Improve your English

An American’s guide to life in the UK #2


An American tourist’s Facebook post went viral when he summed up his trip to the UK through a long, windy, random list of differences. Naturally, this inspired me to draft an equally random list of my own. After moving to London seven years ago, I’ve acquired some pretty good examples. So here, I present to you a handy UK translator. Before you board that next Virgin Atlantic flight to cross the pond, print this out and put it in your pocket. And yes, sweeping generalisations abound.

Understatement is hyperbole
‘Please do’ is ‘ I need you to’
‘Lovely’ is ‘on fleek’
‘Fit’ is ‘hot’
‘Chuffed’ is ‘ecstatic’
‘I’m pleased’ is ‘I’m DYING’
‘Cheeky’ is ‘Dead wrong’
‘Fine’ is ‘amazing’
‘Well done, you’ is ‘you kicked ass’
‘Try again’ is ‘I hate it’
‘I hate it’ is ‘you ruined everything’
‘Bollocks’ is ‘BS’
‘Brill’ is ‘cool’
‘Faff’ is ‘bother’
Mobile is cell
Pumps are flats
Courts are heels
Trainers are sneakers
Braces are suspenders
Knits are sweaters
Jumpers are also sweaters
Fringe are bangs
Lippy is lipstick
Lifts are elevators
Food and wines are bodegas
Biscuits are cookies
Scones are biscuits
Pudding is dessert
Tea is dinner
Sweeties are candy
Chips are crisps
Fizzy drinks are pop
Still water is flat
Tipple is a drink
Poorly is sick
Trashed is hammered
Toilet is the bathroom
Rubbish is trash
Plasters are Band-Aids
Soho is Soho
Brixton is Harlem
South London is Brooklyn
East London is Williamsburg
West London is the Upper West Side
Croydon is Queens
Croydon is also the Bronx
Croydon is also a little Staten Island
Essex is Yonkers
Cornwall is the Hamptons
The tube is the subway
The GBBO is RuPaul’s Drag Race
Boots is Duane Reade
Holidays are vacations
Christmas is ‘the holidays’
BBC Radio 4 is NPR
Mind the gap is ‘move out of my way’
Soz is sorry
WAGs are NBA Wives
David Beckham is Michael Jordan, Kobe or Lebron
Quality Street is Whitman’s Chocolate
TK Max is TJ Max
Hoover is vaccum
Garden is backyard
The seaside is the beach
‘Ta’ is ‘thank you’
‘Cheerio’ is ‘Bye’

Have I missed anything? Let me know at @ELLEUK and @KenyaNHunt



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