TirzahLaughs wrote: Dill Carver wrote:
My question is about cans/tins. I’m from the UK but writing some lines featuring a North American male, from Boston.
In terms of tinned (or canned) food or drink would he say;
‘A can of Coke.’ or ‘A tin of Coke.’ ‘Tinned food.’ or ‘Canned food.’ ‘can-opener’ or ‘tin-opener’ or would it even matter i.e. are the two expressions completely interchangeable, neither sounding alien to the American ear?
Thanks in advance, Dill.
In the US? I have never heard any one use the word tin to refer to cans.
Tin cans as a description—accurate description, I might add—of cans sealed to protect the contents was used up until about the time I graduated from high school (1961).
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_can says it best:
No cans currently in wide use are composed primarily or wholly of tin; that term rather reflects the nearly exclusive use in cans, until the second half of the 20th century, of tinplate steel which combined the physical strength and relatively low price of steel with the corrosion resistance of tin. Depending on the contents and available coatings. Tin-free steel is also used.
After I graduated from high school, I study metallurgical engineering in college. During the 1960s my learned professors made a big thing—in front of everybody in class, no less—of correcting me for calling them tin cans. In my education as a Metallurgical Engineer, I can rightfully say, as Mark Twain so wisely said, "Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned."
However, I am the poster child for what Mark Twain also wisely said—Everything has its limit—iron ore cannot be educated into gold.—about those who don't unlearn their metallurgy fast enough: For years after the 1960s, long after tin cans went out of use, the highest compliment I could pay a pretty woman was "I'd pay 5 quid to listen to her piss in a tin can over the telephone."
Of course, it was said about the part of Appalachia I came from that we spoke the purest Elizabethan English still being spoken in the world. So there was that.