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Pavement Pedantry: programme vs. program

programme_programWe’re all programmed differently. Some (mainly us pavement pedants) are hard-wired to remember the difference between program and programme, while others quite frankly couldn’t give a monkey’s whisker.

As pedants, preaching from our pavement pulpit, we say ‘get with the programme programme’ people.

This side of the pond, on English language soil, we should be using the noun programme, when talking about music programmes, TV programmes and ‘getting with the programme‘. The only time we should be using the noun ‘program’ is refer to the world of IT, for example ‘Microsoft word is a computer program that does my head in’.

To make things even more confusing, program is also a verb, which should be used with a single ‘m’ and no ‘e’,  unless, and here’s where it gets tricky, you’re talking about the past tense of the verb which should be programmed.

So when you put it all together usage should go a little like this:

‘The IT Crowd was a top-notch TV programme, with characters working on computer programs which they would program, poorly.’

Simple right?


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