Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: table, v.t.

“Table” has nearly opposite senses in American English and British English. By “tabling” an item, Americans mean postponing discussion for a later time, while Britons mean putting forward for immediate discussion. Thus Americans might misunderstand the following sentences: o “MPs from both sides of the Commons will tomorrow table parliamentary questions demanding to know what official action has been taken to uncover the facts.” John Furbisher & Richard Caseby, “‘God’s Policeman’ Keeps Head Down as Bricks Fly,” Sunday Times (London), 10 June 1990, § 1, at 4. o “Ian Gibson, the Labour MP for Norwich North, warned that colleagues would table Commons motions condemning the pay increase at a time when Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, was demanding pay restraint from the public sector workers.” Colin Brown, “Lord Irvine Gives Up His Extra £22,000 a Year,” Sunday Telegraph, 9 Feb. 2003, at 1. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Whatever be the obscurities, whatever the intricacies of the argument, the neatness of the fabric must not suffer, or the artist has been proved unequal to his design.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Learning to Write 203 (1888; repr. 1920).
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