Australian or United States English?

As an Aussie I am often left wondering whether to type things on the web in Australian English or US English.  There are actual a fair few differences – although seemingly minor, they are still differences and might be seen as mistakes or errors in another persons eyes.  Just a few of the differences I’ve noticed:

Aussie English ‘Mum’,  US English ‘Mom’
Aussie English ‘cheque’, US English ‘check’
Aussie English ‘authorised’, US English ‘authorized’

I’m sure that you could add a fair few to my list above!  I would love to hear your thoughts on Australian versus US English.

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The Time Clock – a.m. or p.m.?

Let’s talk about the time!  First of all lets talk about a.m. (ante meridiem) and p.m. (post meridiem), or the 12 hour time clock.  According to ‘The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage’ noon = a.m. and midnight = p.m. as follows:

“…pm times begin immediately after noon, and so the first minute after 12 noon (= 12 am) is 12.01 pm.  This naturally means that 12 midnight is 12 pm, and the first minute of the next day is 12.01 am.”

Isn’t that confusing – and I thought it was the other way around?!  To avoid people like me from getting confused it is recommended in all sources I have stumbled across so far that we use the term 12 noon or 12 midnight in lieu of a.m. and p.m.

The sample of the time conversion to the 24 hour clock according to ‘The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition’ is as follows:

1200 = noon
2400 or 0000 = midnight
0001 = 12:01 a.m.
1438 = 238pm

A useful link to help understand time a bit better is here: http://www.mathsisfun.com/time.html

Now to look at positive versus negative statements

Below are some examples of where a negatively written statement could be transposed to a positive one:

Negative

Positive

…contrary to your…

…although your…

You failed to enclose…

You overlooked…

According to you…

Apparently…

Unless you return the…

When you return the…

You offer us no alternative…

We wish there were an alternative, but…

You always…

You usually…

Remember to scan your letters before you send them out for any negative statements.  Work to replace the negative statement with more positive words.  A letter that includes even one negative statement can cause a less than desired effect.  It could upset your relationship with a customer, friend or colleague when it was something that was simply overlooked.