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In 1980 one line from The Empire Strikes Back brought me back down to Earth with a bump.

Princess Leia to rebel troops on the remote ice-world of Hoth: "When you've gotten past the energy shield..."

Princess Leia

Gotten'?! Suddenly I was no longer in a galaxy far, far away - fearing the evil lord Darth Vader - but in a studio populated by a greater evil - Americans!

Their systematic destruction of the English language didn't start there of course and, sadly, didn't stop there either. We've got used to their inability to spell correctly - CENTER, TONITE, COLOR, ALUMINUM, missing out half the letters in words like DONUT (Please! - it's made of DOUGH not DO!) - or to write dates in the correct order (DAY/MONTH/YEAR please!) We've come to expect their ridiculous abbreviations in movies of course. References to 'RE-HAB' abound and what Hollywood movie is complete without a reference to at least one 'EX-CON'?

It's not all abbreviations either. They ADD stuff at the end of sentences which they don't need! ...AND THEN SOME (aarghhh) and ...ALREADY (as in ...ALRIGHT ALREADY).

It wouldn't be so bad if it all remained on their side of the Atlantic. But slowly it's making it's way over here. When was the last time you heard the correct English for an advertised (with an 'S' America!) DVD release?

Cue deep husky voice: 'Out on DVD Monday'? There's no such thing as a 'DVD Monday'!

And what about dates? Even our news readers are falling under the spell.

'December twenty-five, two thousand eight' ?! You mean 'December the twenty-fifth, two thousand and eight' - is that so difficult? Are you really so lazy?! Silly question - you invented the Drive Thru' (Thru' ?!).

'Enjoy'......I wait but she fails to complete ther sentence. Enjoy what? I wonder. Enjoy my meal? Enjoy my drive home? Enjoy picking my nose? Why didn't she say?

And then there's my pet hate; 24/7 or rather 'twen - ty - four - se - ven' . This abbreviation must be the most flippin' illogical so-called 'abbreviation' ever invented. It might take up less space written on a shop front but when spoken it is 5 separate syllables! Almost any other way of describing something being open all the time is shorter!

O - pen - twen - ty - four - se - ven (7 syllables!!!!!!!)

O - pen - all - the - time (5 syllables)

Al - ways - o - pen (4 syllables)

Ne - ver - closed (3 syllables)

If you're going to have an abbreviation America - try making it....shorter!