The Differences between American and British English (Part 2)

Steve   Monday, June 28, 2004, 16:49 GMT
Well, since our old topic is gone, I guess we should start over with a part 2. Yes, it’s sad that after almost 60 pages we must start from scratch, but we must carry on. I’ll start things off…

While watching the BBC earlier today I noticed that one of the actors said “Good Morning” as a farewell to someone. In America “Good Morning” is usually only used to greet someone. Additionally, “Good afternoon” could be a greeting or a goodbye, as could “Good evening.” However, “Good night” is only used as a farewell. How does this compare with England and the rest of the UK?
Damian   Monday, June 28, 2004, 17:33 GMT
Hi Steve

It's true I guess.....I can only speak for the can say Good Morning/Good afternoon or even Good Day as a farewell. Personally though I have never heard anyone use Good Day but I suppose some people do, maybe older people. We associate "Good Day" ...or rather G'Dai!..with Oz. :-) I'm really not sure if anyone uses Good Evening as a farewell though. I guess it is practically always a greeting, as at that time of the day when you part you would just say "Good Night" which is invariably a farewell. You would never ever greet someone with a "Good Night"...they would rightly think you were trying to get rid of them. LOL
Damian   Monday, June 28, 2004, 17:38 GMT
Oh Steve...thanks for starting up Part 2 of this really interesting site about our "two languages" :-) Such a shame about the loss of the other...beyond my understanding but there you go.

Now I want YOU to answer this one for me, if you could, please. I have heard Americans say something like this (an example): "I was in a hurry so I accidentally knocked my cup of coffee off of the table." In the UK at least we would never add the second preposition "of". "Off the table" will do. Do all Americans say this?
mjd   Monday, June 28, 2004, 17:52 GMT
No, I wouldn't throw in that second "of." It's too much of a mouthful.
Ben   Monday, June 28, 2004, 19:30 GMT
I'm an American, and I definitely use "off of."
"The car swerved off of the road."
"That kid got kicked off of the team."

I might use it if I wanted to emphasize the words more.
Elaine   Monday, June 28, 2004, 19:50 GMT
I agree with mjd that "off of" is too much of a mouthful. The "of" seems a bit cumbersome and so unnecessary.
Jason   Monday, June 28, 2004, 20:14 GMT
I have never heard 'Good Morning' used as a farewell before. I'm english, do they do that in America?
Steve   Monday, June 28, 2004, 21:10 GMT
Depending on the situation I might include the second "of." However, it would be shortened to more of a short "a" sound so it would become "...knocked my cup of coffee off 'a the table."

Jason: I never heard "Good Morning" as a farewell either, at least in person. The first and only times I have heard it were on the BBC.
Damian   Monday, June 28, 2004, 21:12 GMT

I know that most people in ordinary day to day convos don't say "Good Morning" as a farewell...what I said was it CAN be used, and it is... on the BBC and TV. I think on ITV as well. Personally I would never use it as a's too formal. Cheers usually does for me.
Jack   Monday, June 28, 2004, 23:20 GMT
Three things that are thought of as redundancies that are common in American English. ''off of'', ''hot water heater'' and ''PIN number''.

Sample sentence,

I'm going to put in my PIN number, check my hot water heater and get off of the road.
Jeff   Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 00:04 GMT
I have never understand the reason why people say PIN number,
it's like if they were saying personal identification number number,

same thing with hot-water heater, that sounds like if the water was hot already,
wouldn't it be weird if one said open-can opener?

About Off of & Off,
The firrst one sounds kinda redundant,
but that's just because we're used to say simply off,
cuz it doesn't sound like a redundacy when one say ,
get out of, on top of, etc...

Jack   Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 00:16 GMT
Well, actually I think saying ''PIN number'' is kind of useful. Saying just PIN would get confused with the metal kind of pin that you pin things with.
Jack   Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 00:17 GMT
But, I don't see any reason for anyway to say ''ATM machine'' rather than simply ''ATM''.
Jack   Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 00:21 GMT
Other common redundancies,

1.''tuna fish'', - ''What kind of tuna is not fish?''
2.''ink pen'', - ''Is there something else you would find in a pen?''
3.''DVD disc'' and ''CD-ROM DISC''. ''Why add another disc when the last ''d'' in both of those stands for disc''.
4.''Face mask'', - ''Isn't the definition of a mask, something you put on your face.
5.''6-legged insect'', ''All insects have six legs by definition. If it doesn't have six legs it's not an insect.
Jeff   Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 01:01 GMT
How is anybody going o confuse PIN with pin, i mean , i don't see any context in which the meaning of pin would be ambiguous,