Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Gone Girl gets UK English subtitles

I went to the cinema the other evening to watch Gone Girl. It was a good film of the book which has sold in huge numbers. Of course, being an avid reader, I enjoyed the book more than the film (you can get much more in a book than you can in a film).

Without meaning to, we attended a subtitled version of the film. This helped avoid the possibility of any kind of “mumble-gate” which was helpful. But, more than that, I was delighted to see that the subtitles were in UK English – hooray! So we had rumour (not rumor), apologise (not apologize), clamour (not clamor), defence (not defense), and even quoted words with the following punctuation outside the quote like this “example”, which is the way I like it (not "example,").

But it wasn’t one hundred percent successful. We had a mysterious word: “ahold” – it seems our American friends like to get “ahold” of something. It should be: “they can’t get hold of something”, but if they insist on a spurious “a”, it should surely be “they can’t get a hold of something”. There is no such word as "ahold".

But, never mind, it was pleasing enough to see UK English subtitles in the UK, despite this being a US book and a US film. And I’m sure in the US they get US English subtitles - quite right. It’s thoughtful, and I praise them for it.

For an ever-growing list of differences between UK and US English, see our webpage on WriteItClearly.com: UK-US English differences


  1. Do you accept contributions to the dictionary?

  2. I'll see what we can do to accommodate that.

  3. Actually, I don't mind the subtitles whether they are UK or US English, as long as they actually make sense! Sometimes I take my granddaughter to MacDonalds for a treat, and I can watch the News there with subtitles. However, the subtitles are terrible - one example being"a bowl" for "Ebola"! Many of the subtitles simply made no sense at all, which was very frustrating!

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