Tag Archives: English

Angry Sub-Editor: America versus Britain

Angry Sub-Editor: America versus Britain.

I enjoyed this post from Angry Sub-Editor. If you care about language, you might want to follow his blog.

We all know that US and UK English often have different words for the same thing (gasoline v petrol, sidewalk v pavement, etc). The global presence of American entertainment means that people in the UK are familiar with most of them, and some American words are commonly used in the UK nowadays (so ‘movie’ seems to co-exist quite happily with ‘film’). Others, such as ‘furlough’, didn’t survive the Atlantic crossing, while many Britons have never even heard of ‘maven’ or ‘hazing’.

But there is a more select group of words that mean one thing in Britain and another in America. It’s as well to be on your guard if you don’t want to be misunderstood.


Screen Shot 2012-12-23 at 14.19.38


I think the English language is now comprehensively broken. There’s no point my railing against it any more. It is busted, kaput, knackered, failed, conked out, beyond repair. It has reached the point where the mechanic has sucked his breath in through his teeth, whistled and shaken his head sadly.

When I hear pre-planned (planned planning?), pre-prepared (preparing to prepare something?), pre-ordered (you order something, you reserve something, you don’t order something before you reserve it … ARGH!), my head does backflips. But pre-used is a whole new pre-order of pre-mangled language.

Pre. Used.

Think about it for a second. I think they mean it’s second-hand. It’s used. Someone has already had the pleasure of using this unit. But if it’s pre-used, surely that’s brand new, never been out of the box, unopened? If it’s pre-used, it’s never been used. It’s… Wait… Um…

Sorry. I think my brain just melted and dribbled out of my left ear. Has anyone got a cloth?

King Ell

Dear Subjects,

I object to apostrophe misuse in my realm. If you feel the way I do, next time you spot an errant apostrophe please email an image to kingell@barries.net. I will fix it as soon as I can. Sadly, the error won’t be corrected in the real world, but at least you will gain immense satisfaction when the misplaced and missing apostrophes you’ve found are put right on here. You can also click the ‘Shop’ link above, to show your support for the King.

via King Ell.

A worthy cause. I hate to see apostrophes abused.


This has been bugging me for a while. I don’t know why I let them annoy me, but they do. What am I talking about? Mispronunciation.

Next time you have a conversation with someone under the age of, say, 40, listen out for the following pronunciations:

  • Shtupid
  • Shtudent
  • Shchool
  • Shtress
  • Shtraight
  • Shtation

It doesn’t appear to affect every instance of English language words beginning with “st”, but it is definitely spreading.

I know. I’m being pedantic. Change is inevitable. I do think some basic elocution lessons should be included in the shchool curriculum, though.