Americans: This Is A Jumper

We all know there are lots of words that Americans get wrong: They call crisps “chips” for instance, they call a lift an “elevator”… That’s all pretty well-known, Brits have got used to it and tried to make allowances for such mistakes. However, some words that Americans get wrong are more obscure and frankly just CONFUSING. As far as I’m concerned, Americans need to be re-educated about these words and taught to use them properly.

What if I wrote a blog entry about Brandon and said, “Bran was going out, so he put on his favourite jumper”? Americans would go “WTF?” and imagine my son wearing THIS:


They would, of course, be WRONG. Despite his admittedly camp demeanor, Brandon hasn’t been out in a DRESS yet. Not even a PINAFORE DRESS, like the one above.

So what would he be wearing then, if I said “jumper”? He would be wearing THIS:


Which is NOT a dress, it is a JUMPER.

Look at it, learn the name, FORGET the dress. Repeat after me “THIS IS A JUMPER”. Congratulations! You are now speaking English!


42 responses to “Americans: This Is A Jumper

  1. =lol= I knew that, but maybe that’s because I live in Canada… or I’ve read too much Harry Potter fanfic. Either way works for me. =)

    • Yeah, Canada is a bit more British than the Yanks are. “Harry Potter fanfic”? Oh dear me.

      • =laughs= That “Harry Potter fanfic” line gets ’em every time. To be honest, it was all the English & literature courses I took in Uni.

        • I knew it from all the Harlequin romances I read in my teenage years. 90% were in the UK and everyone at one point put a Jumper on to wander the moors. =)

        • WW, you shouldn’t do that to me – my memory grabs onto an idea and then won’t let it go, even when I hear that the idea is wrong and find out the true answer. I drive Dave MAD by going “Wasn’t that the bloke who….” and he says “NO, we found out the other day it wasn’t him!”.

          What I’m trying to say is, I’ll probably believe the Harry Potter thing (on and off) FOREVER.

          • =chuckle= That’s ok – there are people out there that believe stranger things about me & it doesn’t bother me a bit. =eg= ;)

  2. And why are you calling a perfectly good sweater, a “Jumper”? A “Jumper” is someone who has lost everything in the stock market and is standing on the ledge!

  3. Now why in the blue hell would you call a sweater a jumper???

    I’ll give you HALF on elevator vs lift, as the first steam powered freight elevators were invented and patented here, but hydraulic ones on your side of the pond. However the most modern version is German… we may both be wrong.

    Also….potato chips or “crisps” as you erroneously refer to them were invented here, in Saratoga Springs, NY, so we can call them whatever we darn well please lady!


    • I’m sure when (if) your country invented CRISPS, they chose a name for them. But that name was already taken. It took British ingenuity to create a better name, for those CRISPY slices of potato.

  4. wait a minute, there are a few things the Brits have GOTTEN wrong =)
    American English is actually closer to what British people spoke in the 1700’s, so we’re the true guardians of the torch if you will =)
    For example, Brits used to call it soccer and they used to call them trash cans (terms which fell out of use in England). Also, the word gotten, which is archaic in Britain but used in America.
    Not to mention British people can’t pronounce their “th’s”. It’s through, not frew, lol.

    And don’t get me started on the whole rubber/eraser deabte…..

    • “American English is actually closer to what British people spoke in the 1700′s”

      That sounds like utter nonsense to me. Are you suggesting that you sound more like a character from a novel by Jane Austen than I do?

    • Andrew Hickey

      “Brits used to call it soccer”


      The game is, always has been, and always will be, called “football”. “Soccer” is a late-19th century affectation of rich public schoolboys (what you would call ‘private school’) to differentiate football as played by the Football As*SOC*iation from the new game of Rugby Football, or “rugger”

      No British person who didn’t play the biscuit game at school ever called it ‘soccer’ until the rush of middle-class tossers in the late 1990s who both wanted to pretend to be working-class *and* wanted desperately to be American.

      “they used to call them trash cans (terms which fell out of use in England)”

      Provide any citation at all for this and I’ll believe you – especially for the existence of ‘trash cans’ in ‘the 1700s’.

      Also learn the difference between “England” and “Britain”.

      “British people can’t pronounce their “th’s””
      Learn the difference between “London” and “Britain”

      Finally, the idea you’re misremembering is that *people in parts of rural Appalachia* (not generic ‘Americans’, though you do seem to have a habit of confusing parts and wholes in this comment, don’t you), *had until the advent of broadcast media softened their dialect* (so not still the case) a particular dialect that was closer to *late 16th/early 17th century Scots-flavoured English* (not ‘what British people spoke in the 1700s’) than modern-day English is.

      This hypothesis, incidentally, has been discredited and is no longer believed by reputable linguists.

      • Blimey Andrew, don’t be too mean! I’m not ezactly an example of well researched posting myself. ;)

        • Andrew Hickey

          Sorry if I seemed mean – was intending to be at least partly tongue-in-cheek. But I just found it amusing that somebody could be *so entirely, utterly wrong* and make that many mistakes in such a small space, while trying to correct someone else…
          We should meet up again at some point, BTW. Seems strange that we used to get together quite often but since we moved practically round the corner from you we’ve not met up…

          • We should.

            I’m always a bit tense about fights breaking out in my blog, unless I start them

            Why did I put “ezactly”? I get worse at typing every day and here I am telling Yanks how to be good at English. :D

  5. Wait a minute. I’ve read my Harry Potter slash. I thought a jumper was a hoodie, not a sweater. You know, the sweatshirt with a drawstring hood on it.

    I don’t care what you call potato chips, but referring to sweet delicious cookies as biscuits (which are bland and dry and usually not sweet at all, requiring lots of butter or gravy), is just insane. But then, of course, that’s what call pudding, which is supposed to be wet and creamy and taste like chocolate or something.


    • “I’ve read my Harry Potter slash”

      Congratulations, you’ve been learning English from an American, teenage, Emo girl.

      Possibly, POSSIBLY, a kid might refer to his hoodie as a “sweater”, if he was just thinking of a quick word to describe something warm to wear. But however you look at it, Harry probably wasn’t putting on a dress. Although in slash…

      • I’ve been doing more than learning English from her. ;) I’ve been tying Harry up and doing naughty things to his whiny skinny little arse. Actually, he annoys me, mostly. I like the dark sinister older ones.

        *ahem* But, I digress.

        No kid here would refer to his hoodie as a sweater. That would be going from cool to just plain wrong. He might refer to his hoodie as a sweatshirt. He would refer to his sweater as totally geeky and a gift from mom, and not wear it at all, unless it had something obscene on it. Not likely.

        The pinafore thing is just confusing, too. No one in the northeast part of the US that I’m aware of calls any of that anything other than a dress. Just a dress. Not a jumper, or pinafore, certainly not a pinny, or apron. Just a dress.

        Ask any guy what a jumper is and he’ll just look at you funny. Show him a jumper, and he’ll call it a dress. So would I, at this point.

        Of course, none of this was properly researched. Don’t sick Andrew on me!

        • Andrew is awesome isn’t he? I know him in real life and it’s only luck that I’m not dead yet!

          • You have some of the best blog friends on here! I’m so sick of LJ. I am looking for a new place to blog, where I can start over. Think I will use WP! Just have to get around to it, now.


            • Yay! Let me know if you do and you can be on my Blogroll. :)

              I liked LJ, I only left because my ex was reading my posts and I felt put off (hence me saying not to use both my screen names in the same place, just in case). I really miss loads of people who used to talk to me on there though…

              But moving out into the wider world was fun and refreshing. WP has tons of brilliant themes too. :)

  6. I have long felt that we should start calling the language we speak over here “American.” It’s really not English, I mean, you guys have messed up so many things – like football and biscuits and chips! I think calling our language “American” would clear up a lot of things, don’t you think? ;)

    And that’s not a jumper, that’s a pullover sweater. :D

  7. No, that’s a sweater with a shirt underneath. Get it right.

  8. It is often said that Britain and America are “two nations divided by a common language”. How true that seems.

  9. B – we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on some points here. Can’t bring myself to call a sweater a jumper. NCSUJ was correct, chips were invented in Saratoga Springs. Perhaps that didn’t over well across the pond because you already have fish and chips which, in my limited experience, are friend pieces of potato. Pudding for cake still weirds me out. Could care less re: soccer or football, biscuits, etc. Love the word “loo” … we can’t get that one right … there is no rest in a restroom and no bath in a public bathroom. Ah, this could go on … forever. Cheers! (same meaning on both sides of pond).:)

    • “Ah, this could go on … forever”

      I know, I’ve been banging on about it (on the internet) for bloody years! I’m so fascinated by it. :D

      • You could write posts about this all day long! I love this stuff! As you can tell by me commenting all over the place. :)

        I, too, could care less about soccer/football. Folks all over the place get way to serious about their sports.

        Now, food on the other hand…

  10. Pingback: Americans: This Is A Vest « Blogmella's Handbag Of Wisdom

  11. I grew up in England (Chicksands/Campton) and I still say “postman” and I can’t stop writing color with a U :) I do it every time, and every time that fun little red wavy line pops up and fixes it for me. :)

  12. I am quite definitely American and I prefer British spellings of words like ‘analyse’ and ‘realise.’ I don’t want to put ‘z’s in them. I’ve read enough British literature to know it’s correct on the other side of the pond.

    The British vs American English difference that really messes with my head (although less so now that I’ve started to pay attention to it) is the way that we treat nouns. In American English, they’re noncount nouns; in British English, they’re count nouns. I refer specifically to ‘team.’ If you say “Hufflepuff is winning,” you’re American; if you say “Hufflepuff are winning,” you’re British. Is it, “the team is winning,” or “the team are winning?” And do you put that question mark inside or outside your quotation mark? If inside, American; if outside, British. Complicated stuff.

    Now try teaching foreign ESL students who want to know what’s ‘correct.’ I would tell them, “Well, this is what we use in American English.” Correct? American English is correct. British English is also correct. Pick one and get it right.

    • It is all very complicated but you sound like me – fascinated by the whole thing. I love the differences and I’m glad they exist. Of course, I have still taken on the endless task of stamping them out. Everybody needs a mission in life. ;)

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