UK v. US English: The podcast

Do you say “going on holiday” or “going on vacation”? How about “elevator” or “lift”? What you say depends on where you learned English, and even globally minded, seasoned editors and writers sometime struggle with words that seem, well, foreign. US copy editor Pam Nelson and UK writer Samantha White discuss times that words have left them at a loss — or made them laugh.

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • Background on the root and meaning of “boondoggle”.
  • How the meaning of “scheme” is radically different for UK and US English speakers.
  • When a London writer and editor learned that the UK and US are “nations divided by a common language”.
  • An explanation of the hybrid spelling and grammar style used by FM magazine for its global audience.
  • A reminder that you can test your language knowledge on this 2017 UK-US English quiz and its 2018 sequel.

Play the episode below:

To comment on this podcast or to suggest an idea for another podcast, contact Neil Amato, an FM magazine senior editor, at