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’

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 to 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’,
also 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)

Size of printer paper and envelopes

Emergency Telephone Numbers

Why so many different emergency phone numbers?

Light bulb screw-in shapes

Shape of plugs

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

(123) 456-7890 in the US

020 1234 5678 in London

01234 567 890 outside London

or 01234 567890


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 disturbing 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 do and see!)

My list of ‘interestings & differences’ is by no means complete,
but for now I will sign off

Wishing you a great day!

More US vs UK posts here


Comparing Social Profiles between US & UK

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classic American food

American & British Food

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Christmas in England

Christmas, English Style

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American British Baby Names

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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