There is an tiny part of the united States which is still Merrie England

As the Mail says:

The future is gray for British English: How american spellings are taking over the world with flavor, center and defense becoming the norm

I take great delight in writing for Forbes using the English spellings. I discussed it with editors when I started and they were fine with it. And I have been amused at people shouting at me because I can’t spell labour, colour and the like.

I’ve gone further than this too. I used to take great pleasure in using the -ize endings, archaic English which American retained as English switched to -ise. Just because some pendant might come along and complain. But now that that joke is buried under writing for Americans I’ve switched to -ise.

I know, petty, petty stuff. But, you know, why not?

33 thoughts on “There is an tiny part of the united States which is still Merrie England”

  1. I have started using -ize, and now I consider anyone who uses -ise to be a cheese eating surrender monkey.

  2. It’s not enough that I read your blogs everyday that recently I have come across your Forbes articles on Google news as well. Too much of a good thing is not good for your health they say so I must be careful there is not more of you out there.

  3. It’s also the American pronunciations: DEEfense, REEsearch, FYEnance, Levver, or even those American words that were presumably invented for people whose mother tongue was something else: disassemble, for Christ’s sake.

    I’d mind less had our Americanisation happened decades ago when many Americans spoke terse, clear English; it’s a pity that instead it’s coincided with so many Americans speaking an inelegant, verbose, windy English.

  4. On t’other hand, do Americans use that horrible expression “on a weekly basis”? Almost always it’s just a mutton-headed way of saying “weekly”.

  5. Horrible expressions…

    “Reach out”. Fuck off. Just please fuck off. Incompetent project manager language. What bothers me most is when English folks bordering on retirement use it, ‘cos they really should know better.

    “Going forward”. What other fucking direction does time go?

    “Source” as a verb. Yuck.

    “Resource” for a person, as in “I’ll assign a resource to that”. Please don’t breed.

  6. A curveball. Step up to the plate.

    Both colourful metaphors from American sport, entirely suitable for American use. Here, the spoor of a plonker.

    Anyway, just to be clear: I do understand American sports. I love it when the puck comes from left field to be slam dunked for a touchdown.

    P.S. I saw an attempted triple play once, at Yankee stadium. There’s nothing wrong with American sports, except that they are not rugby, cricket or football.

  7. …but even you, dear scribe, often split infinitives, your confusion showing in today’s Forbes column titled “Lloyds Does What We Want It To” where you write:

    Yet we should welcome this move by Lloyds Bank to both fire people and to shrink the bank network.

    Do you have a waistcoated interest in preserving the Queen’s English?

  8. Tangentially related….
    My father-in-law, visiting the US, on being told by a lady that she loved his accent replied “Madam, with respect, it is you that has the accent”.

  9. All of these complaints about weird words, tics and usages by others just make me love our ridiculously flexible language even more.

    Many of the words and phrases so despised in the comments are merely synonyms for uhh… because the speaker thinks more slowly than he speaks.

    I’m Canadian, eh, and we have our own little weirdities. In southern Alberta many well educated people do not say ‘saw’ as in ‘I saw it’. They say ‘I seen it’. Why? Don’t know, eh?

    English as she is spoke in the Indian sub-continent is charming as is the stuff coming out of buddy, eh, from Newfoundland. Buddy came out here to help build the tar sands plants and has enriched our local gibberish a lot.

  10. While we’re at it I despise the use of the American “rock” for a stone. Brenglish seemingly makes a useful distinction that Amerenglish doesn’t: why give it up?

  11. @dearieme

    Oh crap, I think I’ve said that before. “Factor” really shouldn’t be used as a verb, should it? That’s nearly as bad as “source”. That’s one I’ll try to stop.

    I did once find some standard paperwork I’d made that used “resource”. Got by me somehow. Felt quite a tit, but got it removed sharpish.

    Oooooh, here’s a pearler: LEVERAGE as a verb. Utter, utter cunt-age.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Cynic: the verb form of factor is fine, if you’re showing that 48981103 = 293 × 349 × 479, or x³ – 2 x + 1 = (x – 1)(x² + x – 1) for example. ‘Factorise’ adds a superfluous suffix.

  13. disassemble is a perfectly cromulent word for the process that is the opposite of assembling. Otherwise, I’d have to refer to mantling* my 6502 code. That would molish a bit too much confusion.

    *I managed to supply a reference for ‘remantle’ to the OED: mantle, dismantle, remantle.

  14. The ‘Oxford’ spelling of-ize is dependent on whether the verb has Greek or Roman roots (Greek having zeta, but Classical Latin having no ‘Z’ except in foreign loan words).

  15. Oxford is sound on the comma.

    I like the spelling “connexion” and the like. Antique British, as far as I know.

  16. I sneeze in threes

    The verbing of nouns seems to be more common. Have you been”menuized” for have you been given a menu.

  17. @Bloke in Costa Rica – okay, thanks!

    Meanwhile: productionise/productionize

    (I’m starting to wonder if a lot of this language-butchery bollocks is down to us IT folks)

  18. @Interested

    Yep, “I could care less” makes no logical sense. I don’t get that at all.

    I’m guessing they just lost a word along the way, like they lost the last “i” in aluminium. Not deliberate, just a mistake that kept getting repeated till it stuck.

  19. Shaw Taylor’s Glasses

    I often wonder if people who use “up close and personal” to mean “close to” actually know what it means.

    “Tonight we’ll be getting up close and personal with the chimps here in London Zoo”.

    Er….each to their own.

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