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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Is it curb or kerb?

Now here's an interesting headline that had me wondering what the heck it was trying to say.

The word 'curb' in the headline is an incorrect spelling of the word in a UK publication. The headline should read, 'Prez Obama kicks contractor to the kerb for web disaster'.

This news item appeared in The Register site which is a UK site. I couldn't help wonder how come this particular spelling error appeared, when other words such as 'programme' were correct for the UK. (Program is the preferred Australian English spelling.) That made me wonder where the author was located. It turns out the author is based in the States. For the States this is the correct spelling.

The words 'curb' and 'kerb' to me fascinating in that both spelling variations are correct in Australia and America, but we use the opposite spelling in Australia as they do in America.

Perhaps this is also a lesson for Australian organisations and individuals wishing to outsource their written work to people overseas. There are many differences in the English language that have developed over time in different regions. Some differences are very obvious, but some can be quite subtle.

Kelvin Eldridge
Assisting Australians with the preferred Australian English spelling.

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