Tag Archives: British English

Word of the Day: maths or math?

What’s the short for the word “mathematics“? Is it “maths” or “math”? Is it a “maths exercise” or a “math exercise”? “A maths lesson” or a “math lesson”?

Well, dear reader, the answer is: both are Ok. It all depends on where you are.

American English uses the word “math” whereas if you speak British English you should use the form ” maths”. If you have travelled further and are in New Zealand or Australia, then you need to use  the word” maths”.
I work with kids. I tutor them in math (AmE)
I work with kids. I tutor them in maths (BrE)

♥Another thing that might surprise you is the fact that the word “mathematics” is uncountable and therefore takes a singular verb. It has no plural.

Math/ Maths is one of my favourite subjects

There are some other words in English that end in- s but are singular (eg. News, politics, billiards, measles, statistics…)

Politics is a complicated business
The unemployment statistics are worrying

♥Remember that we don’t use capital letters for school subjects but when  we talk about languages, as school subjects, then we need to use a capital letter.

She’s passed with flying colours her Spanish, history and maths exams

So,as you can see there is not just one correct shortened form for the word “mathematics”. If you learned  your English in the US, “math” is correct for you and if you learned it in the UK, then “maths” is the one you should use.

A word on Grammar: on the weekend or at the weekend?

No wonder we sometimes get confused with prepositions. They are crazy to learn and frustrating to teach, iiiif they can be taught !

So, the question of whether you say at the weekend or on the weekend is not a question of being grammatically correct  but of  speaking American English or British English, being at the weekend (BrE) and on the weekend (AmE).

So, both are correct. My only tip is that you stick to either American or British. Nobody says Alo (as in Santo Domingo) when answering the phone in Spain, although we understand it.