Friday, November 4, 2016

In America, a Royal Enfield's nearside is the other side

This is a blog about Royal Enfield motorcycles in the United States, but I frequently find myself quoting Royal Enfield owners who are British.

One of them once commented that he was surprised to read what he'd said and find himself speaking "in American."

I realized then that I do tend to translate what I hear into American-speak.

There are spelling differences, of course, but words and phrases differ in meaning as well between Britain and the U.S.

Two landmines I avoid are the words "nearside" and "offside."

It took me a long time just to grasp that, in Britain, these refer to the respective sides of a motor vehicle, especially a motorcycle. They have nothing to do with how close you are to it, or which side you get off it.

In Britain, "nearside" refers to the side of a vehicle nearest the kerb (curb). The side of a vehicle farthest from the kerb (curb) is the "offside."

Makes perfect sense — if we agree where the kerb (curb) should be. We don't.

If you drive on the right, as we do in the United States, the nearest curb is on the other side.

So, instead of nearside and offside, I use "left side" and "right side." I realize this can be confusing as well, so I try to always add "facing forward."

Someone in Britain might be justified in asking if my face isn't just generally on the forward side of my body.

You know what I mean.

1 comment:

  1. In India too they ride on the left side of the road.
    When I was growing up there, my father taught me the rules of the road. It goes:

    "The rules of the road are contradictory quite.
    If you’re right, you’re wrong.
    If you’re left, you’re right”
    Made perfect sense as long as I was in India.


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