Posted in Improve your English

An American’s guide to life in the UK #1

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Sixty-six-year-old Scott Waters visited our green and pleasant land this summer, and on his return, he helpfully listed all the cultural differences he encountered in a hilariously random Facebook post. The post has now been liked almost 80,000 times and shared over 50,000.

Scott’s post in full

I was in England again a few weeks ago, mostly in small towns, but here’s some of what I learned:

* Almost everyone is very polite
* The food is generally outstanding
* There are no guns
* There are too many narrow stairs
* Everything is just a little bit different
* The pubs close too early
* The reason they drive on the left is because all their cars are built backwards
* Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms.
* You’d better like peas, potatoes and sausage
* Refrigerators and washing machines are very small
* Everything is generally older, smaller and shorter
* People don’t seem to be afraid of their neighbors or the government
* Their paper money makes sense, the coins don’t
* Everyone has a washing machine but driers are rare
* Hot and cold water faucets. Remember them?
* Pants are called “trousers”, underwear are “pants” and sweaters are “jumpers”
* The bathroom light is a string hanging from the ceiling
* “Fanny” is a naughty word, as is “shag”
* All the signs are well designed with beautiful typography and written in full sentences with proper grammar.
* There’s no dress code
* Doors close by themselves, but they don’t always open
* They eat with their forks upside down
* The English are as crazy about their gardens as Americans are about cars


* They don’t seem to use facecloths or napkins or maybe they’re just neater then we are
* The wall outlets all have switches, some don’t do anything
* There are hardly any cops or police cars
* 5,000 year ago, someone arranged a lot of rocks all over, but no one is sure why
* When you do see police they seem to be in male & female pairs and often smiling
* Black people are just people: they didn’t quite do slavery here
* Everything comes with chips, which are French fries. You put vinegar on them
* Cookies are “biscuits” and potato chips are “crisps”
* HP sauce is better then catsup
* Obama is considered a hero, Bush is considered an idiot.
* After fish and chips, curry is the most popular food
* The water controls in showers need detailed instructions
* They can boil anything
* Folks don’t always lock their bikes
* It’s not unusual to see people dressed different and speaking different languages
* Your electronic devices will work fine with just a plug adapter
* Nearly everyone is better educated then we are
* If someone buys you a drink you must do the same
* There are no guns
* Look right, walk left. Again; look right, walk left. You’re welcome.
* Avoid British wine and French beer
* It’s not that hard to eat with the fork in your left hand with a little practice. If you don’t, everyone knows you’re an American
* Many of the roads are the size of our sidewalks
* There’s no AC
* Instead of turning the heat up, you put on a jumper
* Gas is “petrol”, it costs about $6 a gallon and is sold by the liter
* If you speed on a motorway, you get a ticket. Period. Always
* You don’t have to tip, really!
* Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall really are different countries
* Only 14% of Americans have a passport, everyone in the UK does
* You pay the price marked on products because the taxes (VAT) are built in
* Walking is the national pastime
* Their TV looks and sounds much better then ours
* They took the street signs down during WWII, but haven’t put them all back up yet
* Everyone enjoys a good joke
* There are no guns
* Dogs are very well behaved and welcome everywhere
* There are no window screens
* You can get on a bus and end up in Paris
* Everyone knows more about our history then we do
* Radio is still a big deal. The BBC is quite good
* The newspapers can be awful
* Everything costs the same but our money is worth less so you have to add 50% to the price to figure what you’re paying
* Beer comes in large, completely filled, actual pint glasses and the closer the brewery the better the beer
* Butter and eggs aren’t refrigerated
* The beer isn’t warm, each style is served at the proper temperature
* Cider (alcoholic) is quite good.
* Excess cider consumption can be very painful.
* The universal greeting is “Cheers” (pronounced “cheeahz” unless you are from Cornwall, then it’s “chairz”)
* The money is easy to understand: 1-2-5-10-20-50 pence, then-£1-£2-£5-£10, etc bills. There are no quarters.
* Their cash makes ours look like Monopoly money
* Cars don’t have bumper stickers
* Many doorknobs, buildings and tools are older than America
* By law, there are no crappy, old cars
* When the sign says something was built in 456, they didn’t lose the “1”
* Cake is is pudding, ice cream is pudding, anything served for desert is pudding, even pudding
* BBC 4 is NPR
* Everything closes by 1800 (6pm)
* Very few people smoke, those who do often roll their own
* You’re defined by your accent
* No one in Cornwall knows what the hell a Cornish Game Hen is
* Soccer is a religion, religion is a sport
* Europeans dress better then the British, we dress worse
* The trains work: a three minute delay is regrettable
* Drinks don’t come with ice
* There are far fewer fat English people
* There are a lot of healthy old folks around participating in life instead of hiding at home watching tv
* If you’re over 60, you get free tv and bus and rail passes.
* They don’t use Bose anything anywhere
* Displaying your political or religious affiliation is considered very bad taste
* Every pub has a pet drunk
* Their healthcare works, but they still bitch about it
* Cake is one of the major food groups
* Their coffee is mediocre but their tea is wonderful
* There are still no guns
* Towel warmers!

Cheers

 

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