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The Economist Style Guide, 10th Edition by The Economist

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Vocabulary

Sometimes the same word has gradually taken on different meanings on the two sides of the Atlantic, creating an opportunity for misunderstanding. The word homely, for example, means simple or informal in British English, but plain or unattractive in American English.

This also applies to figures of speech. It went like a bomb in British English means it was a great success; it bombed in American English means it was a disaster. To table something in British English means to bring it forward for action; but in American English it means the opposite, i.e. to shelve.

One writer’s slang is another’s lively use of words; formal language to one is pomposity to another. This is the trickiest area to negotiate when writing for both British ...

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