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tons of / loads of

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ticcota, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. ticcota Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hi,

    For example:
    1. "There were tons of people at the wedding."
    2. "There were loads of people at the wedding."

    Is the difference between tons of and loads of British/American English thing? Which one is used in American English?

    Thank you.
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    I suppose that both are used although using "tons/loads of" sounds a little strange when a speaker is describing a large number of people. I usually hear "tons/loads of something" being used to refer to things other than people: "They served tons of food at that party".

    "Tons of", "loads of", and "lots of" are all used to mean "many" or "much".
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  3. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I don't have a problem with either used for people:).
    I can't discern much of a difference between the meaning of "loads of" and "tonnes of" - both are equally colloquial for me.

    The only British/American difference I can think of is that we would write "tonnes".
     
  4. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I share owlman's feeling that tons/loads are not used frequently when referring to people (although it doesn't sound outrageous). I'd expect the exaggeration to be in the form of hundreds or thousands of people (for the wedding situation, for example) when a numeric hyperbole is called for :D
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I wouldn't, Tim. I think you've gone a bit European, there....:cool:
     
  6. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Is that the influence of the metric system percolating the language?
     
  7. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Oh really? I was always taught to write "tonne" - or at least I thought so, you've got me doubting now.

    Edit - From the wiki entry for "tonne" (my emphasis) -

    The Imperial and US customary units comparable to the tonne are both spelled ton in English, though they differ in mass. Pronunciation of tonne (the word used in the UK) and ton is usually identical, but is not too confusing unless accuracy is important as the tonne and UK long ton differ by only 1.6%.
     
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Just to comment further on the literal definitions:
    A ton to me, is 2,240 pounds (1,016 kg).
    I understand that in the US and Canada, a ton is 2,000 pounds (907 kg).

    The tonne or metric ton is 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb).

    When I'm not talking literally - when I simply mean a large quantity of - I say "tons of".
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  9. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    It is much further that that Loob.....

    The old Imperial units are in a dodgy state. :warning:

    A quote from Wikipedia "British law now defines each imperial unit in terms of the metric equivalent. The metric system is in official use within the United Kingdom; however, use of Imperial unit is widespread in many cases."

    GF..

    I didn't know that until today, but I am not surprised at all.
     
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    George, do you write "I've got tons of money" or "I've got tonnes of money"?
     
  11. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    Loob, unfortunately I do not have tons of money. :)

    GF..
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  12. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I have to admit, looking through google results that when "tonne" is used it seems to be literal. I've always written "tonnes of" even when figurative - maybe I'll have to change my ways!
     
  13. buttonsrtoys New Member

    English
    It may be just me, but I generally assign "tons of" and "loads of" as synonymous with "a variety of," rather than sheer quantity. So, I would say,

    "There were lots of people at the wedding."

    "We have loads of options."

    "We have tons of options."

    Though I'm sure lots of forumers will have loads of opinions on this. :)
     
  14. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Hello, Buttons. I agree with your interpretation as long as we're talking about a large variety. If I only had three options, I wouldn't call them a load or ton. To me, "loads of options" would mean "many options".
     
  15. Callisto

    Callisto New Member

    English, USA
    In my experience, yes. I'd expect an American to say "tons of" here.
     
  16. buttonsrtoys New Member

    English
    Owl, well said. So, to elaborate on my original post, I equate "loads of" and "tons of" with "a large variety of" rather than "a large quantity of."

    FWIW
     
  17. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    Well, it looks as though usages vary by individual.
    I would say or hear "loads/tons of people" without turning a hair.

    ticcota - bear in mind that these are slang terms so you would not use them in an academic work.
     

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