Tuesday, October 18, 2016

TIP TUESDAY: PANTS OR TROUSERS, SHOUT OR BARK, VACUUM OR HOOVER

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last week we discussed differences between British spelling and American spelling, and the fact that The Chicago Manual of Style wants those of you who publish books in the U.S. to use American spelling.

Now we turn our attention to vocabulary. Wilma of South Englishtown Gazette shared this information in her comment: Regarding pants and trousers - pants means underpants in British English and I believe trousers work the same in Britain or the US, but stay away from grey underpants in either nation!

Thank you, Wilma. Right you are. We need to know the correct vocabulary for our audiences. If you're British and you're not J.K. Rowling but you hope to publish your book in the U.S., or if you're American and you're not J.K. Rowling but you hope to publish your book in the U.K., know appropriate usage.

This Web site has a list of differences between U.S. and U.K. words. 

As the outstanding student Hermione can tell you,




the American editor of the Harry Potter series asked author J.K. Rowling to make some vocabulary changes in the books because Americans would have been confused by certain words and phrases. In fact, in the U.K. the first book is called Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, whereas in the U.S., we read Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone

But as the series progressed, changes became minimal, which, as I recall, led to some American parents protesting that the students in the books had started snogging. Horrors! 

They were making out, not shagging.

As the parent of a Hurricane who went to school in England, I know that Brits study maths, not math, and a fanny is not what you think it is if you're an American.

So, Dearly Beloved, write appropriately for your audience because I am not J.K. Rowling and neither are you––unless J.K. Rowling reads my blog in secret because she swears by TIP TUESDAY. 

Not likely, eh? (That's a little shout out to our Canadian friends.)

Next week's TIP TUESDAY will feature a guest post by Linda Kay, the author of three published books, who is at work on Book #4. She blogs at Senior Adventures.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Hey, you. Yes, YOU! If you haven't voted in my current Battle of the Bands, vote now or forever eat your peas. It's Amy Winehouse v. Nat King Cole. The song is The Girl From Ipanema, and I have The Actual, Factual Ipanemic Girl (I made up Ipanemic) in a nice video of an interview with her.

34 comments:

  1. Isn't napkin another one? Sanitary pad in some places, paper towel in others? Could be awkward.

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    1. I don't know about that one, but I found a Web site that says Brits say "sanitary towel."

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  2. Brits say "car park," Americans say "parking lot," and Canadians say "parkade" (if it's a covered multi-level parking structure). One of our Canadian friends married an American and her Yank husband categorically refused to believe that parkade was a real word. He always accused her of just making it up. When we were visiting once and I innocently used that word, she called her husband into the room and made me repeat it to him, lol!

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    1. I love that! I've never heard of parkade.

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  3. another great Tip Tuesday! I just finished reading your gray vs grey post too. Very valuable and love your humor when you're imparting the information!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. We might as well laugh while we learn.

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  4. I enjoy dropping an occasional J.K. on my grandchildren, who say "Grandma!" in that tone of horror.

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  5. What does fanny mean in England. Total blank.

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    1. It's not your rear end, but it's close.

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    2. It's also what Donald Trump wants to grab, but only if the women aren't dogs and fat pigs.

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    3. OMG! That would be a glaring error--LOL! I bet there are no Fannys in England, then. No one in their right mind would name a daughter that over there--LOL!

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  6. I read many works by British writers before I finished hs 00and learned a lot of vocabulary and also retained a feel for British English. It would not hurt young people or the older of us to hear something that is not familiar. But, what do I know?
    ppsrsimony

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    1. I think it's great to expose young people to other cultures. The story is that the editor came to the word "barking" and thought it meant "barking mad" when it meant "shouting." He thought readers would be confused, and of course some were later on when it came to "snogging."

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  7. In the USA, a father would deck you for saying you'd "knock his daughter up" in the morning.

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    1. Don't you knock up daughters at night?

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  8. I love your grammar tips and benefit from them. What about the difference between toward and towards? I think Brits add the "s" while Americans don't.

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    1. Yes, they do add the "s." You missed that post last week while you were out roaming around with Mrs. C.

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  9. I get confused between British English and American English because I read so much by British authors and also like BBC news. Even so, the website for which you shared the link had some new ones for me. Juggernaut! Naughts and crosses! Drawing-pin! Now I know and I thank you. Cheers!

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  10. I remember the look of horror on a British student's face (I was a freshman in college also) when I mentioned having "fanny fatigue" after sitting through an over long lecture.

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  11. Your answer to Rita's question gives a whole new meaning to "fanny pack"!!

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  12. In Australia thongs go on ones feet not over ones fanny, we wear track pants not sweat pants and have snag not a sausage and when we root we are not cheering someone on, just saying.

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    1. Thanks, JoAnne. When I was a child, thongs were a type of sandal. I was shocked when the word began to refer to having dental floss up our asses, which I don't care to experience.

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  13. I've read so many books throughout my life that my vocabulary is probably a holy mess and my head is spinning! But you'll straighten me out with these tips :)

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    1. Grab your head with both hands and stop it from spinning or someone might call the exorcist.

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  14. This brings back fond memories of my 10th grade French teacher telling us about some of her language mishaps...like telling her neighbor not to "douche" (meaning shower) her with the hose he was watering his garden with.

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    1. Oh, great. I had some friends whose Spanish teacher studied in Mexico as a young woman. She accidentally told her hosts that she was very pregnant. They put her to bed and called for help.

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  15. Ahhh language....my mom always squirmed at the declaration, "We the people, for the people, by the people" (not sure if I have it in the right order) because in German, people, means penis...hahahaaaa.

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  16. I think perhaps J.K. Rowling does, in fact, read your blog. She'd be foolish not to.

    Maths??? Really I didn't realize that word was different between the U.S. and Britain. Thank you so much for the heads up on the word "fanny". I looked that up as I had no idea what you were talking about. I guess the next time I go to Britain, I won't be using the phrase "kiss my fanny."

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    1. Oh yes, stay away from references to fanny kissing. On one of my daughter's first nights at Cambridge, she got lost in the maths building and came across Professor Hawking's office. She hid outside and saw his assistant and the great man's chair, but never saw Hawking. Maybe we can start a campaign to get J.K. Rowling to endorse my blog. Even better, maybe I'll finally get my letter from Hogwarts.

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Got your panties in a bunch? Dig 'em out, get comfortable, and let's chat.