sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

US v. UK English November 8, 2009

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:36 am
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After living in the US for over fourteen years, I don’t tend to notice the difference in UK and US English until I go home for a week or so. Now that NaNoWriMo is driving me to write a new novel that’s set in Ireland, I’ve found that it’s time to give you guys a crash course in UK/European English.

Football=American football

In Ireland, the favorite sports are football, Gaelic football, hurley, and a little rugby. Stopping a game for any reason other than half-time or a foul is considered stupid, because a game means the players play and keep going until the game is won. Football lasts about an hour with a half –time of about fifteen minutes in the middle, but will go on for longer if it’s a draw.


A tablespoon in Ireland is huge, whereas a tablespoon in the US is a dessertspoon, or as my mom calls it, a puddy (pudding) spoon. People tend to be more likely to make things from scratch rather than use a box mix.

Elementary school=primary school
High school=secondary school

There is no middle school. Primary school is from junior infants up to sixth class and secondary school is 1st year to 6th year. There is an option for a year of internship in 5th year, but lots of kids slack off that year.

Highway=dual carriageway
Parking lot=car park
Big truck=lorry

There are usually no frontage/feeder roads, just one road in one direction and one in the opposite direction. The median is normally grass, if there is one. Most of the dual carriageways have two lanes. Most of the cars on the road are compact because of the high cost of gas (about $5 a gallon).

And last but not least, the chocolate over there is amazing. That’s because there’s a law about the percentage of cocoa that has to be in it.



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