Is “whilst” even a word in American English?

Why, when I was your age we said “while.” And we liked it that way.

This has to do with a possible (recurring!) paying gig I’m rather anxious to land. Apparently people in the Commonwealth say whilst a lot. What’s with that?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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13 Responses to Is “whilst” even a word in American English?

  1. czechsix says:

    Not common at all in American English. Quite a few differences in the Queen’s vs. American, I’m in a distance learning program out of the U.K.. It’s been quite entertaining writing academic papers….quite.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes. And so is “whence”. You can pry my old world anachronisms out of my cold, dead hands…

  3. Bob says:

    Okay, so what’s with “price point.” When I was a kid it was just the “price” of something. I also can’t figure out why all these guys are running around with about a 3 day’s growth of beard. Looks like they need a shave. Either grow a beard, or shave it off. Getting old, I guess.

  4. Bob says:

    Sorry about no question mark after “price point.”

  5. Ben says:

    I like “whilst”, I use “whilst”, and I don’t give a flip if it’s proper or not. However, I’m not looking for a job and realize that this mini-rant does nothing to answer your question.

  6. Claire says:

    Dunno a thing about whilst, except it’s so veddy veddy British and they always pronounce it wile-st even though it looks as if it ought to be will-st.

    But I am so totally with Bob about larding on unnecessary words or doing other pompous sh*t to sound … whatever they’re trying to sound when they do that stuff. “Disaster situation” is one that particularly grates on me. How does a “disaster situation” say anything not said 100x better by plain old “disaster”? Yet the media is always enjoying bazillions killed or left homeless in “situations.” Faugh.

    Good luck with whilst, BTW.

  7. Goober says:

    Come on bob, no telling anyone to get off your lawn? I’m disappointed :)

  8. Matt says:

    My students have become fond of the word amongst and use it any place that among would be better. I have become fond of deducting points for the word amongst. No special snowflakes in my world.

  9. jabrwok says:

    Matt, how do you determine when ‘amongst’ is more or less appropriate than ‘among’? The dictionaries I’ve just consulted indicate no significant difference in usage.

  10. Kentucky says:

    So long as a word is not actually improper, I enjoy tossing the occasional infrequently-encountered one into a conversation just for fun. After all, listening to William F. Buckley speak was an education in itself, irrespective of actual content.

  11. Matt says:

    Jabrwok, my students are supposed to write very plain and dry with the least amount of words and characters possible. So, unless it is from a direct quote, I seldom approve.

  12. jabrwok says:

    @Matt, so it’s a stylistic requirement rather than a grammatical rule. That’s cool. I was just wondering if there was a rule of grammar of which I was unaware:-).

  13. Jimbo Sayqua says:

    Folks in the Commonwealth use many strange pronunciations. If you want to fit in, oblige them, although an American accent will give you away. If you are in the good ‘ol USA, speak English.

To the stake with the heretic!