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:: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 ::

In Style

Not Oscar style, but word style, woo! -_^

I've been reading The Economist's website today--a lot of awesome stuff on there. They've even published part of their style guide, which informs staff writers that "In countries with a presidential system you may run for office. In those with a parliamentary one, stand" and the correct spellings of names such as Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. My favorite section, though, has to do with "Americanisms".

You see, The Economist is a British magazine, so they stick with British spellings such as colour and flavour. In addition they caution against using American vocabularly and grammar. My favorite points:

- People rest from their labours at weekends, not on them and during the week their children are at school, not in it.

- A parking lot is a car park. Use senior rather than ranking, rumpus rather than ruckus,and rumbustious rather than rambunctious.

- In particular, do not fight shy—-as Americans often do-—of the perfect tense, especially where no date or time is given. Thus Mr Bush has woken up to the danger is preferable to Mr Bush woke up to the danger.

- And if you must use American expressions, use them correctly (a rain-check does not imply checking on the shower activity).

It's interesting on so many levels--first of all, the idea that the British are so throughly rejecting changes in the English language simply because they're "American" in origin. I also have to giggle because British English just sounds weird to the American ear sometimes ("he's been taken to hospital" ...the hospital?). But it's also interesting how many deep differences there are. I always knew that a lorry was a truck and a cheque was a check, but I had no idea that "ex-servicemen are not necessarily veterans". (Why not? Dishonor-, er, honourable discharge?)

Want to see how your English fares? Take this quiz based on their style guide to see.

(Note: you may have to watch an ad in order to access the site. It's totally worth it.)


:: Kazen @ Always Doing 8:49 PM [+] ::
:: ... 1 comments | backtrack ::

Thanks for letting me know what a lorry was. I listen to Virgin radio from London everyday at work. They are always saying that the road is closed due to an over turned lorry. Now I know what it is. It is different and takes getting used to with their words and sayings. I think I have most of them down but somethings still trip me up. I just love the accent for some reason. I could listen to it all day. Love YA!!!!!!! Aimee
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