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Language tip of the week: public school

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 usage in American and British English of the term public school:



In the UK, a public school is a private institution for young people between the ages of 13 and 18 whose parents pay for their education. The students often live at the school during the school term. American speakers usually refer to this as a private school.

In the US, public school refers to a school that is paid for from taxes and provides free education to local children between the ages of about five and 18. This is called a state school in the UK.

In the US, a school for children between the ages of five and about eleven is called an elementary school, or sometimes a grade school. In the UK this is called a primary school.

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Liz Potter

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