3 May 2009

Are there more longer words in American English than in British English?

One thing that's often struck me about American English is that long words quite often seem to be preferred to shorter alternatives that are more likely to be used by British speakers of English.

One example I've heard in the last half hour is 'elevator', when Brits would go in a 'lift'. Another is 'expiration', when we woild settle for the shorter 'expiry'.

Is there any evidence that longer options are more frequently used in American English, and, if so, why should this be?


Bill Simcox said...

Good point

I never thought about it but now you mention it, I agree.

I'm a big believer in short sharp words. That's probably because I've read your book.

Great blog

Bill Simcox

Occasional Panjandrum said...

Americans seem to 'pass away' or (worse!) 'pass'; the English simply die