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The 'e' got lost in the harbo(u)r

Posted by Ward Fredericks on December 03, 2003

In Reply to: What happened to the 'e'? posted by Lotg on December 02, 2003

: : : : : In a discussion with a great Aussie blond (who will be nameless here) the topic of gifts vs presents came up. With some little reflection I told her that in my part of the western US there is some little difference, and that I personally use gift when I am talking about something given to an acquaintance or a business associate -- i.e a gift is given without necessarily a lot of affection. We give housewarming gifts to celebrate a new home of a friend or acquaintance.
: : : : : We give presents to our family and to those people where there is an affectionate relationship.

: : : : : Is there any rhyme or reason for the distinction elsewhere in the English speaking world?

: : : : None in my part of the world -- Ky. and W.Va.

: : : I think "present" is a little more informal or less elegant. The Three Wise Men brought gifts, not presents. Commercial promotions that include some sort of bonus always call it a gift: "Stop In Today for Your Free* Gift!"

: : : *That's the well-known redundant commercial "free."

: : I would agree that in the US a "present" MAY be more informal but I would suggest that it also MAY be more elegant. Christmas presents are often quite formal. Kobe's diamond present was quite elegant.

:
: Speaking on behalf of the Aussie blonde (ps: thanks for the compliment Ward), I never heard the word 'gift' in relation to 'presents' until after I left Wangaratta. Now come on - no casting aspersions on Wangaratta - it's quite a nice town. But the only time I heard it used was in reference to something like, the gift of music, the gift of the gab, etc., never with reference to something I'd receive wrapped up for Christmas or my birthday. I only ever heard it used with reference to presents after I moved to the city. And I assumed it was an affectation, as so many city terms seem to be, brought about by marketing, fashion and keeping up with the Jones' methinks.

: And another PS, Ward I've seen you spell blonde that way before - ie. 'blond' - what happened to the 'e'? Is this an Americanism or am I just being blonde - he he?

:::::The e got lost in the harbo(u)r. In the States we left off the 'e' like we leave off lots of u's .