Math or Maths?

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Is “math” or “maths” the correct word to use as the shortened or colloquial form of the word mathematics? The answer is that it depends on where you are.

To North American speakers of English, the word to use is “math”, as in “I majored in math”, and “maths” would sound wrong. Speakers of British English, however, would always say “maths”, as in “I took a degree in maths”. They would never say “math”.

There are logical arguments for both spellings. The word “mathematics” can be considered as a singular and as a plural noun. Both the Oxford and the Merriam-Webster dictionaries say the word is plural – hence the s on the end – but also that it is usually used as if it was a singular noun. So, most people would say “mathematics is my best subject” and not “mathematics are my best subject”. The shortened form “maths”, then, makes sense because the word is still a plural noun and so should still have the “s” on the end. On the other hand, it could be argued, “math” makes sense because it seems wrong to remove the letters “ematic” from the middle of the word and leave the final “s”.

There are a number of other plural nouns that are used as if they were singular – for example economics, ethics, politics, gymnastics, measles and dominoes. These words, however, are not habitually shortened, making math/maths rather an unusual word.

It’s sometimes surprising how much argument and disagreement small differences such as that single letter can make. Readers in the UK, for example, sometimes get very upset if someone writes “math” rather than “maths”. No doubt the reverse is true in the US. In practice, it’s simply worth being aware of the geographical differences so that you can use the correct form of the word in your writing.

Other US/UK Differences

Of course, there are a lot of spelling differences between American English and British English – Colin took a look at the reasons behind this in An Englishman in New York – The Problem Of UK-US English in Freelance Writing.

But are there any other words like math/maths, where one version of English has an “s” at the end of the word, and the other doesn’t?

There is: a very popular building-bricks toy that, if you have children, you’re probably all too used to stepping on. It’s manufactured by a company called LEGO. How do you refer to a handful of those bricks?

In the US, you’d say “Please pick up your Legos.”

In the UK, you’d say, “Please pick up your Lego.” Note the lack of an “s”.

This is the reverse of the math/maths situation, where US English has the “s” tagged onto the end of the word and UK English lacks it.

So who’s right?


The correct plural, according to LEGO, is “LEGO bricks” or “LEGO sets”. (Note the capitalization, too.) So instead of saying “Pick up your Legos” you should say, “Pick up your LEGO bricks.”

Here are a couple of examples of “Lego” and “Legos” in use in different publications:

A robot that can build small models from Lego may be a breakthrough for automated manufacturing – if it can stop dropping bricks.

(BBC News – British publication)

The building blocks known as Legos have long been beloved toys. But did you know the name actually has a strategic meaning behind it?

(Huffington Post – American publication)

Further Reading About American English and British English

If you’re interested in finding out more about the differences between American English and British English, check out these resources on Daily Writing Tips:

7 British English Writing Resources, Mark Nichols – this post rounds up a bunch of style guides and copy editing handbooks that writers working for British publications should find helpful

One “L” or Two?, Maeve Maddox – there are a lot of words that can take an “ll” or an “l” depending on whether you’re writing for a UK or a US audience. Maeve lists some common ones and explains the general rule to follow.

Worshiping and Kidnapping, Maeve Maddox – should you add an extra “p” when adding an “ing” to words like “worship” and “kidnap”? It depends! Maeve outlines the issue here.

Program vs. Programme, Ali Hale – both British and American English use “program” when talking about computers, but British English uses “programme” for many other areas (e.g. a “programme of study”). This post explains the difference, and how to use “program” as a verb.

Punctuation Errors: American and British Quotation Marks, Daniel Scocco – while both American and British English use punctuation marks in a broadly similar way, there’s a key difference when it comes to punctuation and quotation marks. Daniel explains it here.

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122 thoughts on “Math or Maths?”

  1. A fairly old discussion which made for interesting reading. I too, as a South African, have found myself pondering whether to use Math or Maths. We usually follow British English but in this instance I’m still uncertain.

    I did find the discussion of the abbreviation of the word Economics interesting. Here in South Africa we abbreviate it as Ecos (Ee-co-s) and not Econ or Econs. In saying that I used to list Stats and Ecos as two of my courses so I should, by all accounts refer to Maths. But then what when I am referring to someone doing a calculation and not the subject? Not as clear cut as I’d like 🙂

  2. As a neutral (english is not my mother tongue) I’d say that math definitely sounds better. If graham thinks that “math” sounds weird I find it’s opposite. In my view if you want to use an acronym it should definitely be “math”.

  3. @Simon Kewin: I am glad to hear that the UK doesn’t detest Americans being called Americans (what else would you call them? Other countries count– to varying degrees—but they have unique names of their own), and agree with you re the rest.

    Abbreviations don’t follow many rules. In the US its math, and econ, no S’s.

    @coren: You’ve never seen mathematics used in a singular fashion? Really? You don’t say “mathematics is a difficult subject”? Interesting. In the US it is only used in the singular. No one in the US would say, “mathematics are a difficult class”. Likewise any other -ics—economics is, statistics is a class and a subject, but statistics are are hard often surprising. Maybe that is why in American it is always math, econ, and stats. Personally, I hate the singular “statistic” meaning a single piece of information. You wouldn’t call a single equation “a mathematic” or and economics issue “an economic”. When did a datum (where is THAT word when you need it) become “a statistic”? Maybe it happened when an individual soldier became a troop.

    @george: Wake up, awaken, or awake. It’s soon to be 2012, not 1712.

  4. Here in Malta (Europe) we’re brought up to say maths. Therefore to me, the word maths sounds more natural and math does not ring too much of a good bell in my ears. Of course, Malta is an ex-British colony, has extremely good ties (and mutual respect) with Britain and therefore we are very much influenced with anything British. I can’t say we regret it.

    On the other hand you would expect to have English words to be changed when the people speaking it reside in different continents. I guess, but stand to be corrected, that you would probably find similar instances in Spanish being spoken in Spain as opposed to Spanish being spoken in South America.

    As long as we all understand each other, maths or math should not be an issue….but when the meaning starts to change is another thing: Take rubber and eraser. In British English we were taught to call that thing that removes pencil from paper as rubber – go say that in North America rather than use the word eraser and you’ll get funny looks. I am told that for them rubber means condom.

  5. I think math corresponds to knowing the basic skills of mathematics.. like logic, abstraction… and maths the conglomeration of derived specializations in math, like topology, algebra, probability…

  6. Herb on September 20, 2010 9:56 pm
    Sumesh on July 14, 2010 11:13 am says she writes
    ” mostly for an American audience”.
    Actually, she writes for an American readership.

    Actually, Herb, audience is a perfectly appropriate use of the word for those whom are the targeted recipients of written information.

  7. Well I am from the UK and I use both, if I am doing it or describing it or generalising it as a whole, I would say: I am doing Math or there is alot of Math involved, I only use maths as past tense or if I am describing it as multiple subjects e.g I did alot of maths coursework.

    I have just noticed though that upon writing Math and Maths google chrome is saying I am spelling Math wrong yet noticing Maths as correct.

  8. I say Maths but all my friends say Math! I think Maths is right because I was grown up in New Zealand and that is what I was taught. But when I came to Hong Kong in this international school, everybody says Math, but the teachers say Maths! So I am not sure.

  9. At least all People liking mathematics must have an unique word to write. I say Maths is more valuable than math.

  10. To stop the debate on whose dialect is superior I want to point out that language is intended to communicate ideas and that there is no quiescent form of a language. It is correct to say something when the people you are saying it (or writing it) to understand you. How we generally understand math where I live is that, for example, algebra is a math, arithmetic is a math, calculus is a math ect. We would say “How many maths have you taken? ” and “what math are you taking?”

  11. Eric Minor: What you are addressing is an entirely different issue. The question isn’t whether different parts of math can be called maths, but whether mathematics itself is abbreviated as math or maths. You say “What math are you taking?”. Others would say, “What maths are you taking?”, meaning the same thing, “a” mathematics class or subject. You are landing on the American side of the issue whether you realize it or not. Even Americans, who ALWAYS call the subject math, might say, “How many maths have you taken?” where “maths” is an abbrevation for math classes, as you are saying, rather than the subject itself. Likewise we’d say how many histories, chemistries, and Englishes have you taken?” in that context.

  12. There are no rules in English stating how words are to be abbreviated, it is done by people to shorten lengthy words. Math or maths is meant to represent mathematics. Saying math or maths is the same as saying sup to replace what is up. Many words in the dictionary are mutated forms of post words. As an example ok originally stood for orl korrekt, a jock misspelling of all correct. I am not sure if you have these words in England but I doubt you speak the language the same as when it was created. It goes back to my original argument that it is proper to write things when they are understood by the audience. If I travel to England I will attempt to match their dialect and say maths and loo but in places that say math it would be best to say math. Likewise if I travel to Germany I would speak German so the people would understand me, not argue with them that the hund is a hound. Also, not as part of my argument, but if mathematics is plural than what is a mathematic?

  13. Well, there are some rules for abbreviations but granted, they are not exhaustive or very consistently applied. The whole question is asked and answered in the topic post:
    Is “math” or “maths” the correct word to use as the shortened or colloquial form of the word mathematics? The answer is that it depends on where you are.

    Tho, more properly, the answer depends on where you are from</i). Are you speaking American Enlglish (I am, BTW)? If so, then the proper form is math; and "maths" is odd, funny, and affected-sounding. Just like saying chemistries, histories, and literatures would be when referring to those subjects. If you are speaking British English, evidently maths is the norm. Fine. This is REALLY SIMPLE. In this case, I don't think anyone one on either side of the ocean would have trouble understanding you.

    Mathematics, as we use it, is not plural. That's why we say math(ematics) IS a subject of study. Not mathematics ARE. Not all words that happen to end in an S are plural, tho that assumption does lead to many errors.

  14. I’m English, and Maths sounds right to me because of many reasons already stated, mostly the idea that the ‘s’ on the end of the abbreviation sounds more like a plural.

    Over here at high school and sixth form level, you take a subject; for example, I am taking Further Mathematics – which is quite a broad subject including Newtonian mechanics, statistics, etc – rather than taking however many classes, so the idea of “I’ve taken 3 maths” sounds really strange.

    Further, if “I did math”, that sounds more like doing one small piece of arithmetic. Therefore it only feels right for me to hear the word sounding like a conventional plural. Evidently from the comments here, calling the subject “Maths” sounds just as wrong to Americans as hearing “Math” does to me, though.

  15. I am English, being born in England and am also an Australian, so have dual nationality. I also teach English in China and I am appalled by the influence of all things American on the Chinese. Why do the Chinese want to speak with an American accent and be like Americans? Because it is ‘cool’. I get particularly annoyed because in my opinion, and I say in my opinion, American English is lazy and certainly not cool. It will always be ‘maths’, colour, labour, programme etc., and I will always teach my students how to pronounce words correctly.

  16. My kids started to say math, and when asked to explain I couldn’t, so I just said it takes two to make a sum so it’s maths and there you go, ‘simples’ I am right and the yanks are wrong end of.

  17. It’s not such an unusual way to shorten a plural noun. “Statistics” gets shortened to “stats”. “Spectacles” gets shortened to “specs”. “Yankees” gets shortened to “Yanks”. As an Aussie I always say “maths”, but I accept that it’s different on the other side of the pond.

  18. Isn’t mathematics a collective noun? When I was at school we studied arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry. When speaking about geometry, for example, we never called it maths but used that term when talking or writing about all four subjects.

  19. Lots of valid responses as to the semantics of the use of the words math and maths. However, no one seems to have dealt with this American misuse of the word mathematics. The Americans and now a large proportion of Britains, including surprisingly teachers, use the word math when they are clearly referring to ARITHMETIC i.e. the addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication of numbers. The word MATHMATICS (or math or maths) should only be used when speaking about algebra, trigonometry, calculus, geometry, etc. Then tonight I have listened to the BBC One Show’s item on the ability of British adults ability to count, when guess what even Aunty Beeb presenters use the word math. When will it end?

  20. John Smith:You ask and answer your own questions.

    ..I am appalled by the influence of all things American on the Chinese. Why do the Chinese want to speak with an American accent and be like Americans? Because it is ‘cool’.

    Yes. Because things American are cool. Always have been; where ya been the last 100 years? That’s why American pop culture is taking over the world, sorry. British isn’t cool. I mean, you had Keith Richards, but he lives here now. Britishness had some cachet back in the day, but it was never “cool”. And if you’re Chinese, FGS, you need all the cool help you can get. They want to be like America. Not like Britain. Who would want to be like Britain? What would that even mean? Puttering about in tiny, ugly cars and eating fried organ meats and boiled flour?

    in my opinion, American English is lazy and certainly not cool. But there you have it. You aren’t cool, so you can’t determine what is cool and what isn’t. You’re kinda stuck in mom-jeans and playing the accordion, while the cool kids are in leather jackets and playing electric guitars.

    I will always teach my students how to pronounce words correctly.

    Correctly in the UK. Not correctly in the US or wherever else. If you don’t teach them the English they’ll need—whatever it is—you’re doing them wrong out of your own misplaced pride.

  21. I’d like to point out the obvious, Maths has to be correct as the language it comes from is what we call English & as England is the English langauge centre of origin that has to be correct, in the same way as the Spanish spoken in south american countries has many different versions & accent to that spoken in spain.

    Also though it has to be said that as both countries, ie, USA & England have both had over the years alot of foreign influences in the languages due to large migration of imagrants it’s not surprising things change, & example, when I was growing up ‘isn’t it’ was shortend to or as we say slanged into ‘aint it’ as it’s quicker to say, where as nowadays due to large India & asian population influence, ‘aint it’ has become ‘init’ in alot of places & particularly with the young.

    I would also suggest that as the good old USA & Britain were not always the best of buddies I would imagine alot of words were changed just to make a difference between the 2 countires.

  22. No, John, sorry. What you call obvious is simply and flatly wrong. The English of England has no special claim of correctness due to the fact that the language originated there. Both American and British English have changed A LOT in 300 yrs, and in many ways it is American that has more faithfully preserved the original characteristics of 17-18th century English more than modern British has. Modern British is no older than Modern American. The 2 are now different and separate national-standards, and thereby neither has any claim of superseding the other. “Math” is correct in American English, which is not subject to the standards of British English in any way, shape, or form.

    The argument is fatuous. Why stop at dialects? Say, German is more correct than English because it is closer to the original proto-Germanic that both come from. Or Lithuanian is more correct still, because it seems to preserve something closer to original proto-Indo-European than any other IE language group does? Silly.

  23. “Maths” is a perversion of the English language brought about by low class Brits. The correct usage is and always has been “math”. The usage of “maths” was first seen in print in England in 1911, whereas “math” can be seen in works in both England and the US dating back at least to the mid 1800s. All the anti-American comments from Brits are interesting considering it was the Brits themselves that have bastardized the word, not the Americans.

    As for the argument that any usage in the US is incorrect because England is the origin of English, there are only 51,456,400 people in England. The US population is 311,591,917. You’ve been out voted.

  24. But the english speaking world far outnumbers the USAmerican speaking world.

    No, it doesn’t. Yet this inaccurate “factoid” keeps getting repeated. First, 2/3 of the worlds native English speaders are American. That’s 2 out of 3. The non-American English speakers all together don’t equal the number of American speakers. And second, English speakers outside the UK– or just England really– don’t speak British English. Canadian, Australian, and others have their own standards. Some of them superifially resemble British, but are really very different from it(e.g. Australian) or are actually much more similar to American (e.g. Canadian English. Even the Scottish and Welsh have their own standardized dialects. So-called “English” English is only really spoken by 50-some million people at most. Not that impressive at all considering.

  25. ‘ because it seems wrong to remove the letters “ematic” from the middle of the word and leave the final “s”.’

    But that is the standard way of abbreviating a plural.

  26. No. The word is not ‘mathematic’, it is mathematics. Therefore, the extra ‘s’ at the end is justified. I am British English. ‘Mathematic’, whilst not being a word, signifies one sum, one calculation. Most mathS is more than one calculation, for example, algebra. Stop trying to foist your warped version of the English language on the British.

  27. I will say math (referring to mathematics) to any American who will gladly say stat (referring to statistics) to me. I kid you not, I am ready to cut my South African English roots for that.

    After constantly having to stop for the “math vs. maths” argument when surrounded by my american friends, I’ve decided that when the majority of the people around me are Americans, I will just say “mathematics”. When “non-Americans” (if you please) are the “ruling party”, I will effortlessly say MATHS & continue with my sweet sweet life =).

  28. I’ve only just begun to listen to the Brits, in podcasts and TV shows, thanks to the internet, and hearing “maths” is grating and clumsy to my ears, having grown up in the USA. But, the Brits also seem to dislike collective nouns, where a group which is obviously plural will become singular, and takes a singular form of the verb in the USA, but the plural form in the UK. Horses for courses. (An expression I just learned!)

  29. As a Brit, I often wind people up by my saying ‘math’.

    My argument is as in the article – why contract the word and keep the s?

    Though, user ‘MathsStats’ raises an excellent point on this, too. I don’t often contract ‘statistics’, but if I did, I would say ‘stats’, not ‘stat’. Though it could be argued that that is too avoid ambiguity with ‘STAT’.

  30. Interesting comments thread! Funny how even the difference of whether to use a terminal ‘s’ or not on a single word can get a bit political 🙂

    I googled the math/maths thing in the first place because it occurred to me the American usage is entering British usage a bit. As a few people have already pointed out, it is already used in certain academic contexts. I think this is because there is a subtle distinction between the usage of the words ‘maths’ and ‘mathematics’ in Britain, to the extent the former is almost a separate word rather than merely an abbreviation. ‘Maths’ to me implies general usage – the sort taught in primary schools, mental arithmetic etc. ‘Mathematics’ generally implies a higher study of the subject (at uni etc). So when the latter is abbreviated, it becomes ‘math’ to continue to distinguish it from ‘school maths’.

    Also, I noticed it’s about 50/50 which variant Brits go for when they say, ‘you do the math/s’. I imagine this is because the phrase originates in America and we use it as a whole-cloth import.

    Incidentally, you list other similarly debatable singular/plural words in the article and note that they are not commonly abbreviated. ‘Gymnastics’ is, though – and we follow the ‘math’ rule on that one, saying ‘I’ve got gym class’ rather than ‘gyms class’.

    So yeah 🙂

  31. I think they’re both correct. I think Mathematics is really genitive case noun, not a plural, that includes its modified noun.

    So math as an abbreviation is perfectly correct.

    In the UK, basic mathematical equations are also called “sums” (or sum singular). So we’d more likely say “I’ve done the sums” instead of “I’ve done the math”, and I’d suggest this inherent recognition of the repetitive nature of maths is the source of the plurality (ie mathematics = lots of sums).

    So maths as a plural is equally perfectly OK.

  32. Math would make the best sense to me rather because if you leave ematics away you’ll be left with : Math, exactly. (referring to article) Btw, English is not my native language so I think I have the advantage of being objective :).

    But my honest opinion is this : Mathematics is a beautiful word don’t rape it by using a shorter version of it!

  33. ”If so, then the proper form is math; and “maths” is odd, funny, and affected-sounding. Just like saying chemistries, histories, and literatures would be when referring to those subjects.”

    How is saying maths like any of those?! The subject is called mathematics and maths is the British abbreviation of it. Chemistry is chemistry and history is history. You’ve just said plural versions of singular words which adds (or add for USA) nothing to the debate.

  34. Mathematics is very DEFINITELY plural and the s was added to denote that.

    Most dictionaries post 2000 are likely to say something like it being plural but generally used as a singular noun, pre 2000 they are more likely to say something like it be a plural and *sometimes* used as a singular noun, and in some cases that it is plural only.

    The point is the word is plural POST the abbreviation being used (some say that it turned from being a plural to a singular PRIOR to the abbreviation which is NOT true – it is only the context in which it is most commonly used that has changed).

    An abbreviation should NOT lose the true meaning of the original word and therefore, whilst there is no hard and fast rule for making an abbreviation of a word, losing the fact that the word is, at the very LEAST in some contexts, a plural, has got to be incorrect if the abbreviation is to be used interchangeably with mathematics in ALL contexts.

    Thus maths has the same characteristic as mathematics, that is, it is a plural word that can be used as a singular noun.

    Obviously, math, does not.

  35. My goodness, I never thought I’d stumble upon such a debate! So many passionate responses!

    I just googled “is maths a word” because up until recently (being a Yankee myself) I had simply never heard it used that way. More and more exposure to British television and the readily accessible global community on the internet has exposed me to a ton of new terminology and expressions and I love learning each and every one.

    I don’t think I’d have any new perspective on the subject; everyone here has been able to present a perfectly valid argument for one usage over the other.

    I guess from my own personal experience and use, I can justify using “math” based on how we generally shorten not just words, but specifically school subjects: “literature” is often “lit,” “biology” is “bio,” “chemistry” is “chem,” “physical education” is “phys ed,” “psychology” is “psych,” “political science” is “poli sci,” and then “mathematics” is “math.” I honestly feel it’s less about proper grammar and more about simply lopping off the tail end of the word.

    I think it starts to feel like more of a “proper grammar” thing when you start relating the word to a setting outside of school. When you really think about it, your first relationship with mathematics is in school, where it is presented as a subject that you’re going to nickname (because “mathematics is a big word when you’re in kindergarten!). I think sticking with that nickname as you grow is what makes that the more familiar term.

    To me, at least (and I suppose other Americans), the word “maths” just SOUNDS like more than one kind of math, simply because of how we’re taught. I feel like even when we refer to other kinds of math, we shorten them by chopping off the ends (as in “pre-calculus” being shortened to “pre-calc” as opposed to “pre-calcs”) to keep them from sounding like more than one occurrence of math.

    Anyway I’m getting all rambly. I’m just fascinated that this seemed to be a point of such contention when to me it seems like more of a regional sort of thing, like “soda” versus “pop” versus “coke.” None of them are wrong; it’s just where you’re from!

  36. I would argue that “mathematics” is actually NOT plural, but instead a singular noun that works as a classification of many different fields of study.

    Similar to the word “design”, there are many different types of design, but you would never say “design” is a plural, it’s not actually describing multiple things, it’s describing the singular thing those things have in common.

    How about “science”? There are many different types of “sciences”, but when you’re talking about it as a whole, we use the singular “science”.

    The same can be said for “mathematics”, which is why I still believe “math” to be more correct.

  37. Vigorousjammer , I disagree . Mathematics is plural and as you rightly stated covers a wide range of subjects . But to shorten a plural word to give it singular meaning is wrong . It is not needed , the word mathematic to describe field of mathematics dosn’t exist either side of the pond , you would simply say I’m doing algebra etc. to use math in a singular sense is wrong as it is an abbreviation of a plural word .

    That said and because mathematics is a plural word and saying math makes it sound singular that maths has to be correct .

  38. “maths” is the latest British invasion because of shows like “Downton Abbey” and “Elementary.” (I heard Johnny Lee Miller say “maths” on an episode recently.) Accept it–American’s aren’t British and Brits aren’t Americans. So? I’ve lived in the midwest, New England, Southern California, and now Texas. Everyone has their own way of speaking. (Yes, we Americans put periods and commas inside the quotation marks, too. Get over it.) I’ve been a technical writer for a long, long time, yet even I’m shocked at how prescriptive some people are with grammar. So silly. (Some of you need to go to youtube and listen to that Pharrell Williams video, “Happy”! B-)

  39. It is Maths. The USA has adopted English and changed it then attempts to tell the people who not only invented the language but for whom the very name is their ethnic identity they are somehow wrong?

    Why don’t they get their own language and stop bastardising ours?

  40. Hmm. I thought “the people who … invented the language” were all dead? Well, I suppose not, since it is a living language and must therefore have living speakers.

    As to “getting our own language”, I think our forebears brought one with them, thank you. It was and is called English. And we have changed it no more since it was brought here, than you have since they left. (It has, of course, changed somewhat on both sides.)

    Unlike the English, however, we have not adopted the innovation of pronouncing the “h” in “herb”, but continue to pronounce it as our mutual ancestors did.

  41. For consistency I should probably have written,

    “We have changed it no more since it was brought here, than you have since it was taken” — or some such phrase. Alas, I’m only an American, and thus doomed to bastardize the language.

    Well, at least we got rid of that silly German family who were pretending to be English.

  42. I’m in the camp that “math” is proper. As you say, it doesn’t make any sense to be dropping the “ematic” while leaving the ‘s’. I have no difficulty accepting that “math” is just a shortened form of ‘mathematics’, just as easily as a word like ‘drama’ can easily be used as a shortened form for the word ‘dramatics’, when talking about the general field, or art of acting, for example.

    Oh, and I’m not American.

  43. I actually don’t see why they can’t both be correct; people could just use the one they liked, or use them interchangeably. It’s not like homonyms are a new thing, anyway.

  44. It is not correct that North American speakers of English use the word “math”, and speakers of “British” English use “maths”. Only North Americans use “math”, all other speakers of English use “maths”.

  45. Pardon me but what is american English? I think you mean american; and what is British English? I think you mean English. How long has america existed? A couple of hundred years. England, however, has existed for far longer, so don’t call it “British English” because in Britain there are more than 3 other languages – they’re not all English; and don’t call it “american English” because such a thing doesn’t exist. america needs to get its own language and stop trying to change what already is.

    If it’s “incorrect” to remove “ematic” and keep the S at the end, then in the examples, “That is Robert’s computer” and “That is Rob’s computer”, the S should also be removed. Sarcastic? No – truth.


    P.S. How long shall I wait for Americans and Americanised people to come and try and defend America with their “logic” and rationalisations?

  46. These arguments over “correct english” are quite interesting and also humorous. (Is that “quite” as in very, or “quite” as in a little bit?)

    I speak as a Brit and, considering how obscure the english language is, you simply cannot argue by logic whether a word should be written one way or another. English as a language has always defied logic: One house, two houses; one mouse, two mice. Cough, dough, rough, plough (plow?), through, hiccough!!

    I also find the historical argument (“English should belong to the English”) makes little sense either. English is and has always been an evolving language. It’s possible that 400 years ago they said “math” and the British changed it, or perhaps they said “maths” and the Americans changed it, or perhaps they said “mathematics” and both sides went their separate ways! Who cares? 100 years ago the word “gay” meant happy, and now it means homosexual, and I don’t hear anyone getting upset about it.

    In the end, there are simply different sets of rules for vocabulary and grammar depending on which locale you are addressing. And the more you learn and respect, the better at communication y’all gonna be.. bruv.

  47. The origin of the word “mathematics” was derived from the greek “mathema” which evolved into the latin neuter plural “matematica” (no s) meaning mathematical art. So what is wrong with dropping the “s” when the true origin of the word never contained one to begin with.

    For those that would argue that its not plausible to have both “math” and “maths” because “mathematic” is not a word. When the term was absorbed into the french language (before it was used by the english), the French used “les mathematiques” plurally and “les mathematique” singularly.

  48. British people getting upset about the bastardisation of their language! Laughable. English is derived from Germanic languages, so the good people of England didn’t invent this precious language. You can thank imperialism for your bastardisation. When the number of “English” speaking people outnumber the population of England you don’t get to call the shots anymore.

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