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I'm interested in taking the French to British English tests but the style guide I was referred to is for American English. What format are we to use for dates, for example? British English would write 10 April and 10 April 2016. Further, times are written with a period, not a colon, and single quotation marks are traditionally favoured. (And the differences are much more substantial than lexical and style differences such as these and extend well into core grammar. I don't think it's possible to say 'take it in turns' in American, for instance.) Is there a 'default' guide such at Butcher's copy-editing or the style guide of the Economist or OUP..., that we should use? Thanks for any advice you might have.

5 comments

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    Megan Waters

    Hi mstrayer,

    We now have a dedicated British English style guide here.This should help with any further concerns you may have. Please feel free to suggest additions to the guide, too!

     

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    Sarah

    I am very happy you now have a British English option! And having read the style guide a couple of additions spring to mind:

    GB - programme  US - program  - however, in GB English we use "program" when referring to computer software

    GB - at the weekend  US - on the weekend

    No doubt more will occur to me later.

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    Megan Waters

    @Sarah: Thanks for the additions! I'll see if we can get these added.

    Keep commenting with your ideas and we can add further examples to make this guide as comprehensive as possible.

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    Sarah

    Hello again, Megan. During the course of teaching one of my pupils today, I was reminded of a few more examples.

    GB - nappy  US - diaper

    GB - rubber  US - eraser (I think this is one that most people in the UK know but few in the US, and it causes interesting misunderstandings!)

    GB fortnight  US - two weeks

    That's all for now.

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    genevieveaustin

    A couple of notes on the British English style guide:

     

    1. We write times with a dot (.) rather than a colon (:)

    e.g. American = 03:00

    British = 03.00

     

    2. We don't put dots after titles

    e.g. American = Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.

    British = Mr, Mrs, Dr, and so on.

     

    3. And, of course, as I demonstrated in the first line, we say "a couple of" rather than "a couple"!

    e.g. American = "I ate a couple sandwiches"

    British = "I ate a couple of sandwiches".

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