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US and UK English differences you need to know

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Let’s explore some of the fun and interesting differences between the two versions of English. So, get ready to expand your vocabulary and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!

Food and Drink

Let’s start with something everyone loves – food and drink. Did you know that in British English, a “biscuit” is what Americans call a “cookie”? And in American English, “chips” are what the British call “crisps”. If you’re in the UK and want to order a fizzy drink, ask for it by name – don’t say “soda” like you would in the US, you will get unflavoured fizzy water!


When it comes to clothing, there are also some interesting differences to note. In British English, a “jumper” is a sweater, while in American English, a “jumper” is a type of dress. While a vest is  sleeveless and worn over a shirt in the US, this is called a waistcoat in the UK and a vest is worn under a shirt.


Getting around can also lead to some vocabulary confusion. In British English, a “boot” is where you put your luggage in a car, while in American English, it’s called the “trunk”. If your car has broken down in the UK you lift the bonnet and in the US, the hood – but don’t worry wheels are wheels in both countries!

And if you’re in the US and need someone to drive you somewhere, you’ll want to ask for a “ride” or “lift”, while in the UK, you’ll ask for a “lift” or “give me a lift”.

Everyday Phrases

Finally, let’s look at some everyday phrases that may cause confusion. In the UK, if someone asks if you’re “alright”, they’re not asking if you’re okay – it’s just a common greeting! And if you’re in the US and someone tells you they’re going to “run errands”, they’re referring to the tasks they need to do throughout the day.

And, most importantly, if you’re in the US and looking for a bathroom, ask for the “restroom” – don’t say “toilet” like you would in the UK.

Navigating the Differences

So, how can you navigate these differences and expand your vocabulary? One fun way is to watch TV shows or movies from both countries and take note of the different vocabulary used. You could also try speaking with native speakers from both countries and asking them to teach you new words and phrases. And, of course, practice makes perfect – the more you use the language, the more natural it will become to you.

So, there you have it – some fun and interesting differences between British English and American English vocabulary. With a little practice and patience, you’ll soon be a pro at navigating the differences and impressing your friends with your knowledge.

Want to improve your English and make it sound more natural? Try our online English school, EC Live.

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