(Closed) American English v British English

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

I will usually say a phone like is “engaged” instead of “busy.” I guess it’s because the former seems like a more accurate description of what’s happening. 

Post # 4
9142 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

pants = underwear

My FH teases me when I call his trousers pants because he lived in the UK for 5 years.

Post # 5
586 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I know this isn’t a talking difference but I noticed I write cancelled instead of canceled because of a coworker of mine. I thought he misspelled it but apparently not. It just looks so wrong with 1 “L”


Post # 7
4891 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

When I came back from a 2 week trip to England, I caught myself using ALL the “wrong” words. My parents looked at me like I was crazy. I still catch myself using one or two of them, like “bin” instead of “trash can”. It’s just so much shorter! I also spell grey the British way. I don’t know where I picked that one up. 

Post # 8
680 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, so I doubt I do it at all or enough to notice! But I’m on the grey side of the gray vs. grey thing. Does that count?

Post # 9
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

My husband is British so I speak half-American-English and half-British-English most days!

“pants” has another meaning in the UK. If you hear someone say “that movie was pants” that means “that movie was pretty bad, it totally sucked!”


The many uses of “piss” always cracks me up:

Pissed: drunk

Piss around: kind of wandering aimlessly

Pissing it down: raining really hard, raining buckets

Pisser: either a bar, or really angry.  

Piss off: either make someone really angry/be really angry, or go home.

You can go to the pisser, get pissed, be pissed that you’re pissed, then piss off back home. Just don’t piss around if it’s pissing it down!


Some of the more subtle ones that have found their way into my everyday language are telling a friend “I’ll nip around and pick you up”; using the word “posh” to refer to upscale things or rich neighborhoods; or referring myself as “knackered out” when I’m really tired, although I’ve been warned that, in some parts of the UK, “knackered out” is primarily used to describe the kind of tired one gets from having a marathon sex session. So I don’t say that one in front of his parents 🙂

The one that drives me nuts is the British use of “I don’t mind” as the answer to a multiple choice question.  “Hey sweetheart, would you like to have chicken for dinner tonight, or would you rather I cook the steak?”  “I don’t mind.”  Ummmm okay I get it, you’re telling me to pick one and either is fine by you, but can you just say that?!  I have no idea why it gets under my skin so badly, but it does, and it’s not just Darling Husband but pretty much every one of his friends or family that I’ve ever asked a question to!

Post # 10
511 posts
Busy bee

@Soon2BeeMrsG:  As I am British, I understand exactly what you’re saying. Even though I’ve been in Canada for a very long time, I still revert back to familiar sayings, like:

“Just going to the loo”

“That’s brilliant”

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist”

“Shut your gob”

And that’s not including the swear words… like twat, piss off, and my favourite, c*nt.


Post # 13
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Oh I will add, of all the things I’ve written on the ‘bee, I think my participation in this thread would be most likely to really upset my husband.  As a British man in the US, he gets a LOT of people who think they’re cute by trying to interject Britishisms into conversations.  I can see the smoke coming out of his ears anytime anyone says “wot,” “guv’nor,” or “blimey.”  He hates the constant attention to his accent and his lingo, as do his friends when they come visit. 

When we go to the UK, I *never* get anyone tossing around “y’all” or “duuuuuuuuude” and while I do get asked fairly often if I’m a yank, the conversation usually turns to where we live and what cities we’ve visited, and never into some weird voiceover session; with Americans talking to him, it seems like someone is always ready to break out the Monty Python impressions.  I think that’s a cultural thing because when we go together to Australia, we don’t get the impression treatment either. A general polite question about where we’re from, and that’s it.

Post # 15
511 posts
Busy bee

@Soon2BeeMrsG:  Are you referring to my favourite swear word? Because the answer is yes.

I don’t say it loudly in public or weave it into everyday conversation, but there’s nothing like a good, hard consonant expletive every once in a while.  If you own your use of a word, it removes the shame from it, at least for me….and let’s be honest, most North American women don’t like that one in particular.

Post # 16
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I don’t think I say anything british… but then again I’m born, raised, and living in Ohio 🙂 I do like British accents and phrasing, but I generally feel that unless there is a REASON to speak that way (actually british, spend a LOOOONG time living there, married to a brit, etc) it seems kind of poser-ish to just start talking that way. 

Although that might be informed by one girl I was friends with in school. She was born and raised in Ohio but she spoke with a british accent and used tons of british terms. Whenever asked about it she’d say something vague like “oh I had a lot of british friends when i lived overseas” (note: she did not live in britain). But she’d been back for years and it wasn’t just the phrasing it was the ACCENT. Finally one day she got pushed about it and said well her grandfather was british. But then it turned out that he was ENGLISH but had been born in the US, although he was raised by his aunt who was from Britain and was the only one in her family who had an accent. Her grandfather’s aunt, who she had never even met. What?! lol. So yea. To me it just seemed kinda lame/like a way to make yourself seem more interesting. When really? we are in Ohio dude give it up.

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