The Football World Cup 2014 is just around the corner and JDA English is pleased to announce a series of posts that will help you learn English through this sporting event. And we’re going to start by highlighting a big difference between British and American English.
Football or Soccer?
As you already know, there are many differences between British and American English (and also English from Ireland, Australia etc., but we’re going to focus on British and American), and I would argue that one of the biggest differences in terms of vocabulary is football (BrE) vs soccer (AmE).
Generally speaking, British people hate it when football is called soccer. I think this is because football is the most popular sport in the UK and it was invented there.
I’m originally from the UK but now live in the US. People here are aware that they are one of only a few nations that call it soccer, and football to people here is American football.
Interestingly, the word soccer originally came from the UK. It used to be called association football, and people took the the SOC from association and added ‘er’ to make socer (or soccer). The difference between these words can cause problems. Here are typical conversations I have with Brits and Americans:
With My Friends from the UK (Conversation One)
Me: I’m playing a lot of football at the moment.
Friend: Don’t you mean, “Soccer” now you live in the US?
With My Friends from the UK (Conversation Two)
Me: I’m playing a lot of soccer at the moment.
Friend: It’s not soccer, it’s football!
With People I Meet in the US (Conversation One)
Me: So yeah, I play a lot of soccer here.
American: Don’t you mean, “football?” Isn’t that what you guys call it?
With People I Meet in the US (Conversation Two)
Me: So yeah, I play a lot of football here.
American: Football or soccer? Because football means something different here.
It gets very frustrating. I think there needs to be a universal word for football/soccer!
JUST AROUND THE CORNER
If something is just around the corner, it means that it is starting soon. It is mainly used for events.
- My vacations are just around the corner!
- The start of school is just around the corner.
I WOULD ARGUE THAT
This is a more formal way to say, “I think..” and it is often used during discussions and especially in essays.
To be aware of something means that you have knowledge of something; it is something that you know.
- He wasn’t aware that the word soccer originated from the UK.
- They’re aware that they make lots of mistakes, they just can’t help it.
I now have some questions for you:
1. Do you prefer to call it football or soccer?
2. What’s the most popular sport in your country?
3. Are you going to watch the World Cup 2014?
Leave your answers below.