comments policy

Comments and discussion are very welcome here, but please keep them on the topic of the post at hand.

If the post contains links to past posts on other topics (say, a word I've used in passing in the blog post) and you want to comment about that word-I've-used-in-passing, please click on the link and comment at that discussion. That helps to keep information where people can find it (and cuts down on me answering the same questions repeatedly in different places).

Please do not use the comments of one post to request coverage of language issues that are unrelated to that post. Instead, please use the 'e-mail Lynneguist' feature to request a new topic. (Regardless of whether your query begets a post, I will reply to it in as swiftly as I can.) It's not [necessarily!] that I want the glory for posting about your new topic. It's that the comments are not searched when one does a 'search this blog' search, thus no one can ever find those interesting comments again--and I aim for searchability here, since this blog should be able to be used as a reference work on BrE/AmE differences.

I will remove comments that are unduly abusive to other individuals. Feel free to disagree, but please do so in a polite way.

I also remove spam comments as soon as I detect them.


  1. Just discovered your blog - this is fascinating and reflects conversations that I have been having for at least twenty years!

  2. After thirty years, I still have to battle with clients who request I translate from Spanish into US and not UK English. (I'm British)
    At least they all agree there's an easy solution, to wit:

    "Just set the spellchecker to US English!"

    I'd send them a link to this blog, except they wouldn't understand a word.

  3. I just discovered your wonderful blog! I'm from New Jersey but have been living in England for the past 11 years. The language differences can be frustrating but I'm fascinated by them as well. I never knew about the different shoe names, so you've taught me something already!

  4. I've worked in the US for 14 years and besides the "zed" "zee" difference, I've noticed that words are not pronounced clearly here. Eg. the "t" after a consonant, eg. Clinton,is pronounced Clinin.
    And some say "schm" for words beginning with sh, sm, eg. smirnoff.
    I'm from Toronto,Canada and when I began nursing adolescents in inner city Oakland, California,I noticed after a while some would greet me in what they thought was an English accent. They said they were imitating me. How funny. I certainly don't have an English accent.
    Thank you for your blog. It's very interesting.
    Thank you for you blog. It is very informative.


  5. The archive of comments posted on this site may not be a readily searchable resource, but neither is a stack of E-mails sent to you privately. In fact that isn't a resource at all, except to you.

    Have you considered having a post specifically for people to suggest new topics? You might find this would save you work, because you wouldn't have to reply to everybody individually, and if you have already covered the topic being suggested, it's quite likely that one of your regulars will point this out, saving you the trouble.

  6. Thanks for your feedback. I'm not doing something like that because this isn't a discussion forum, it's a blog with comments. That means it's a place where an individual (me) is trying to create a resource based on my particular set of experience and skills. I love that people comment and I feel that for some people (including me), it's created a sense of community in the comments section. But this is a blog, it's not a discussion forum moderated by me. I started it because I wanted to write about BrE & AmE, and that's what I'm doing.

    What you're describing sounds more like a discussion board, and such things, with great discussions of these topics exist in lots of other places on the web, e.g. Metafilter, Stack Exchange, Yahoo Answers, various expatriate and linguistic discussion groups, etc.

    Lots of people do not follow the comments policy I've described here. They bring up all sorts of things in the comments. People who are a bit more sophisticated in using search engines *can* search for those (it's just the search box on the blog that won't turn them up). So, the way this policy has evolved is that I let the discussions of new topics go on without me in the comments section. (Except sometimes to point out that there is a post on that topic, and that the comments would be more helpful at that post.) In some cases, I will later do a blog post on that topic. In others, I'll let it slide because it's not made it onto my email inbox radar.

    This means it's in practice my policy for how I'm going to react to new topics in the comments. I need such policies to keep me sane, focused on my (real) job and attending to my other parts of my non-internet life.

  7. I wasn't really suggesting a discussion board, merely a place where your readership could put forward topics for you to consider writing about.

    But I see what you mean. People would be unable to restrain themselves from debating the topics that others had raised, and the thing would rapidly degenerate into a huge and hopelessly chaotic discussion board. It is clear to me now that the current arrangement is far more sensible. Sorry to have wasted your time.

    The following is off-topic, and therefore an infringement of your comments policy... but I'd just like to say that although I have no special reason to be interested in US/UK language differences, when I came across this blog a few months ago I found it thoroughly engaging. It is so well-written and thoughtful and interesting that it has now become one of my three favourite places on the entire web. Great job, Lynne. Thank you.

  8. Aw, thanks! (she says, against her policy of not-commenting on off-topic posts).


  9. Nice blog. As an American who lived in England during the late 60's early 70's I received an education in English from not only the BBC, very proper, to Coronation Street, very something, and enjoyed every second. My favorite is whinge and whine. Very satisfactory in either variation of the language we share. I also learned that English beer is superior in all respects.

  10. Like previous posters, I've just discovered your weblog. It looks fascinating :)

  11. Lynne,

    Apologies for disregarding this comment policy, particularly in a certain post (which now contains a few less -- or possibly fewer -- comments than it had), and for facetiousness in my (mis-)use of the term "non-precriptive" -- which I feel sure you took in good humour (or would have, if,in fact, you didn't bother reading an off-topic remark). I'm sorry to say I hadn't bothered reading your comments policy, but having now done so, and felt the shame of having wasted your precious time, I will endeavour to remain within bounds -- even if I can't promise to be slavish in my adherence to standards.


  12. Am thrilled to have discovered your blog, as I have had endless discussions with my German (American English-influenced husband) who complains about British pronunciation and spelling, and says that American English is much easier. As I teach English here in Germany, I have to say (somewhat unwillingly, I admit) that I agree with him. Germans find American English much easier to learn, probably because American English has been influenced so much by German.


The book!

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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)