On this first day of fall/autumn, we examine the origins of both words and find out which is the most widely used.
(See below for a vocabulary builder.)
I grew up in Canada and always called the season between summer and winter, 'fall.' Now that I live in Europe, I seem to favour and use 'autumn' more.
Both names are widely-used. Let's look at their origins before we find out whether one word is preferred over the other.
Some say that fall is the North American word for the season, but the term actually originated in or before the 16th century, which was before the development of North American English. I've read that people used to call the season 'fall of the leaf' and 'fall of the year,' before it was shortened to the word fall sometime in the 17th century. So, even though fall is widely used in Canada and the U.S., its roots go back too far for it to have North American origins.
Let's look at the word autumn now. Autumn came to English from the French word automne in the 15th or 16th century and became more widely-used in the 18th century. Over time, fall became archaic and autumn became the preferred word for the British English speakers.
Quick summary: Autumn is most common in British English and Fall is the preferred word in North America, but both words can be used interchangeably and understood by any native English speaker. Australian English also prefers the word Autumn.
Comment below and let us know which word you use/prefer.
Adapted from: http://grammarist.com/usage/autumn-fall/
Favour - prefer; use more than the other
Origins - the point or place where something begins.
Roots - first known starting point; origin
Widely-used - popular, common
Archaic - old-fashioned, obsolete, out of date
Preferred - to set or hold before or above other persons or things; like better, choose rather than
Interchangeable - Capable of being used in the place of one another,
Is there any other vocabulary you're usure of? Please comment below and let us know so we can clear up any confusion.
About Your English Coach
Alannah is a CELTA certified English language teacher from Canada who lives in Italy with her wonderful husband. She's been teaching English for 11 years and has taught many different nationalities in both Canada and Italy.