Browsing Tag

US vs UK


Observations Of England Through An American Lens

October 8, 2013

I have an ever-growing list of differences between our two countries. Perhaps you will find these interesting…

Custom Art by Off The Map Art
Custom Art by Off The Map Art

When an American refers to Washington, they are typically referring to the state on the West Coat. In England, ‘Washington’ is the US capital, which an American will simply call ’D.C.’

In England, a cat says ‘miaow’ but in the US, it is ‘meow’.

Homemade beans-on-toast is an English comfort food whereas Americans lean toward a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. These sandwiches do not occur in the other country.

In the 1970s and 1980s Nestle sold Texan in the UK, a popular nougat/toffee candy bar with the slogan ‘A man’s gotta chew what a man’s gotta chew’

Sold by A Quarter Of

It is not uncommon to hear, ‘Well, as the Americans say…’ followed by a saying I’ve never heard in my life.

You can spot an American tourist in a crowd by the T-Shirt stating where s/he’s visited, a favorite sports team or university.

In the UK, this is the pound symbol (currency): £. This is the pound sign in the US (weight): #. It is also the grid used to play ‘tic-tac-toe’,
known as ‘noughts & crosses’ in England.

Red countries drive on the right; blue on the  left

In England, using a car blinker/indicator in a turn lane is obvious and redundant (yet required in the US). In the US, you can turn right at a red light (love!). It appears the majority of gas tanks are fueled on the driver’s side. This is a problem when there is one-way traffic flow into a petrol station, leaving only one side of gas pumps being used (in the US, traffic flows in both directions at stations).

Although Brits may drink more alcohol than Americans, the US has a bigger problem with drunk driving. Public transportation is more widespread in England and people often arrange taxis before going out. Interestingly, European wine growing countries drink in moderation.

via World Health Organization

Why aren’t these things universally standardized: size of a measuring cup (1 cup is different in the US vs UK), the size of printer paper and envelopes, and emergency telephone numbers?

Why so many different emergency phone numbers?

And light bulb screw-in shapes, shape of plugs, and electric voltage in sockets?

Map of voltage differences worldwide (blue is the highest voltage)

An expat new to the country recently pointed out the different breaks in phone numbers in England: 020 1234 5678 in London, 01234 567 890 outside London or or 01234 567890. The standard format in the US is (123) 456-7890.

There are some differences in slang and pronunciation in the US, but considering how big the country is there are not as many variations as one might think.

More fun comparisons via Business Insider

While North Americans are notorious for pronouncing ’t’s as ’d’s (water -> wah der), the English drop many letters, making me guess the silent letters (Cheltenham -> Chelt’num, Leicester -> Lester).  The letter ’t’ may be dropped entirely by the English ( little -> li’l) and ’t’ can take on the ‘ch’ sound such as (Tutor -> Chutor, Tunes -> Chunes).

And curiously still, when a word ends in a vowel followed by another vowel in the next word, a mysterious ‘r’ appears (Pizza Express -> Pizzar Express). ‘Elocution lessons’ were once a part of the curriculum for students in refined schools, where children perfected their pronunciation, inflection, articulation, and accent. I’m not sure if this is still taught regularly today?

There seems to be a new trend on my side of England where restrooms in restaurants are co-ed. Each stall is contained but the sinks are shared.

A co-ed restroom in a popular new restaurant

I have now embraced the difference between a wet rain and a dry rain (misty but you don’t get wet). In the UK, a ‘mac’ or mackintosh is a raincoat. ‘Wellies’ are known as ‘galoshes’ in the US. I noticed there smell of ‘the first rain’ is absent here perhaps because the earth is never that dry. The term for the scent of first rain is ‘petrichor’ (thanks, Kate!).

Sticky tape by Belle & Boo

An elderly Englishman recently told me he loves America because of our friendly people and entrepreneurial spirit. I love England for its gorgeousness and countrywide playground (so much to see and do!).

My list of ‘interestings & differences’ is by no means complete, but for now I will sign off. Wishing you a great day!


Comparing Social Profiles between US & UK

Comparing Social Profiles of US & UK

 For years I’ve wanted to write this post which highlights some interesting differences (and similarities) between the US and England I think it shows how culturally different we are With a bit of research, here’s a look at each country’s stand on a handful of…

November 27, 2012

More About Me

Thank you for all your questions last month To be honest, I wasn’t sure anyone would have any ‘wonders’ about me Over time I will answer more questions… * * What do you miss most from the US? What have you enjoyed the most…

November 11, 2012
Keep Calm And Carry On

About ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’

Today,  countless variations of ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ can be seen throughout the UK and US * Available on Etsy  * Although it is well known to have been a WWII morale-booster poster in the UK, it actually was not well distributed at…

September 12, 2012

Identity Through Sports: US vs UK

  Displayed during the Summer Olympics A local taxi driver recently mentioned the county of Middlesex disappeared in 1965 when divided among counties Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Greater London And then he said, I guess it would be like one of your American states becoming part…

September 8, 2012
classic American food

American & British Food

Some tasty, some not so much Some very local or seasonal And most are not winning any health awards 🙂 Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup is classic American comfort food ( image via Nation’s Restaurant News)  * I’ve jotted down a list of…

April 15, 2012
Christmas in England

Christmas, English Style

As my daughter will remind you in her daily countdown, Christmas is only 10 days away! I believe today is ‘10 Lords A-Leaping’ Day 🙂 Christmas in England is very similar to the US with Christmas trees, stockings, carolers, and Christmas cards { generic ones…

December 15, 2011
American British Baby Names

Baby Names & Such: US vs UK

Babies are such a nice way to start people -Don Herrold [Adorable monkey hat available via Cite Fuzz] A few observations I’ve made recently… In the UK, I see fewer sets of twins and triplets than in the US. I suspect this could be due to…

September 13, 2011
Candy Blind Taste Test

Blind Taste Test: US vs UK Candy

Generally speaking, the UK offers more chocolate-based bars while the US sells more hard candy than the UK Having to choose something offered in both countries, my family was happy to help with a blind taste test of 3 different sweets from the US…

August 9, 2011