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That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us Kindle Edition

25 customer reviews

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Length: 236 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Editorial Reviews


“As many of us know, straddling the Atlantic can be quite uncomfortable—and it doesn’t help that the word ‘quite’ doesn’t always mean what you think it means.  This is a brilliant guide to the revealing differences between two branches of English….As an English person I will say, ‘Oh, jolly well done,’ but I’d like to add ‘Good job!’”
–From the foreword by Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves
“I’m mad about this book! I don’t mean ‘angry’  in the American sense, but Britishly ‘enthusiastic, gobsmacked.’ Much has been written about the language barrier between Britspeak and Americanspeak, but, more than any other explorer, Erin Moore puts a human face on the subject.”
–Richard Lederer, author of Anguished English
“The ocean that divides England and America is awash with linguistic wreckage and cultural tumult. But Erin Moore’s study of these infested waters is serene, assured and hugely entertaining. They should hand her book out at border control.” 
–Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type 

“Moore manages to create a text that is eminently readable, clever (in the sincerely-intended American sense) and thought-provoking, gently breaking down some of the cultural stereotyping that plagues both Americans and British.” 
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Erin Moore grew up in Key West, Florida, and is a graduate of Harvard who also attended King’s College, London. She lives in London.

Product Details

  • File Size: 837 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0224101528
  • Publisher: Gotham (March 24, 2015)
  • Publication Date: March 24, 2015
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L9AY4F2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,626 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am an American writer and former book editor living in London. I'm fascinated by the cultural differences between England and America, especially as they are expressed through language. In March 2015, Gotham Books (Penguin USA) will publish my book, THAT'S NOT ENGLISH: BRITISHISMS, AMERICANISMS AND WHAT OUR ENGLISH SAYS ABOUT US. I live in Islington with my husband, our children, Anne and Henry, and our cat, Sukha.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul Dougherty on April 1, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Yes, this book is a very, very witty examination of two cultures through the prism of a shared language that will entertain anyone who is interested in the warm and tricky transatlantic relationship between the US and the UK. No doubt about that! In my opinion, though, the even greater pleasure of this elegant book is its author's generous invitation to come along for a thrilling ride on her sophisticated stream of consciousness which is anthropological, historical and fun! Buckle up for it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C.R. Hurst TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 9, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What I like the most about That's Not English is that its author, Erin Moore, not only examines the words and phrases of both American and British English, but also examines what those words and phrases say about our respective cultures. As an American who has lived in England for eight years with her Anglo-American husband and very British daughter, Moore uses her personal experiences and observations about language and culture on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as more traditional methods of research, to create a humorous and perceptive look at our cultural differences.

Take, for example, the word "sorry" which is more complex in meaning than you might imagine. According to the author, sorry in the U.S. generally means just that, an apology for impolite behavior. However in England sorry can be, depending upon intonation and situation, anything from a passive-aggressive refusal to a smart-ass comeback (Now I know the reason for my being an Anglophile). Moore continues such semantic analysis with some thirty more expressions, each as informative and witty as the next. I highly recommend That's Not English to any Anglophile or to any reader who simply appreciates the study of language and culture. In fact I will be proper gobsmacked if you don't just love this delightful bridge across the American and British cultural divide!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard and Mary I on April 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover
We thoroughly enjoyed this book. We laughed out loud and reminisced about our early days of language and culture shock, in our case as immigrants from England to America. This book is a "must-read" for anyone interested in the two countries ... and even if you're not, it's a delight. it is beautifully written ... acute observation delivered with a light touch.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on June 23, 2015
Format: Hardcover
As anyone who reads my reviews probably knows, I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I like British novels and British TV & movies, so I’ve picked up a few Britishisms over the years. Well, I know quite a few, though not many have worked their way into my language. Based on what I’ve learned from Ms. Moore’s funny and informative book, however, that’s probably a good thing.

The typical Anglophile probably knows things like flat = apartment, boot = trunk, trainers = sneakers, and crisps = chips. Of course, there are still things to learn. I was interested to learn of the use of the word “whinge” as the rule to the exception of the “stiff upper lip”. I also really liked the word “skint” as an intense alternative to “broke”.

However, what Ms. Moore has done is much more than teach us words we might not know. She explains how, even if we know what a word means, we often don’t know what it means across the Pond. For example, being middle class is something different in the U.K. than in the U.S. And no fan of the current incarnation of Doctor Who can be less than surprised at how redheads (i.e. “gingers”) are treated in Great Britain. I was also pleased to finally understand the true meaning of a bespoke suit.

In the end, I felt myself well warned about the dangers of the fast and loose using of Britishisms. I do occasionally say “cheers” and I have a great desire to bring the words “fortnight” and “gobsmacked” to America, but I know that risk of too much word transfer is great. Even in England, as Ms. Moore shows quite clearly, I would easily stand out as American in my inaccuracies in tone and meaning (and accent). I have a couple of English friends who live here in America and I now better understand their difficulties in trying to master what is in many ways a foreign tongue.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover
How many books about British vs. American English have we seen over the years? I think anyone who's the least bit interested in the topic already knows that it's 'football' in Britain (and the rest of the world) and 'soccer' in America. So Erin Moore, an American from Florida who married an American whose parents are British, doesn't waste our time with trivia like that. Instead, she takes an approach that has the anthropological bent of Kate Fox (Watching the English, Second Edition: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior Revised and Updated) with some Sarah Lyall humor (The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British) thrown in and the result is brilliant (in the British sense of very good, not in the American sense of being a work of Einsteinian genius).

One topic that Moore covers is that while many words are making their way from Britain to America and others are emigrating the other way, there are some words that simply will not travel. While Brits are well aware of the American "dude," they simply can't bring themselves to use it. And while Americans are willing to adopt just about any British phrases that catch our fancies, we often get them wrong. Lynne Truss, in her introduction, describes an NPR host asking her during an interview whether she considered herself a "berk or a wanker" which left Truss well and truly gobsmacked.

Moore goes beyond words and phrases and also talks about how Brits and Yanks differ in their amount of vacation time, the ceremonies involved in serving tea and in celebrating Christmas (Panto!
Read more ›
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