Writing Styles In English - 10 Ways US English Is Different From UK English

4 minute

Ever wondered why you pause every time you’re writing a paragraph and you come across words such as ‘analyze’ or ‘apologise’ to simply double check whether the right way to spell them is with an ‘S’ or a ‘Z’ but at the back of your head both sound oddly correct? Because honesty, Ditto! There are multiple differences between written and spoken English in the USA and UK that go unnoticed in a learning curriculum, but come back to haunt you while you chalk language down on paper.

Spellings aside, many words in both these countries have very different meanings and often tend to make one come across as half-witted or even rude when not addressed rightfully to the concerned audience. To highlight a few, ‘Pants’ in the US mean trousers whereas in the UK are used in place of the word underpants. So, when you address a British audience and want to compliment the colour of their ‘Pants’, make sure to choose your words wisely. Likewise, even some food terminologies such as ‘Chips’ and ‘Biscuits’ mean different things in both countries. Pringles would not so much mean chips as ‘crisps’ in the UK, where the word ‘chips’ is interpreted as what Americans would call French fries. And don’t you make the mistake of ordering a biscuit in the US assuming they’re cookies because you’d be more than just satiated with a whole bread roll that arrives instead. Since you know better now, the next time you hear ‘I’m going to set you up with my friend, he’s quite good!’ in the UK, you might want to rain check on that date because quite good is just not good enough.

More noteworthy or rather detectable differences in the English language in both these countries are in their respective vocabularies and accents. Distinct words are made use of to depict the same meanings. In the US for example, a legal advocate is a lawyer, whereas in the UK, he would be known as a solicitor. Similarly, ‘apartment’ in the US becomes ‘flat’ in the UK, ‘I think’ becomes ‘I reckon’, ‘TV’ becomes ‘telly’ and the most commonly known difference, ‘friend’ converts to ‘mate’. Differences in accents are a rather easier to recognise distinction and more so today, with movies and sitcoms shot in both accents made vastly popular and accessible. More often than not you’ll find the ‘R’ in words like ‘Car’ or ‘Father’ partially or completely faded during pronunciation making them sound like ‘Kha’ or ‘Fatha’ in British English whereas ‘R’ is almost always clearly pronounced in the US. Likewise, some words containing the alphabet ‘O’ sound different in the US than in the UK. You probably also face conjecture every time you try to spell words like meter(/metre), centre (/center) or theatre(/theater) debating for several minutes in your head if they end with an ‘er’ or an ‘re’. I wish I knew then that both are a one hundred percent correct! Most words that end with an ‘re’ in the UK end with an ‘er’ in the US. Similarly, several words that end with ‘nce’ in the UK such as licence, defence, offence, etc. end with ‘nse’ in the US and are spelt as license, defense, and offense respectively. Even as I write this article, I’m auto corrected time and again by a software that pursues the English language of a country that presumes French fries to be called chips. Then again would you rather pursue a country whose President ‘Trump’ translates to ‘Fart’ in the UK? Thought so.







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The Bois Locker Room: An Instagram Chat Or A Wake-up Call?

3 minute

If you’re not already aware of what this case is all about, a group of young boys in Delhi on a private Instagram chat (screenshots of which were shared around later) called “Bois Locker Room” were seen objectifying, degrading, rating, demeaning young girls, sharing their pictures (some of this girls were only 14-15 years old) and even threatening to rape or kill them in case they got exposed. 

Screenshots of this group chat were shared across social media platforms - predominantly Instagram and Twitter, after which the school authorities of these students (the 20+ boys) requested the Delhi police to investigate the incident.

The Delhi police have so far found that some students of leading South Delhi schools created the Instagram group in the last week of March and started adding their friends. “A few members are in college. Some of the teens allegedly started sharing photos posted by schoolgirls on their Instagram accounts, and passing sexually explicit comments,” an officer said, adding that the purported chats also included threats of sexual violence.

DCP  Anyesh Roy told The Indian Express, “After we came to know, we registered an FIR under Sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and Sections 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form) of the IT Act. 

The case is still under investigation. But..

All the right things that could’ve gone wrong: 

First off, the boys on the group chat threatened some of the girls to rape, kill, and humiliate them if they dared to share any of this information with anyone. But the girls, being well-educated (and smart) enough to know that no such thing could actually take place if a complaint was lodged, went ahead to expose them anyways. But you see, things like this happen EVERY DAY and young girls are often a) either too ignorant to pay attention and brush off these issues as “minor” or b) scared of the empty threats that honestly have no real follow-throughs.

Second, the school authorities specifically requested the police to investigate the incident. Now again, this may not have happened in many other cases. A lot of times, any kind of vulgar behaviour, especially in schools and colleges in India, is looked upon as high risk to the reputations of these institutions so they prefer to sweep it all under a carpet

And third, social shaming. In cases like these, we bless the speed of the internet. Social media fastens the process of information spreading, and it is necessary for people to acknowledge this pro of social media platforms. But more often than not, a lot of serious issues may be lost under all that is glitter and jolly good, unicorns and rainbows - But this piece of incident DIDN’T. Imagine the number of people that want to have a voice to socially bring shame to their oppressors, but are unsuccessful. At least this one caught the eye - and the punishment of being recognized as a “so and so” in case of this incident will stick with the boys for a lifetime. 

Now, the case is under investigation, and a judgment has not yet been made. But it’s clear to the general audience that since some of the girls (whose pictures had been shared on the group chat) were underage, this is child porn. So not only are what these boys doing morally incorrect, but also illegal under IP section 292, 293. 

We hope for the best outcomes.

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What Is Herd Immunity? Everything You Need To Know

2 minute

Picture a herd or community of healthy people. An infectious virus or disease would pass easily through the community from person to person. Vaccines train our immune system to protect us from diseases it hasn’t come in contact with before. For example, the MMR vaccine provides immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. During an outbreak of a disease, vaccinated people will remain healthy. As they won't become infected, they won't pass on the disease. Hence, if most of the community is vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to actually spread to the rest of the community. This is the basis of herd immunity. 

If most people in the community are not vaccinated, herd immunity can break down, allowing the disease to spread more easily.

Herd immunity becomes especially important for the individuals in a herd who can't be vaccinated. These could be people who are either too old, too young or have weaker immune systems

Herd Immunity without Vaccination: Another way the building of herd immunity could happen is if many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it (natural immunity). In this case, the herd would have to be fit enough to contract the disease, survive it and then become immune towards it. 

 It is important to note that in order for herd immunity to take action, the disease/virus must be categorized as a Contagious one. (capable of spreading)

COVID-19 and Herd Immunity In India

Renowned Immunologist and Cell Biologist Dipyaman Ganguly has said that one of the only hopes in defeating the novel coronavirus is by developing ‘herd immunity,’ 

In an interview with news9, he said, “This coronavirus is not going anywhere. Viruses don’t go anywhere. They may become weak but its strand remains. The virus will keep infecting people until a large population develops immunity against it.”

He has also stated that immunity could only be achieved through a vaccine or by getting infected by the virus. “Since developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is not an easy task and it is unlikely that we will get one soon, the only hope that remains is that of herd immunity and it is bound to happen.”

Explaining the idea of herd immunity further, he said, “The virus is going to infect a large number of populations in India. When a large number of people get infected, their bodies will develop natural immunity. They will stop the virus from spreading further by breaking the chain of infections transmitted from one person to another.” “Since I am closely monitoring the situation, I am sure that we are moving towards herd immunity,” he added. 

Studying infection trends in India, he said that most coronavirus cases will be asymptomatic. Patients will recover through natural immunity and vitamin boosting medication suggested by doctors. However, those with existing health conditions could develop severe complications as the virus is shown to aggravate symptoms. 

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