American ok, british not

for british I need to type british man or british person, but american is ok and american man wrong
wut

6 Likes

“American” can refer to both the nationality and a person of said nationality
“British” refers solely to the nationality, not to a person of said nationality

Or, in other words, you can call someone “an American” but you can’t call someone “a British”. That’s why “British” is not accepted for イギリス人. I’d say “American person” and such should be accepted for アメリカ人 though.

26 Likes

“Brit” or “Briton” is a person who is British.

I wonder if WaniKani accepts Brit…

I do idly wonder if there’s dialectical differences, though. I have heard people refer to “a Chinese” or “a Japanese”, though I never would…

16 Likes

Never really thought about it before, but you can refer to people as british as a plural noun, otherwise it’s used as an adjective.

“The British” works, but “a british” doesn’t.


18 Likes

I’ve heard those kinds of things too, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it from native speakers. I’m not sure though…

Yes, you can use descriptors for groups as adjectival nouns - think also “the poor”, “the ill”, “the tall”, “the disabled”, etc. but not “a poor”, “an ill” and so on.

I don’t rightly know why that does work for groups but not individuals, other than it would make too much sense and therefore this absolute mess of a language doesn’t allow it. Though I guess in the case of individuals you just leave off the article - “he’s tall” rather than “he’s a tall” (unless you want to sound like Mario)

9 Likes

you got your answers there. i get caught with the same thing for french because i’m too lazy to type french person.

add a synonym if it bugs you but the others are correct in saying british is not a noun. being lazy as i mentioned, i just type brit hehe. maybe i should enter frog as a synonym for french person. that’s much shorter :wink:

note: i can make this bad joke cos i’m kinda french :wink:

8 Likes

i would say only Brit since Briton refers to Great Briton again

1 Like

I do that 100%, just because that’s how it works in french. Didn’t know it was wrong in english…

5 Likes

You can’t say “a British” because British is an adjective, but not a proper noun. You can say a Briton or a Brit, which are the proper noun variations of British.

Btw, while probably not applicable to everything, nationalities that end in -i or -an (Brazilian, American, Italian, etc) can be used both as proper nouns and adjectives (A Brazilian, the Brazilian people, Brazilian pizza).

-ese, -ish, -ch terminations usually can’t be used as proper nouns (A Portuguese/British/French is incorrect).

8 Likes

Even when you can use it as a proper noun, though, it can and oftentimes does come off as very rude.

4 Likes

I think you’re mixing up Briton (a British person) and Britain (as in Great Britain)

Honestly seeing all this next to each other it’s amazing anyone manages to learn English at all :joy: It really does seem needlessly confusing.

Yeah, I think the only case in which it’s usually safe to do so is American, but it’s all context-dependent of course. If you’re not sure, it’s best to avoid referring to people by their nationality alone.

9 Likes

That’d be “Great Britain”. “Briton” with the O always refers to the people, never the island.

(“Breton” meanwhile, refers to the inhabitants of Brittany, which is in France.)

12 Likes

I wonder if WaniKani accepts Brit…

It does! That’s what I type every time.

7 Likes

I think it only works for plurals because you’re referring to an archetype, kind of like when “man” means humanity. Not sure, though.

To be fair, many Bretons were ancestrally Britons

4 Likes

I’ve heard it from native speakers, but almost exclusively older folks who chose to forego school to work on the farms in the rural state I grew up in, so not anyone I would be taking grammar lessons from.

While technically correct, “a Brazilian” conjures to mind something rather different than a Brazilian person. :stuck_out_tongue:

5 Likes

:pensive: what did brazilians do to you guys to deserve this…

4 Likes

I’m not positive, but I think that the procedure in question originated in Brazil, and Americans are notoriously lazy with language, so it got truncated down to “a Brazilian.”

Of course, I’ve heard Canadians use the term, too, but Canada likes to borrow from America a lot, in general (and vice-versa). :man_shrugging:

3 Likes

The elephant in the room is that the Japanese word for British effectively conflates England with Britain. Not sure what Scottish and Welsh learners of Japanese think of that.

9 Likes

How many people is a brazillion?

6 Likes