Why University of Sunderland's 'Americanisms' excuse doesn't wash, y’all
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We all make mistakes, even (brace yourselves) this newspaper. It’s a fine university too. But the use of “meters” instead of the correct “metres” was not admitted as an error. It was apparently an “Americanism”; although to many the two terms are interchangeable.
Americans deliberately misspell, largely at the instigation of Noah Webster, 1758-1843, who devoted much of his life to deliberate spelling mistakes and succeeded in making the entire USA follow suit. That doesn’t mean that we have to.
Computer software asks if we would prefer US or UK English. It should be conceded that such a thing as US English exists, but by “UK English” they mean… English. This is not mere pedantry.
Worse than American/wrong spelling is the multitude of phrases which have made an unwanted journey eastward across the Atlantic.
I should caveat this. There is no issue with Americans having their own patois. It sounds fine when they employ it. It’s when the British use it that it sounds affected and silly.
How many Brits use the expressions “ballpark” or “rain check” without having the faintest idea what either of those phrases actually literally means (please don’t write to explain as I really don’t care)?
“Can I get a ballpark?”
No you can’t. It’s “May I have” not “Can I get” - and I have never been in a position to award proprietorship of a park of any description. So go and put your PJs on and have an OJ, whatever that means.
And perhaps I’m an extremist, but someone is only “dating” when they are counting the rings on a tree.
Amid stiff competition, perhaps the worst of this myriad of verbal horrors to reach our shores is in response to the mundane enquiry “How are you?”
The response can never be “I’m good”. The enquiry is about wellbeing. It does not demand any sort of moral self-appraisal.
Fortunately a few of us snobs are still here to maintain standards. Concessions should only begin when Texans start saying “He would twist on 21”.