British and American English Differences

Would you fancy that of London?
Would you fancy that of London?

The difference between American English and British English goes much farther than "You say Tomayto, I say Tomahto." The difference can be found in vocabulary, slang, sentence structure, syllabic emphasis, and even punctuation. As a speaker of American English (the Colorado version, which is, by the way, the only --ahem-- normal dialect of American English), and a reader of British English (my literary diet would be happy to survive on Austen, Lewis, Wodehouse, Sayers, and Chesterton), I have encountered a few hilarious contrasts between the speech of the chaps and the speech of the blokes.

Grey Jumpers
Grey Jumpers

British and American Vocabulary Differences

My sister and I wound our way down from the top of the Wallace Monument in Scotland and realized we had misplaced our traveling buddies: our grandmother and her sister. We had been giggling earlier that day with them about their outfits; they happened to be dressed identically in gray hoodies, blue jeans, with black shoulder bags slung over the same shoulder. The lady at the info desk said there were two ladies in grey jumpers who were asking about us, and she pointed to the tea shop. There we found our two "grey-jumpered" grandmothers! I found out later that if we would have asked her where two gray hoodie wearing women were, she might have pointed to the local gang headquarters instead. Hoodies and hoodlums are not a far cry apart in British English, though jumpers and sweatshirts mark the difference between casual and semi-formal in America. We should have known that she would have said "pinafore" if she meant what we call a jumper.

We also found that it was not polite to mention pants or knickers in public unless you don't mind discussing your undergarments. Rather, use the term "trousers," and no one will look at you sideways for that --though London's biggest athletic clothing store is called Lily Whites. (For you Brits, that's a quaint American term for what you call vests and pants). Hairstyles are another source of difference between British and American English. A woman at a London church once complemented me on my fringe. I was confused until she gestured to the bangs on the side of my forehead and again repeated "lovely fringe." It's no wonder they snicker when they hear Yankies refer to "bangs" as a hairstyle, because "bangers" are big, plump, breakfast link sausages.

It wasn't until my second week in London that I could finally muster up the courage to ask for the "toilet" (blushing) but it was the only way they would direct me to the restroom. Occasionally they would point me to the "first floor." I would make my way down the steep and narrow staircases (another London signature) to the ground floor. No restroom to be seen. Asking again where the --ahem-- women's toilet was, I was told it was "on the first floor." Turns out, the ground floor is not the first floor. Imagine that!

British "biscuits" are the American equivalent of sweet and cream-filled cookies. Squash in Great Britain is not necessarily a yellow, pear-shaped vegetable, but a concentrated "just add water" fruit drink that is popular for children's events, church potlucks, and picnics. Our equivalent (CoolAide? Fruity Iced Tea?) is nothing like the delicately colored, delicately sweetened squash of Great Britain.

Though we were on vacation when we travelled to England, we found out it was a holiday when we arrived. "What holiday?" we asked. "Your holiday!" was the answer. Our vacation.

Children in England are highly educated. Rather than just taking a math class, they take maths class. Double the smarts!

treehugger archives
treehugger archives

Different Phrases in British and American English

One morning I came down to breakfast and my friend welcomed me with a cheerful, "Are you all right?"

Surprised, I said, "Um, yes, I'm great! Why? Do I look like I'm sick or tired or something?"

"No, I was just asking if you are doing well this morning-- no reason."

I pressed her to explain further, and finally realized that her "Are you all right?" was the British equivalent of "How are you?" Grammatically analyzing the differences between these two questions, I realized that the American greeting was confusing, and is only understood when one takes the question "how" outside of it's usual definition. Usually "how?" is answered by an explanation of a procedure: how to do something, such as how to teach vocabulary,how to stitch, how to dress well, etc. "How are you?" should technically be answered with, "I am me because this is how I was created," or, "I am who I am because of this series of events in my life." Or, "How?" could be a quantative question such as, "How old are you?" or "How many do you need?" Under this definition, "How are you?" could be answered, "I'm 98.9% human," though that doesn't come close to answering the Americans' intended question. The British have it right, only we Americans take their question as an insult. "Are you all right?" and "Are you okay?" is a perfectly reasonable, answerable question for the occasion.

When driving, be sure to slow down for the sleeping policeman in the middle of the road! Don't worry, he's meant to be driven over (speed bumps in the USA). If you decide to walk instead, don't drop your candy wrappers and popsicle sticks onto the ground. Instead, throw them into the rubbish bin (what Americans call the trash can). The Tube (underground train in America) is also a great way to travel, if you can bear to be continually reminded to "Mind Your Head" when ducking through the doorway, and to "Mind the Gap" when stepping from the train to the platform.

A British man we were visiting told us that he was looking for a new job because he had "become redundant." In American English, that means he was laid off because there were too many people doing his job. Other fun phrases include queueing instead of standing in line and looking for the "Way Out" instead of the "Exit."

British Vs. American English Sentence Construction

British English tends to favor the passive voice (eg. Bill was kicked by Bob). American prefers the active voice (eg. Bob kicked Bill). British English uses more auxiliary verbs (to be, to have, to do), and American English uses more regular verbs, which express a particular action and distinguish between past and present tense more precisely. The Secret Life of the Pronoun, p. 165, explains: "Auxiliary verbs are associated with a passive voice and are frowned on in American English classes but celebrated in British English classes."

British vs American Spelling

Does British English just have more vowels than American English? What about that funny little "e" moved to the ends of words? Is British English more "French" in its spelling than American English is, which has adopted many Spanish words and Spanish spellings? You decide. The words on the left are British; the words on the right are American.

Aeroplane - Airplane

Aluminium - Aluminum

Centre- Center

Colour - Color

Cheque - Check

Grey - Gray

Metre - Meter

Mould - Mold

Polystyrene - Styrofoam

Railway - Railroad

Spelt - Spelled

Theatre - Theater

Webster's American English Dictionary

I've often wondered how American's made the switch from honour to honor, colour to color, and centre to center. Did those extra vowels just fall off our words as soon as we set foot on Plimoth rock? No, it was actually a masterly decision on the part of Noah Webster, and American colonial, who wanted America to have its own independent language, and created the most popular dictionary in the history of the world. Webster cut the letter "u" out of many words that had an "ou" inside (flavour, colour, honour). He also changed musick to music and centre to center. He also added in some colloquial American words that the British would have never heard of: skunk, and hickory (both derived from popular sayings). It's easy to see the brand-new character of America shine through these words. They are more abrupt and to the point, less fussy, and they get down to business. But lest you think American English is all about simplicity, let me tell you that Webster spent years pouring over English dictionaries, and while he was at that, he learned 26 languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit.

English Differences: Punctuation

British punctuation has a habit of making delightful sense out of the English sentence. An American period is a British full stop (don't ask what a partial stop is, though, because I don't think they'll say it's the comma). And instead of the American parenthesis, they have brackets, which are not what we call brackets. However, punctuation lore of the Anglo Saxon goes deeper than just calling marks by different names.

The Oxford Comma (more info in the link) is a handy little fellow because he separates items in a list after the last "and." For example, the Oxford Comma prevents this little slip-up:

Dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

by adding this remarkable separation:

Dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.

Another helpful punctuation difference is in the placement of the final quote marks after a "quoted" word. Americans place the quote marks after the quoted word and its accompanying punctuation, like this:

They used that word, "lovely," like it didn't even need dusting off!

However, the British must have realized that this would occasionally become an inconvenience, as they don't always want to quote punctuation along with the word in question, so they add their punctuation after the final quote mark, like this:

Did you hear that American telephone operator? He said to press "the pound sign", though certainly he must know that not even British mobiles have pound signs on them!

A lovely accent...

Americans "go crazy" over an authentic British accent (do Brits go "mad" over an American accent?), but nothing beats hearing a little British boy chant a familiar singsong tune with a little British twist of his own! My sister and I were walking along a pathway at Buckingham Palace behind a mother and her little boy. The boy was singing "Jingle bells, Jingle bells..." and at the very point where he was about to sing "Santa smells!" he got a warning look from his mother. The song suddenly turned into "Santa smells --lovely!"

Fancy that of London!

© 2010 Jane Grey

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Comments 52 comments

"Quill" 6 years ago

It is all a play of words when we come to the understanding of the real meaning...smiles...well written and informative.

Blessings


SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA

Great hub! Someone recently pointed out a spelling error on one of my webs. I spelled 'spelled' as 'spelt' - apparently it doesn't exist! Aha - spelt is actually acceptable in England, but little know in the US - me being English and all knew that..so I had spelt 'spelt' correctly! It was ironic in a way as it was in a section in one of my 'helpful' hubs dedicated to 'Speeling and Grandma'!!!!

Anyways - suffice to say that being an Englishman in the USA I know exactly what you're talking about - and I won't get worried when you say pants or trousers!!!

As for squash (which also happens to be a sport!) - yep it's great - I used to drink Kia'ora in England - it was superb - I've just found Lemon and Orange Barley water over here in the US - the Lemon Barley Water is a bit like Lemonade (US version) - umm the Lemonade in England (Lemonaide) is more like sprite....OK so I'm confused now!


carolf profile image

carolf 6 years ago from UK

Great hub Jane! Nice to see it from the other 'side'!


Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA

Love it as always! So many great things to love about that island! though the funny part for me is that I watch and read so many old-fashioned films and novels that I still want to converse in that same way. Then the brits really look at me strange. :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hiya, even I didn't know about some of the spellings etc, and me being English! I love the American accent, and actually stopped a lady to chat the other day, because she was American! The one thing that always makes me laugh about American films that are supposed to be set in England, is the fact that they always show, red buses, policemen with tall hats riding on bycicles and everybody always speaks very posh! oh, and there are hardly any cars on the roads! I think the producers of the films must go and get out their collection of 1950-60s films and copy that! London is in fact exactly like America, no bobbys (policemen) on bycicles, loads of traffic, and the accents range from common, ha ha to posh to foreign. Ah well, I wish it was like those old films, maybe I could get a taxi, I mean cab, quicker! thanks this was great. cheers nell


BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 6 years ago from USA

Just loved your hub.I love to sit and listen to my friends from England talk.Just like every part of America has different words for things so do English people.My oldest child like guessing what part of England someone grew up in.

This was a good subject.


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

This was lovely...and I had a sister in law that was English. She was a doll and yes I enjoyed hearing her speak. Thanks for much for sharing this hub with us.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Dear Quill,

You're right, so much of understanding real meaning is just play! English really is a living language, meaning new words are born and old ones die every day.

Thanks for reading!

Jane


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

SimeyC,

What a wealth of information you are! And funny, too-- I was laughing at your speeling, and "spelt" is officially added to my list of spelting/spelling words. I have had troubles with that too, even though I should know my own country's way of spelling. I actually read equal amounts of British and American writings, and for awhile, I couldn't remember which was "correct" in the US.

So squash is a sport, hm? I think that would be a great term for America's tackle Football. Squash. I miss that drink; I'll have to check out the Lemon and Orange Barley water you recommended. Thanks for the info!

It has been delightful talking with you!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Thanks for coming over, Carolf! I loved your hub from the British side of the pond.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Kendall,

I know what you mean! By the end of my two weeks in London, I was saying "Sworry" instead of "Sorry" every time I bumped into someone. Of course, the vocabulary has changed so much since the Regency Era, so I'm sure I got some strange looks for that, too!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Nell,

That's so cute, you actually stopped an American to talk to her for her accent! I'll bet she was delighted to hear your accent as well. Well I'm glad we can entertain you. :) Have you heard the deep South accent, like from Texas or Mississippi or Alabama? It has a lovely carmel-colored drawl and it moves smoothly and slowly over the syllables.

I know those policemen on bicycles! They're the ones whose hats you all throw rocks and dinner rolls at, right? Just kidding... I know the American films haven't embraced the changing modern culture of London, but that city still is different and lovable enough to admire!

I have a lot more to learn, it sounds like: I have no idea what the difference is between common and posh (it all sounds posh to me!), and I've never heard of ha ha!

So fun to hear from you about your culture! Thanks for all your interesting insights!

Jane


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

BJBenson, So do I! I think I could be occupied for hours on this subject. Do you live in England? I'm impressed that your son can identify the different parts of the UK's accents!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

lctodd1947,

What a treat that must have been, to talk to your sister-in-law. A "doll," yes, I think that describes the sweetness of English ladies perfectly! I always loved dear Miss Marple from Agatha Christie's novels. She was a doll too!


Hungry-n-Foolish profile image

Hungry-n-Foolish 6 years ago

it was one of those hubs, which have been researched thoroughly. Nice reading. And keep it up! Guess what.. I am your fan already!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Thank you for being my fan, Hungry-n-Foolish! I really appreciate that. You're right, it did take a lot of research, because I didn't remember as much as I thought I did about particular spellings and usages. Too long in the US and not enough times across the pond is my problem. I'll just have to visit England more often to stay abreast of our changing language.

Cheerio!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

LOL We have a lot in common. Enjoyed your Hub! Cheers!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

We certainly do, Green Lotus! I'm glad we could share a laugh together.

Jane


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

This is a very interesting hub and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't know about some of the differences in spelling either. Cheerio!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Pamela99,

So glad you enjoyed it! I had a lot of fun putting it all together. Language is fascinating and ever-changing, though we philologists do our best to try to hold it in place! Cheers to you as well.


cbris52 profile image

cbris52 6 years ago

Very informative and I loved your writing style. I'll be sure and stay away from the "hoodies"!


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

You may laugh about "hoodies" but they are banned in most schools for teenagers because of the association with violence but more probably because the CCTV cant picture who is who- as a mother It makes sense for a child to wear a hood, but hey........ big brother knows best

your article was a giggle though!!!pathway= pavement!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Case1Worker, I'm amazed that schools actually ban hoodies! True character is learned not so much through the appropriate clothing, but through working on the hearts and minds of children through mentoring and a loving relationship. The Christian school where I work sells hoodies with the school's logo on the front, but forbids skirts above knee-length as well as tattooing and hair dye. Very interesting differences!


missmaudie profile image

missmaudie 6 years ago from Brittany, France

Great hub! Reminds me of something that happened to me,from the other side as it were. When I was a child my father was in the RAF and we spent some time on a USAF camp in Norfolk (the UK one). An American family moved in next door and had children about the same age as me and my sister so they came to make friends. One of the girls said to me that I had nice pants. Well!!!!!! I was mortified! How could she see my pants, and if she could how rude of her to comment on them! Of course she was commenting on the rather garish bright green cord trousers I was wearing but I didn't know it at the time. And years later I was rather smug because I was the only one in the class who knew what bangs were when we were reading To Kill a Mockingbird.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Oh I love your story, Miss Maudie! I can imagine how mortifying that would be, especially as a little girl unfamiliar with Yankee English. To Kill a Mockingbird was a bit of a culture shock for me, as I don't live in the deep South. I can only imagine that there must have been many more unfamiliar things in that book that just "bangs!" I loved how you used the words "rather," and "garish," and "smug." Sounds very British!


missmaudie profile image

missmaudie 6 years ago from Brittany, France

Are 'smug', 'rather' and 'garish' very English then? I honestly had no idea! I think there are lots of things we say differently, the word 'momentarily' being one of them. In English English it means for a very short time, eg. 'I thought about it momentarily but then decided not to', but in American English it means in a minute, eg 'we'll being landing momentarily', is that right?

I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. In fact our two cats, Scout and Miss Maudie (that's me!) are named from it. Miss Maudie only plays a bit part but when I opened the book it fell open on the page that mentions her.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Yes, they are rather British-sounding. In fact, I can never imagine anyone saying those words without a British accent or me reading it in a British-writ book. "Lovely" is also rarely used unless someone wants to sound proper or is perhaps a woman from an older generation.

Momentarily should only be used in the sense of "a very short time," as you used it, and American grammarians and usage fanatics are always trying to get people to stop using momentarily as a replacement for "in a moment." We Americans tend to use sloppy English.

I love that you named your cats after literary characters! That's so very special. Do their personalities match Scout and Miss Maudie from the book?


missmaudie profile image

missmaudie 6 years ago from Brittany, France

I use 'lovely' probably more than I should - there are lots of other words you can used instead after all. Thanks for clearing up 'momentarily' for me, although I can assure you that English people use very sloppy English too.

Scout cat is definitely a tom boy, climbing trees, poking her head down holes etc. Miss Maudie is much more genteel. She should have been called Calpurnia though because she is black and fat which is always how I envisaged Calpurnia to be! She also has very short legs which tend to make her look like a ball, but she has a lovely character (you can see them on my Flickr page listed on my profile if you want).

I have a friend who named her cat Perdita (or Purrdita) which I thought was very clever.

My real English/American bug bear is 'disorientated'. I know that in America you say 'disoriented' but for some reason it annoys me intensely when I hear English people say it. Also the word 'lieutenant' which in England we pronounce 'leftenant', that annoys me too! I think we hear it so much in American films now that lots of English people aren't aware of the 'proper' English pronounciation!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Disorientated?! Now that is a new one for me. I'll have to start using that. :) I agree with you about the sad state of language due to movies and media. Words and usage is all blurring together as our languages fuse and mingle-- to everyone's disadvantage.

Thanks for introducing me to your kitties! They sound like loads of fun. And please, please don't use "lovely" any less than you do. I love it!

Jane


John Hewitt jr profile image

John Hewitt jr 5 years ago

Love the Hub. Being a English guy living in America i totally understand both sides of the coin. The differences are amazing and sometimes that can get us Brits living in America into trouble over here lol. I will be following this with alot of interest.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 5 years ago from Oregon Author

John jr., It does get hilarious sometimes! I'm curious to know if there are any differences you have noticed that I haven't included. How long have you been living in the US, and has it gotten easier to understand our funny lingo over time? Thanks for stopping by. :)


Stefanie 5 years ago

Spelt is a type of flour in English. I live on the South Coast of England and we do have policeman on bicycles although we tend to call them coppers not bobby's and they wear safety helmets not the old fashioned pointed ones. We also use "sorry" if have not quite heard what someone else has said, along with "pardon" or "I beg your pardon". The English never use the American equivilent "excuse me" in that context' we say it when we are politely asking somebody to move out of our way.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 5 years ago from Oregon Author

Stefanie,

I thought the same thing about "spelt" until someone pointed it out to me as being British. Perhaps it is an older English form of the word "spelled" that you no longer use? Coppers... that sounds very quaint to me. Perhaps I will use it for our mall "cops" (the only policemen that go around on bicycles over here). Behave yourself; a copper is watching! :)

I have heard "sorry" from English people in the sense that you used it, and now that I think about it, "excuse me" really does sound strange when it should be "excuse you-- you weren't speaking up!" I have noticed that "sorry" often comes in at strange times when someone who has learned English as a second language really means "excuse me." For example, at restaurants in Germany, Austria, and Italy, nearly every waiter that was placing a hot plate on our tables said "sorry" instead of "excuse me" or "look out!"


Me 4 years ago

I liked this, some things I really didn't know about America...

I would say the pinafore thing is a bit confusing though - I'd make the same distinction between a jumper and a hoodie as I think you would - a pinafore was a little dress with buttons I wore in primary (elementary :P) school and biscuits are the same as cookies to me..but that one's down to all the American TV.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Hello "Me," visiting with someone from a foreign country is always an eye-opener! I was surprised by how many differences there were when I visited the UK. So that's a fun fact about the pinafore--I would have thought a pinafore was a little girl's ruffled apron!

Jane


TT 4 years ago

I really enjoyed reading all the above, thank you Jane. What brought me here was trying to find if "momentarily" is used correctly here in the US, unfortunately it annoys me!! I am someone not born in the UK, with English as a second language (but grew up in the UK and consider London home) and moved over here 4 years ago. I wanted to prove to my husband "momentarily" was used too much and in the wrong way over here. One word I want to add is the use of minced meat for ground meat!! I remember one time trying to explain to a butcher/meat shop what I meant by minced meat (ground meat here in the US), it was such drama!! I am also trying to adopt the American way (like period and not full stop) so I can help my son with his homework !Thanks again and I really enjoyed reading your hub and comments!!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

TT,

"Momentarily" is a pet peeve of mine as well! Technically, is is an adverb, which means it should be used as such: "I was detained momentarily" and "They momentarily paused..." etc. However, it is often incorrectly used as an adjective, where "for a moment" or "in a moment" should be used. "I will be with you momentarily" is used to mean "I will be with you in a moment" but technically means "I will be with you for a short while," (or "in the span of a few moments)."

Ah, so minced meat and ground meat are one in the same! I have often seen "minced" in British literature, and always wondered if it was a finer way of grinding or chopping. Now I now! I can imagine the drama of trying to explain that to a butcher. Few people realize that there is actually quite a difference between American English and British English-- just enough to frustrate each other, but not enough to study it like a "foreign language." Thanks for stopping by!

Jane


Robin profile image

Robin 4 years ago from San Francisco

Intriguing Hub! Our good friends and neighbors are British and we are always commenting on the language differences. The best is when our girls pretend to have British accents while they play. It's amazing the ear that they have at such a young age!


ryankett 4 years ago

Well this is a great hub, but I do feel the need to comment on this bit:

"What about that funny little "e" moved to the ends of words?"

Purely because we haven't moved that e anywhere, you moved it away from the end ;)


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Robin, it must be fun to observe your children picking up on the accent! You must really enjoy having British neighbors-- all the British people I know are just lovely!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Ryankett,

Touche! Americans are always trying to speed things up-- no "e" needed? "E" gone. Problem solved!

I must say, though, that I personally like the "e." It's classy, and gives a finality to the end of a word.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma

Great story. I came here because I wrote a similar article and yours came up in the side bar so I thought I'd have a look. Glad I did, very enjoyable.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Jane Grey, thank you for this great information. Now Indians are adopting American English instead of traditional British English.


American_Choices profile image

American_Choices 4 years ago from USA

Jane Grey,

We have a trip planned and I have bookmarked this.

The backstory is America needed to be different so Americans - we Americans created the differences. I don't believe the speed up but the burning desire for separation long ago.

I believe as the world gets smaller we will see a return to the British spelling here in the United States.

Excellent!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Thanks for your visit, Pamela! I just hopped over to your profile to try to find your article and didn't see it. Could you tell me what it's called?


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Jainismus, that is fascinating to hear, and even though I love American English, I think we have somewhat "cheapened" and sped up British English, thus losing much of the beauty of it.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

You make an interesting prediction, American_Choices, about the British spelling returning to the US. First, though, I think the world is universally learning English as their second language because of the Americans, not the British. Thus, I think that as the world "gets smaller" in your terms, and as English continues to globalize, I think it will be American English that becomes the norm. Just a comment before yours, a man from India said that Indians are learning American English now-- not British English.


annart profile image

annart 4 years ago from SW England

Good hub and amusing. By the way, the traditional British biscuit is not cream-filled though some now are. It's more the flat, crispy 'cookie', maybe with choc chips or nuts, or the digestive or shortbread. Filled ones are usually referred to as 'filled' biscuits or 'cream' biscuits. Everyone I know still says 'How are you?' and it's accepted as more polite generally, though the youngsters do tend more towards 'All right?' on its own. American English spellings, by the way, are much more logical, though I don't like the way everyone puts 'ise' on the end of a word as a matter of course; there's usually already a legitimate English word to mean the same thing! Language evolves, of course, but its richness is important, I feel.


Jamie 4 years ago

I don't know if anyone's said this already but what you put in the bin is:

Sweetie wrappers and lollysticks! (In England)

Hope you enjoyed your trip! (that's another one right there, meaning "your visit")


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 4 years ago from Oregon Author

Annart, Thanks for your great comments! I didn't realize that biscuits weren't actually cream-filled. I'll have to change that. Now, you used another word I'm not familiar with-- and it sounds medicinal. :) What's a "digestive"?

So, "How are you?" is more formal than "All right?" Fascinating!

Perhaps American spelling is more logical; but I think having an "e" on the end of things us just lovely: "metre" "theatre" "creme"...


ThoughtMonkey profile image

ThoughtMonkey 4 years ago from United Kingdon

I am knew to hubpages and that is the best one I have read yet. Not that you need my praise but well done.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

Having spent some weeks in various parts of the United Kingdom, I'm impressed with how much more you got into the language differences than I managed to. I was more impressed with the fact that if I purchased an "ice cold" soda, it would likely be little cooler than room temperature. I enjoyed reading this.

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