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  1. #51
    ad hoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fussbudget View Post
    I'm confused by this one as well. Isn't "curb" simply the US spelling and "kerb" the British one? I've never seen anyone spell the verb "kerb".
    I think you're right

    In BrEng kerb is the bit at the side of the road and curb is the verb as in "... your enthusiasm". In AmEng there is only curb for both uses

  2. #52
    Jah Womble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treibeis View Post
    As a verb, you mean? And "keep" interchanging? How often do you use "kerb" / "curb" in a novel?
    Quote Originally Posted by Fussbudget View Post
    I'm confused by this one as well. Isn't "curb" simply the US spelling and "kerb" the British one? I've never seen anyone spell the verb "kerb".
    Okay - 'keep...' is something of an exaggeration, but I've encountered it more than once recently. But, regardless of where they're used, the two words have completely different meanings: 'curb' is a verb meaning 'to suppress, check or restrain (whatever action)', while 'kerb' is a noun referring to the sharp incline between pavement and road. How is there any confusion at all?

    If someone were now going to tell me that the spellings are interchangeable/identical in US English, well, I'd believe it - but I'd be utterly appalled by it.

    (Edit: As ad hoc suggests in the previous post. Ugh.)
    Last edited by Jah Womble; 07-12-2017 at 10:26.

  3. #53
    hobbes's Avatar
    A bastion of rightness in a wrong old world.
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    In my A Level Politics exam I accidentally wrote "Roger Scrotum" instead of "Roger Scruton."
    Which I ended up leaving because I figured it was apt, given how much bollocks he wrote.

  4. #54
    I used to work for BMW, who insisted on British English being used on their international website.

    However, they also insisted on "curb weight" instead of "kerb weight". And whenever I pointed it out - and I pointed it out quite a lot in the 15 years I worked for them -, somebody at BMW (whose native tongue wasn't English, although he thought it was because he'd once been to Florida/seen the queen/eaten a cream tea/whatever) would claim that "curb weight" was the British spelling.

    And then I'd despise him just that little bit more

  5. #55
    (Double post)
    Last edited by treibeis; 07-12-2017 at 10:48.

  6. #56
    Vicarious Thrillseeker's Avatar
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    Mrs. VT's favourite - which my teeth on edge - "I'll have a slither of cake". think she does it on purpose now.

    A friend who worked at the British Embassy in Madrid, once found herself a little bit flustered in a conversation and said "estoy embarazada". She didn't expect the response she got, as she had just told everyone in the room that she was pregnant, not embarrassed.

  7. #57

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    "curb weight" was the British spelling/

    If it were, it'd mean going on a diet rather than the mass of an automobile.

    One that used to confuse the hell out of me was surplus and surfeit - they sound like they should be antonyms, but they mean exactly the same thing.

  8. #58

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    Back in my early twenties I applied for a temporary job on an archaeological dig.

    During the interview they remarked that my application form contained quite a few references to “architecture”.

  9. #59
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    Enervating to mean exciting and energetic! Struth!

  10. #60

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    Another one this morning - someone had written that a long-suffering person had been "put through the ringer".

  11. #61
    A student essay I marked many years ago was trying to say that the Victorians were "disinterested in sex" (presumably meaning uninterested). They said that they were "disinterred in sex".

  12. #62

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    An old work colleague used to refer to the "higher archy" of the company.

  13. #63

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    These are written ones, but...

    Shoe-in vs Shoo-in

    Tow-the-line vs Toe-the-line

    Here! Here! vs Hear! Hear!

  14. #64
    Aitch's Avatar
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  15. #65
    Pérou Flaquettes's Avatar
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    On a different note but still in the same vein or thereabouts, I remember a French acquaintance of mine, whose English wasn't great, trying to explain to English people that her parents’ hobby/side business was to scavenge furniture, refurbish and occasionally sell it on in vide-greniers/car boot sales, flea markets etc. particularly pieces such as "commodes*" she said, which her parents often got "from a dead person’s house".
    (A common, but not widely known, practice in collectors’/sellers’ circles in France and elsewhere I’m sure, many of them – at the deceased spouse’s/family’s invitation of course, this is not Les Témoins/Witnesses – trawl houses, mansions, chateaux etc. eager to buy stuff off the dead person’s family. Many sellers in Saint-Ouen flea market in Paris, the largest of its kind in the world, do that for instance, through their own network or/and via the Internet. Everyone’s quids in that way, buyers get bargains and the deceased’s family pocket some money for things they often don’t want to keep and would end up in a skip, especially if they are selling the property.)

    Christ, the look of alarm and disgust on the English people’s faces was priceless, they must have thought her parents were some sort of coprophiliacs involved in necromania or something.



    I let everybody stew in their own morbid puzzlement for a few minutes before calmly explaining to the French girl (with a hint of exaggeration, naturally) that she’d basically just said that her parents loved to collect and do up chamber pots taken from freshly-buried corpses. The look of shock on her face wasn’t bad either.


    (*she meant "chest of drawers" of course – well, I hope so but who knows really, each to their own after all)
    Last edited by Pérou Flaquettes; 13-12-2017 at 11:16.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Etienne View Post
    A student essay I marked many years ago was trying to say that the Victorians were "disinterested in sex" (presumably meaning uninterested). They said that they were "disinterred in sex".
    I recall my mother dictating a card message to a very young Saturday girl working at Interflora: she'd wished for the message to her cousin - apparently suffering from something a tad embarrassing - to read 'Hope that your discomfort will soon be alleviated!', or similar. The message that arrived with her cousin instead read 'elevated'.

    I had tried to explain to Mrs Womble Sr that, with all due respect to the hard-working Interflora staff, expecting them to know a word like 'alleviated' was probably a little unrealistic. To no avail.

  17. #67
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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    So Brits would call a piece like this a chest of drawers?



    It would be a commode over here, at least in antiquing circles.

  18. #68

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    Yep, that's a chest of drawers, so far as I'm concerned.

    This is the only usage of commode here that I'm aware of.


  19. #69
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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  20. #70
    Pérou Flaquettes's Avatar
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    One of the banes of French schooling, certainly when I was young and in primary school, was the dreaded weekly dictée (dictation). Many were long and full of pitfalls. It was not uncommon for some pupils to make 40+ spelling mistakes.

    Or comprehension ones. Gilles, one of my best friends and regular football team-mates when I was 10-11, once made a great one that's been etched in my memory every since. The title of the dictée was "La convalescence". Gilles mustn’t have known what the word meant at all as he wrote "Le convoi d’essence". God knows what he must have made of the rest of the dictée which, presumably, was more about a poor sod recovering from an illness than about some rough trucker driving his tanker on motorways salaire de la peur style.

    When the teacher gave us back the copies a few days later, this sadistic man went to town over his mistake and really made fun of the poor Gilles ("Gilles Carteron, 44 fautes… Avec cette perle mémorable que je vous cite etc."). This mistake and the way the teacher humiliated him afterwards really stuck in our minds, hence my recollection of this cruel episode to this day (I must confess, I had a good chuckle too). Maybe not surprisingly, Gilles "convoi d’essence" Carteron became a mechanic.

  21. #71
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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    Genuine LOL

    I tried Pivot's dictée a few times. It was a humbling experience.

  22. #72

    A hyena dancing on the grave of a lion
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    Quote Originally Posted by ursus arctos View Post
    So Brits would call a piece like this a chest of drawers?



    It would be a commode over here, at least in antiquing circles.
    Or even a sideboard

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Profumo View Post
    Or even a sideboard
    Don't sideboards have to have at least one shelf?

  24. #74
    WOM's Avatar
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    You Germans and your regulations...

  25. #75
    WOM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Name Is Ian View Post
    Yep, that's a chest of drawers, so far as I'm concerned.

    This is the only usage of commode here that I'm aware of.
    Same.

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