Someone, probably not George Bernard Shaw, once said that the US and Britain are two countries forever separated by a common language. With a little practice, we can decipher most of what the other is saying, but British English and American English have distinct idioms, some of which grate on the ear. There are quite a few phrases that were coined in America and seeped their way back into British use, and readers responding to a language article suggested the ones that bother them the most. Here’s a taste:
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6. “Touch base”—it makes me cringe no end.
7. Is “physicality” a real word?
8. Transportation. What’s wrong with transport?
9. Does nobody celebrate a birthday any more, must we all “turn” 12 or 21 or 40?
10. What kind of word is “gotten”? It makes me shudder.
Some of these bother older Americans, too. But some are just different word usage.
31. My brother now uses the term “season” for a TV series. Hideous.
In the US, we understand that a TV “series” is a show that can run for years, as opposed to a special, TV movie, or a mini-series, while a “season” is a year of that show (or in the case of reality game shows, it’s one multi-episode game, since they often have two or three per year). The British use “series” for a year’s worth of a “show.” Neither is wrong, any more than calling fries chips or calling cookies biscuits. Read more of the annoying American terms that are invading British English at LitHub. -via Nag on the Lake
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