-or vs -our
Those that do end in -our for us, like colour or harbour, always do, but we do have words like horror or governor that don't, so there's no one absolute rule, sadly.
-ise vs -ize
This one is even less concrete. I went an looked it up as I've never been sure of the precise rule here, and apparently whilst many Brits may tend to view -ize as Americanized and wrong, that's actually an incorrect assumption and either is in fact acceptable and it is a stylistic preference that varies between publishing houses (for example the Oxford University Press apparently favours -ize, and consequently so does the Oxford English Dictionary, whilst the Cambridge University Press favours -ise).
Merry Christmas and Happy Christmas are used interchangeably, although it seems to always be Happy New Year, so (when writing, I don't know many people who say it) the phrase tends to be 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year', just for variety I suppose.
As h_vic said, -ise and -ize depend on your preferences.
-our words: colour, harbour, labour, favour, flavour, neighbour, rumour, honour, ... (lots more I can't think of at the moment)
I recommend the wikipedia pages Differences between American and British English and American and British English spelling differences. They are detailed and informative.
P.E. In England
Do they have Physical Education in British schools? You know, where physical activity forced upon you for several (or most/all) years in school? I'm specifically asking about primary school (1st-5th grade/school before age eleven). Sorry If there's any confusion in what I'm trying to say. Thanks!
Thank you very much, Hannah and Kitty. I really appreciate it.
Now I have another quick question - in a previous post, psijupiter said that Muggle schools have a two week long Easter holiday. Would that be that same as Hogwarts? I always thought it was a long weekend.
Sorry if this doesn't belong here, but I'm not certain where to put it.
howcow97- yes P.E. in primary schools is compulsory. At the age of 11 when they move to secondary schools, all children should be able to swim 25 metres, so swimming lessons should be part of P.E. but apart from that they can teach any form of exercise.
I'd always imagined it to be a couple of weeks at Easter rather than a long weekend. State schools tend to have two weeks while private schools have three, sometimes more, and since JKR modeled her school system on the English one, I'd say it's probably two or three weeks holiday at both Easter and Christmas. Personally, I'd go with three weeks seeing as the students don't have half terms.
I have a question. I am writing a Molly/Arthur story, and, in light of this, I'd rather like to know what sprouts are. It seems to me that almost every time Harry goes to the Burrow, someone is peeling sprouts. Here in the states, sprouts are beans of some kind that have root-like things poking out, and they are much too small to be peeled. Do you Brits call potatoes sprouts, perhaps? :confused:
Sprouts are like very small cabbages. They're part of that family anyway.
Sprouts - or Brussels sprouts as we call them - are small, hard green vegetables that are much maligned. You either love sprouts or hate them. They have a slightly bitter taste.
I can't link you here, but if you google Brussels Sprouts then you'll see what I'm talking about.
I could PM you a link .... (rushes off to do that)
Does anyone know what are custody arguments are like in England? At what age does the child have a say in it and do Mums typically get preference over Dads? Thanks for any help!
Yeah, mum's normally get priority over Dad. I believe the child has to be old enough to be aware of the situation so they can express who they want to live with. I could be wrong though, law isn't my strength