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Language tip of the week: holiday

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the differences in how people talk about holidays in American and British English.



In the UK, a holiday, often called your holidays, is a period of time during which you do not go to school or work, and usually you go to a place away from home to relax: Where are you going for your holiday?

American speakers call this period a vacation. In the US, holiday refers to a single day fixed by law when people do not have to go to school or work: I forgot that Monday’s a holiday. In the UK, this is usually called a bank holiday. Both American and English speakers also call this a public holiday.

When American speakers say the holidays or the holiday season, they are referring to the period of time that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Day: Have you got any special plans for the holidays?

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Liz Potter

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