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10 Americanisms that are downright confusing!

Last updated on: January 28, 2015 21:43 IST
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Dear supporters of Indian English, take heart! You have company. :-)

Over the last few weeks, we've been pointing out Indianisms in the English language.

It may come as happy news to you that we are not the only ones tweaking the poor Queen's language to our convenience.

The Americans have been doing it for way too long.

Here's looking at 10 examples of vintage Americanisms and what they mean.

(And, in some cases, they mean something entirely different across the pond!)

Enjoy! :-)


When they say: I'm good!

What the Americans mean: I'm fine!

What the British mean: I'm good (at what I do)!


When they say: You do the Math!

What the Americans mean: You figure it out (the suggestion here being that the answer is obvious.)

Fat chance you'll hear a Brit say Math.

The expression would typically infuriate the Brits who call it Maths... a short for Mathematics.


When they say: Expiration date

What the Americans mean: Expiry date

Say that before Brits and you'd probably hear them groan at the murder of their mother tongue.


When they say: I could care less

What the Americans mean: I couldn't care less

What the British would say: I couldn't care less

'Could care less' quite simply has to be the most abused English phrase... to think you're saying the exact opposite of what you mean.



When they say: Can I use your bathroom?

What the Americans mean: Can I use the lavatory?

What the Americans don't mean: I'd like to have a bath.

The British would politely hand them a towel. :-)


When they say: I am pissed!

What the Americans mean: I am angry!

What the British mean: I am drunk!



When they say: deplane

What the Americans mean: disembark an aircraft

What the British would like to do to them: Send them on the first flight out of Great Britain.


When they say: gotten

What the Americans mean: got

Example: I've just deplaned and I've gotten into a cab.

What the British would say: I've disembarked and I've got into a taxi.


When they say: There was an outage

What the Americans mean: There was a power failure.

The British say it is as it is: There was a power failure.


When they say: We bought a condo.

What the Americans mean: We bought a flat.

Condo is short for condominium, which is a legal term and is therefore applicable only in certain countries.

A condominium is a housing unit (ie, a flat) in a building that has been purchased from the developer.

An apartment is different from a condo in that, in an apartment building, the developers retain ownership and rent units (i e, flats) to tenants.


When they say: Good luck with that!

What the Americans mean: God help you! You don't have a chance in hell.

What the British mean: (With all sincerity) All the very best! :-) 


And finally the one that confounds us all:

When they say: Do you have the time?

What the Americans mean: What is the time?

What the British mean: Do you have the time?



10 sentences and what is wrong with each of them

6 phrases you've been using incorrectly!

6 sentences that make absolutely no sense!

6 sentences that are... erm... wrong!

10 English words that have Indian origins

10 words you probably didn't know existed

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