Transport vs. transportation

Where Americans use transportation, Britons generally prefer transport. In American English, transport is only a verb (with rare exceptions). So where Americans say public transportation, transportation commissioner, and air transportation, Britons say public transport, transport commissioner, and air transport. Neither transport nor transportation is right or wrong; they’re just different ways of saying the same thing.

Canadians use both transport and transportation, though the latter has the edge. Australians favor transport.


But regional transportation officials, eager to find out for sure, on Wednesday commissioned a nine-county poll to gauge voter support for a gas tax. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Campaigners say they have a letter by the transport secretary which shows he is keen to see the barriers installed. [BBC]

Cuba’s capital, Havana, has good public safety and terrible public transportation. [NPR (U.S.)]

It’s a story familiar to everyone who uses public transport. [Guardian (U.K.)]

4 thoughts on “Transport vs. transportation”

  1. North American English is greatly influenced by Spanish.
    For example:
    Transportación – transportation
    Farmacia – farmacy
    Vacación – vacation
    Pantalones – pants
    Altercación – altercation

    It is the same with numbers.
    For example:
    The number 250
    British English – two hundred AND fifty
    American English – two hundred fifty (As in Spanish)

    If you want to learn English, I would strongly suggest British English.

    • Spanish is a beautiful language, John, but the Latin words in English mainly stem from 250 years of French-speaking Norman rule in Great Britain and the long legacy they left among the nobility and upper classes of the island of Albion.
      For example, in the Saxon language of the time, people used their Germanic-derived words for farm animals, like pig and cow, but when serving their Norman masters at table, they used the French words, boeuf/beef and porc.
      All the examples you cite, above, predated the colonization of America.
      Paz! :)

    • Yes, most of these words came to English via French, and even their spellings are identical is most cases to the French spellings. eg: Pharmacy(Pharmacie in French), and not like “farmacia” as in spanish.


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