Today’s Daily Prompt: Viral
The New York Times is going to feature your blog on its home page, and you’ve been asked to publish a new post — it’ll be the first thing tens of thousands of new readers see. Write it.
I am not the first British person to find writing inspiration from the differences and the similarities between my country and yours. Writer PG Wodehouse and correspondent and broadcaster Alistair Cooke are names which spring to mind in this regard.
They were masters of our shared language, which causes us to ask each other so many questions about exactly what we mean by certain words and phrases.
I have been compiling my own list of words which we use differently.
Let’s start with driving. Our roads, streets and motorways have cars driving along them. Your highways, boulevards and interstates have automobiles. Your street cars resemble our trams.
If we park inconsiderately we may discover, “Wheel-clamping is in operation”. Across the ocean, “Violators will be towed”. Here we have car boot sales, where cars are driven to a place for people to view unwanted goods. You have garage sales and yard sales. I the road surface is uneven our warning sign reads, “RAMP”, yours is, “Sunken grade”.
In the unfortunate event of a crash, we might see a warning sign, “Accident”, you favour the shorter, “Wreck”.
We buy and sell houses through an Estate Agent, you use a realtor to make transactions involving real estate. When a property becomes vacant after a death, we send for someone offering house clearances. You might advertise an Estate Sale.
These are just a few examples of the different ways our language has evolved. As George Bernard Shaw is alleged to have remarked, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language”.