Today I gave a lesson to a student who already has the book English Grammar in Use from Cambridge. This book is in UK English. In my bag, I had Grammar in Use - Intermediate, also from Cambridge. It is the US version of the other book. The grammar exercises were almost completely the same, so it was easy for us to work together, but it was interesting to see what had been changed for the US.
The changes you would expect were there: “To the cinema” was changed to “to the movies”, etc. The strange thing to me, though was how many things that didn’t have to change were changed. “Examination” for the UK was replaced with “exam” for the US, even though we also say “examination”. Another strange thing was that people’s names changed for seemingly no reason. The name Sharon was replaced with Debbie, even though there are plenty of Sharons in the US. The strangest one was when they replaced the man’s name Don with Dave. There are just as many Dons in the US as there are Daves. Now, if there were someone named Nigel or Liam in the UK book, I would definitely change him to Don or Dave, but why change Don to Dave?
I’m not criticizing either book. They’re both really excellent. I just think it’s odd that they changed names and words that are perfectly normal for us. Maybe it was just based on some person’s taste.