It’s horsepower, not PS

During a recent chat over lunch, I heard two non-native speakers discuss the power of car engines, and one of them used the expression

How many PS does the car have?

This is a false friend originating from the German Pferdestärke, which is often abbreviated as PS. The proper English expression would be

How much horsepower does the car have?

or, slightly more colloquial,

How many horses does your car have?

You can still use PS at the end of your letters and emails though ;-).


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