Friday, June 02, 2006

The headache strikes again!

Yesterday I had the headache. Not a headache, note. It sounds so much more painful to use the definite article, conjuring up not a random ailment but a pernicious, recurring disease bent on debilitating me.

I read a lot of historical romances set in England and the heroines occasionally get the headache. What I want to know is why they don't get a headache, which is what we say over here in North America. I'm hoping my British counterparts can enlighten me. When your head aches, what do you tell people? If writing for the British public, should I use the definite or indefinite article?

Thank God the headache has lessened or I'd be off to the hospital today. Or is it to hospital?

Stymied, once again, by British English! (You'd think I never lived there.)

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6 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie Bose said...

I don't know the rationale, but my fiance is British and he says he's "got headache." No article whatsoever. Bugs me, being a grammar warrior-queen : )

Hope your headaches well and truly gone now!

Stephanie

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I feel the same about Shields and King!! I did love Insomnia and Rose Madder, though...were those his later books??

3:53 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Maddening, isn't it? Does he also say he's poorly when he's feeling unwell and turn up his nose, disgusted, when you say sick instead? I quickly learned when living in England that to say you've been sick implies that you've been physically ill!

P.S. I think those books must be later ones because I haven't read them! I hear On Writing is worth picking up, however. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie.

4:05 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said...

Hope you're feeling better..either the the you or a you.

6:04 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

I've never heard anyone say 'I've got THE headache'! However, old romances used to talk about having THE vapours - maybe it's come from there? People would generally say 'I've got a headache', except northerners (which I guess Stephanie's fiance must be) who are a rum lot and often leave out articles - definite, indefinite and those hanging on the washing line that should never be seen by anyone outside the close family.

As for going to the hospital - people tend to say 'I'm going into hospital' when going in as a patient, or 'I'm going to the hospital' when visiting someone. Don't ask me why!

Hope this helps, Eva and doesn't give you another headache!

7:53 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Oh, Annie, you'd cure anybody's headache!

7:57 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

Thank you, Eva - I think.

11:01 am  

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