According to Cambridge Dictionary, "accommodation" can have the sense of 'a special arrangement that is made for a person or group that has different needs to others' – but, according to that same dictionary, this use is typically American. Now I'm wondering to what extent this is true – don't speakers of BrE use "accommodation" in this sense, and if not, what do you use instead; for instance, what would you call a Letter of Accommodation in BrE?

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    Compare the prevalence figures for come to an accommodation in British English and American English. You'll see that Brits are twice as likely to use that particular form of words.... Apr 7, 2023 at 23:25
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    ...and Letter of Accommodation looks especially "quaint" to me with the new trend to capitalize it (even the Victorians with their propensity for capitalizing Important Words didn't usually do it for that one). Apr 7, 2023 at 23:31
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    We'd call it American paprerwork Apr 7, 2023 at 23:41
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    @FumbleFingers Ok – thanks for clearing this up! :)
    – Mooshi
    Apr 7, 2023 at 23:47
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    There is a thing in Britain, an EHCP, which is a Education and Health Care Plan, for children and young adults (up to 25) specifying their need and requiring that institutions take certain steps to meet those needs. The is analogous document in the law in England (and I think Scotland too) @FumbleFingers is wrong. We attach great importance to such pieces of paper, because Ofsted will check.
    – James K
    Apr 8, 2023 at 3:23

1 Answer 1


I tend to disagree with the Cambridge dictionary in marking this as exclusively American. I can find examples of this sense used in British writing:

[Pregnancy and maternity discrimination] takes many forms, including [...] refusing to offer reasonable accommodations to help expectant mothers do their jobs. As a pregnant woman or new mum, you must understand your rights ... (source)

Note the British "mum" in this example.

A LOA is the name of a legal document. It is defined in US law. The equivalent in English law would be the EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan) which was previously (before 2014) called a "Statement of Special Educational Needs" - resulting in the rather ugly expression "statemented". Note that these are legal terms and so jurisdiction matters. The law changed in 2014, but the new law only applies to England, not to Wales (which continues to have Statements, not EHCPs) and Scotland is different again, since it has a completely separate education and legal system.

Both Letter of Accommodation and Education and Health Care Plan are proper nouns, and so fixed. You don't adapt proper nouns to dialect.

If you are in another country, the usual approach is to use the name of the document untranslated, with a literal translation for convenience (Eg "Koseki Tohon (family register)" for the legal document in Japan). If you are in a country in which there is no such document, but this is just an informal set of suggests for how to accommodate someone, you can just use descriptive language. This document would likely take the form of a "list" so:

I'll send you a list of the accommodations you should make to support this disabled person.

  • Thank you so much, James!! I didn't realise that LOA is in itself a legal document – I certainly can't use that then... Nor can I use EHCP, for the same reason. I found that the University of Edinburgh (ed.ac.uk/student-disability-service/students/factsheets/… ) uses "Schedule of Adjustments" for exactly the kind of document I mean: "To ensure you receive the support you require, we need to communicate information regarding your requirements to staff across the University. We do this by creating Schedule of Adjustments (SoA). ... A SoA is an electronic ...
    – Mooshi
    Apr 8, 2023 at 22:04
  • ... [cont.] document that lists the adjustments that the Student Disability Service recommend should be made for you by the University e.g. extra time in exams, copies of lecture slides etc." Like I said, this is exactly what I'm after. I haven't found this anywhere else except at the University of Edinburgh though, so I'm wondering if there is another name that is more commonly used for this kind of document?
    – Mooshi
    Apr 8, 2023 at 22:05
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    Edinburgh is Scotland, that's a whole different country! The names of things will be different in a different system like Scotland's system. Probably SoA is the name in the Scottish system. I would expect an EHCP to indicate things like "extra time" or "copies of slides"
    – James K
    Apr 8, 2023 at 22:57
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    You can just use descriptive language. "A list of the accommodations you should make".
    – James K
    Apr 9, 2023 at 8:00
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    Honestly, no I don't see the problem. If you are translating something, then just use the literal translation, or even the untranslated text (with translation gloss like the koseki example) Or give a longer description on the first use of the term and then a short form like "list of accommodations" on each subsequent use. You can't have this both ways! either it is an official legal document, or it is something informal. Either the person must make these accommodations by law, or it is merely something they ought to do.
    – James K
    Apr 9, 2023 at 20:51

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