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|
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!