The linguistic superiority on display from BBC readers is really quite funny. Some highlights:
2. The next time someone tells you something is the “least worst option“, tell them that their most best option is learning grammar. Mike Ayres, Bodmin, Cornwall
It’s less cumbersome than saying “the least of several evils” and more nuanced than calling it the “best option.” I won’t apologize for using the phrase.
9. “Touch base” – it makes me cringe no end. Chris, UK
Keep on clutching those pearls and you’ll break the string.
11. Transportation. What’s wrong with transport? Greg Porter, Hercules, CA, US
“Transport” is a verb. “Transportation” is a noun.
15. What kind of word is “gotten“? It makes me shudder. Julie Marrs, Warrington
We use a different participle for “get” here in America. We looked at all those verbs with irregular participles and decided that “get” would make a nice addition. It’s totally sound grammar here.
22. Train station. My teeth are on edge every time I hear it. Who started it? Have they been punished? Chris Capewell, Queens Park, London
You mean you call it something else?
23. To put a list into alphabetical order is to “alphabetize it” – horrid! Chris Fackrell, York
Oh, we’re such horrible, renegade Anglophones, with our using two words to do the job of six!
29. I’m a Brit living in New York. The one that always gets me is the American need to use the word bi-weekly when fortnightly would suffice just fine. Ami Grewal, New York
“Fortnightly” is one of those words we gave up when we told King George III to go fuck himself. We don’t need to pick it up again. “Bi-weekly” is much clearer.
32. Going forward? If I do I shall collide with my keyboard. Ric Allen, Matlock
It’s called an idiom, and our language is full of them. You might want to look up the concept some time.
36. Surely the most irritating is: “You do the Math.” Math? It’s MATHS. Michael Zealey, London
Here in America, we say “math.” No one here says “maths.” It’s just one of the ways that Americans’ use of the English language has changed since we ceased to be an English colony. We think “math” is a perfectly suitable abbreviation of “mathematics” and we tend to see it as a non-count noun. It saves us a tricky set of consonants.
42. Period instead of full stop. Stuart Oliver, Sunderland
Perhaps because “full stop” sounds like a driving instruction?
48. “I got it for free” is a pet hate. You got it “free” not “for free”. You don’t get something cheap and say you got it “for cheap” do you? Mark Jones, Plymouth
Actually, we talk about getting things “for cheap” all the time.
I’m aware that the complaint was originally supposed to be about how US English is affecting UK English, but some of the list items are really just comments on the way Americans talk. Unless the British still speak exactly the same way as they did in the late 18th century, they shouldn’t be surprised to hear some different words coming from our mouths.