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  • Richard Farr

Scheming Brits

I’ve been reading about a debate over the UK national pension scheme for teachers.  This expression rolls off the British ear unnoticed, but after 35 years in the US I have come to hear it (wrongly) as having an odd shade(iness) of meaning. For in US English the thing here described as a scheme is simply a plan – unless the plan is underhanded or otherwise nefarious. Stateside, only schemers scheme.

It’s odd to me that, on other matters, my ear remains resolutely British. “They called for Trump’s ouster“? Well, any kind of riddance would do, but surely the gerund of “to oust” is ousting?

And one should hold one’s for in the left hand, I still want to say. At all events, the Yankee cut-and-switch is a habit to which ten thousand meals have not accustomed me.


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