Differences in the UK and US Versions of Four Harry Potter Books

FAST US-1 Introduction to American EngIish (Hopkins)
Department of TransIation Studies, University of Tampere, FinIand

Lexical differences between British and American English are numerous enough that many mass-market books,
especially those meant for younger readers, are revised before publication in the 'other' market. While there is
more conversion of American publications into British editions (see Differences Between British and American
English in Two Versions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby for one example), due to the substantially
larger U.S. publication production, there is conversion from British to American as well, due to the size and
attractiveness of the U.S. consumer market.
The following lexical and punctuation differences between the UK and U.S. editions of four Harry Potter books
were compiled by and are used with the permission (19 Dec 2001) of Edward Olson, who retains copyright and
to whom possible comments should be sent. Edward compared the original U.K. Bloomsbury and U.S.
Scholastic Press hardcover editions of the four works.
Questions sometimes arise about an author's reaction to such editorial changing of their work for another
audience. The following passage from an Associated Press article on July 6, 2000 by Audrey Woods titled
Success Stuns Harry Potter Author gives J.K. Rowling's reaction:
...what's this about changing some of the words in the U.S. edition so American children could understand
them? Rowling pretended to bang her head against the sofa in mock frustration. "SO much has been made of
that," she groans, noting that it was only done where words had been used that really meant something very
different to Americans. Her American editor pointed out that the word jumper ÷ British for pullover sweater ÷
means a kind of dress in American. She had had no idea. "He asked, 'Can we change it to sweater,' which is
just as British?" That was fine with Rowling.
Book 1: Harry Potter and the PhiIosopher's (U.S. $orcerer's
1
) Stone
UK Edition US Edition
Page Word or Phrase Word or Phrase Page
lot bunch 4
the baker's opposite the bakery 4
10 shan't won't 6
13 sherbet lemon lemon drop 10
16 dustbin trashcan 14
16 motorbike motorcycle 14
1 bobble hats bonnets 18
1 cooker stove 1
1 roundabout carousel 18
20 punch-bag punching bag 20
20 sellotape scotch tape 20
21 cine-camera video camera 22
21 mummy mommy 21
21 video recorder VCR 22
22 cinema movies 22
23 bobbles puff balls 24
23 fringe bangs 24
23 glove puppet hand puppet 24
23 jumper sweater 24
23 sellotaped taped 24
24 beetroot beet 25
24 bins trash cans 25
24 ice lolly ice pop 26
2 comprehensive public school 32
2 letter-box mail slot 33
2 post mail 33
30 holidaying vacationing 34
34 toilet bathroom 40
35 a sharp turning a sharp turn 41
35 motorway highway 41
35 video VCR 41
36 multi-storey car park multilevel parking garage 43
37 packet of crisps bag of chips 44
42 have a place have been accepted 51
42 mum mom 50
43 Dear Mr Dumbledore, Dear Professor Dumbledore, 52
52 notes bills 65
52 set books course books 66
53 hamburger bars hamburger restaurants 68
54 gummy toothless 68
61 football soccer 7
67 next day the next day 8
68 trolley cart 0
78 bogey-flavoured booger-flavored 104
83 trainers sneakers 110
1 ...three people left to be sorted.
'Turpin, Lisa' became
...three people left to be sorted. "Thomas, Dean,"
a Black boy even taller than Ron, joined Harry at
the Gryffindor table. "Turpin, Lisa" became
122
3 jelly Jell-O 125
8 queuing lining up 131
101 Dear Harry, (it said in a very
untidy scrawl) Ì know you get
Friday afternoons off,
Dear Harry, Ì know you get Friday afternoons off, 135
122 pitch field 164
124 football soccer ball 167
124 rounders baseball 168
127 jacket potato baked potato 172
135 nobbled clobbered 184
140 crumpets English muffins 1
147 Happy Christmas Merry Christmas 200
147 sweets candy 201
150 a tea of a meal of 204
152 disused unused 207
161 Philosopher's Stone Sorcerer's Stone 21
165 changing room locker room 225
167 revision timetables study schedules 228
168 One Hundred One Thousand 22
175 dressing gown bathrobe 240
175 teddy the teddy 240
17 learns spells off by heart learn spells by heart 246
17 revision studying 245
181 Prof. M. McGonagall Professor M. McGonagall 247
182 lookout problem 24
13 on about talking about 265
214 lavatory seat toilet seat 26
214 sweet-shop candy shop 26
217 quits even 300
218 mad crazy 302
21 barking off his rocker 302
21 sweet-boxes candy boxes 303
221 drawn tied 306
222 came top of the year had the best grades of the first years 307
Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
UK Edition US Edition
Page Word or Phrase Word or Phrase Page
8 top-of-the-range top-of-the-line 3
10 fortnight two weeks 5
12 ice-creams ice cream 10
13 joint loin 10
17 September the first September first 16
1 wardrobe closet 17
22 tinned soup canned soup 22
24 'Bit rich coming from you.' "You should talk." 25
26 wound down rolled down 27
2 wellington boots rubber boots 32
2 windscreen windshield 31
33 Father Christmas Santa Claus 36
38 tank top sweater vest 44
3 holiday vacation 45
42 pulled the doors to pulled the doors closed 50
45 an apothecary's an apothecary 54
48 wonky lopsided 58
52 group who group that 63
53 boot trunk 66
53 cock-crow dawn 65
56 check no one's watching check that no one's watching 70
58 bonnet hood 73
66 good on you good for you 84
70 timetables schedules 8
76 can't say fairer can't do better 8
7 candelabra iron chandelier 102
7 waste bin waste basket 102
8 Ìt's mad Ìt's ridiculous 116
8 treacle toffee treacle fudge 116
3 shift the slime get the slime off 121
4 jump-jets missiles 123
4 peaky pale 122
6 he's got flu he's got the flu 125
101 go to the loo have a pee 133
111 hadn't got haven't got 146
111 nutter maniac 146
118 cistern tank 156
135 prised wrenched 180
135 prised open opened 180
147 end of term end of the term 17
160 cupboard closet 214
160 Much the most difficult bit By far the hardest part 214
161 treacle-thick glutinous 215
167 gormless clueless 223
173 news agent's variety store 231
185 grass on Hagrid squeal on Hagrid 250
187 rubbish lousy 252
18 they went, crocodile fashion they marched 267
1 A second later, Harry spotted
something that made him hit Ron
over the hand with his pruning
shears.
A second later, Harry spotted something. 268
1 Harry was pointing at the ground a
few feet away. Several large spiders
were scurrying across the earth.
Harry pointed out the spiders, following their
progress with his eyes screwed up against
the sun.
26
1 Harry watched the spiders running
away.
Harry's eyes narrowed as he focused on the
spiders. Ìf they pursued their fixed course,
there could be no doubt about where they
would
26
1 Professor Snape escorted Professor Sprout escorted 26
208 hatching Aragog out in hatching Aragog in 281
210 revising studying 284
226 monkey-like monkeyish 307
233 straight away right away 302
240 got fond grown fond 326
Book 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
UK Edition US Edition
Page Word or Phrase Word or Phrase Page
7 Adalbert Waffling Bathilda Bagshot 1
7 torch flashlight 1
8 whilst while 3
he'd got Harry he'd gotten Harry 4
row fight 4
18 newsreader reporter 16
31 a fair few quite a few 34
32 letter boxes mailboxes 36
35 bollards wastebaskets 41
36 Minister for Magic Minister of Magic 42
4 haring racing 60
4 scarpered scampered 60
53 rowing arguing 65
57 queue line 71
62 'Get out of it!' "Get out of here!" 78
63 Gorilla arms gorilla-ish arms 80
71 timetable course schedule 0
73 set us assigned us 3
75 down our down at our 7
81 Ìnner Eye testing Ìnner Eye tested 105
81 wonky crooked 105
85 pop my clogs kick the bucket 110
85 rubbish bad 111
86 bullclips binder clips 112
1 sack fire 11
2 problem he problem that he 121
108 Gryffindor haven't Gryffindor hasn't 143
10 cracking spanking good 144
120 Next moment A moment later 160
142 know it off know it 11
16 large silver one large silver noisemaker 227
16 tuck in dig in 228
170 cracker hats party hats 230
173 stop him stop him from 233
188 Only we need We need 254
18 do his nut go ballistic 255
200 scarper run 270
20 nor do Ì neither do Ì 284
217 Slytherin win Slytherin wins 24
224 clapping them applauding them 304
226 Next moment, Fred Weasley had
chucked
A moment later, Fred Weasley chucked 307
226 Penalty to Penalty shot to 307
227 Next moment Then again 308
232 reading up reading up on 316
232 sit two sit for two 315
233 ever sat ever taken 317
234 second from last second to last 318
278 mad insane 37
316 at weekends on weekends 433
316 in one go in one gulp 433
317 check Ì'm happy check if Ì'm happy 435
Book 4: Harry Potter and the GobIet of Fire
UK Edition US Edition
Page Word or Phrase Word or Phrase Page
11 windows either side of the windows on either side of the 6
5 Bulgaria have got Bulgaria has got 63
5 Harry was passionate about
Quidditch. He had played as Seeker
on the Gryffindor house Quidditch
team ever since his first year at
Hogwarts and owned a Firebolt,
one of the best racing brooms in the
world.
Harry had been on the Gryffindor House
Quidditch team ever since his first year at
Hogwarts and owned one of the best racing
brooms in the world, a Firebolt. Flying came
more naturally to Harry than anything else in
the magical world, and he played in the
position of Seeker on the Gryffindor House
team.
63
60 they had their pudding (home-made
strawberry ice-cream),
they had their homemade strawberry ice
cream,
63
63 Harry knew that Apparating was
very difficult; it meant disappearing
from one place and re-appearing
almost instantly in another
Harry knew that Apparating meant
disappearing from one place and reappearing
almost instantly in another, but had never
known any Hogwarts student to do it, and
understood that it was very difficult.
66
63 got your test passed your test 66
8 prevent them using prevent them from using 108
133 matron nurse 14
135 also 'lost,' also "travelling," "lost," 151
135 pointing at pointing to 151
13 sorting them into two. sorting them into two piles. 156
215 On excellent form Ìn excellent form 244
223 puddings desserts 253
228 at weekends on weekends 258
231 'What's she like?' "What is it with her?" 262
284 for one o'clock by one o'clock 324
336 'Now Potter. "Now that Potter. 385
353 brace braces 405
427 to bursting point to the bursting point 42
450 preventing Snape slipping away preventing Snape from slipping away 518
478 twenty-foot-high twenty feet high 551
4 Ìmpediment Jinx Ìmpediment Curse 574
534 revision research 615
53 on eighty-five points with eighty-five points 621
583 prise pry 671
623 biscuits cookies 718
1
The original book, published in the UK, was entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in reference to
the mythical substance that alchemists believed would transmute base metals into gold. When the American
publisher, Scholastic, brought the book out in the U.S., it changed the book's name to Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone in the belief that American children would be confused by the apparent reference to
philosophy.
Other changes reflect British terms which are largely unknown in the U.S. or which have more common
'equivalents.' For example on page 140 of the British edition of "Sorcerer's Stone" Harry and Ron are eating
crumpets, whereas on page 199 of the U.S. edition they are eating English muffins. Similarly, eating a "packet of
crisps" and carrying a "torch" from the British edition are converted to eating a "bag of [potato] chips" and
carrying a "flashlight."
Thanks to Henriikka Mustalahti for her January 2008 corrections to the original file!

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