Because everything I do is right.)

Okay. Fine. Some American usages are okay. Some actually…ahem…make more sense. But others…really, Americans, really?

Here is the brilliant David Mitchell on American English:  



Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to pop out to get some printer toner and take the cat to the vet. Will you hold the fort?

14 comments:

  1. Love it! "Could care less" has bugged me since the first time I saw it and assumed it was a typo.

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    Replies
    1. I als thought it was a typo the first time I saw it...because it just doesn't make any sense, right?

      Delete
  2. American English can be confusing. Love the post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sheena-kay!

      My brain is just set to default Australian English, and it's surprising difficult to unlearn what you know. :)

      Delete
  3. Printing costs? You give us too much credit. We did it just to be different. Seriously, that's the reason.

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    1. Oh... I knew there had to be a reason :)

      Delete
  4. I looked up toward/towards, and I'm not only still not sure which to use, but I'm not even sure which way I used to use it.

    But I did just get an inflatable hoverfort if you'd like to come over and tickle it.

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    1. Apparently you're supposed to use "toward".

      And I would love to tickle your inflatable hoverfort.
      Wait...is that a euphemism?

      Delete
  5. Everything about this video makes me so, so appy.

    Where DID hold down the fort come from? "Could care less" has always been a pet peeve of mine, but I never even stopped to consider hold down the fort. It sounds like we're just a little overzealous with our metaphors. Don't hold the fort - we're not here to coddle it! You hold it *down*! With both hands!

    What?!

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    1. The fort just doesn't seem secure...

      The small differences like holding or holding down the fort don't really bother me, but the first time I heard an American say "I could care less" I was sure I'd misheard, but it makes absolutely no logical sense...

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  6. Yay! Long live the English language! :)

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    Replies
    1. In all it's weird permutations!

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