How to understand the difference between the UK and Great Britain

Learn the difference between the United Kingdom and Great Britain.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the task. You can read the transcript at any time.


Man: So where are you from?

Woman: Scotland. Are you Scottish too?

Man: Well, no, I'm English actually, but, you know, it's all, like, the same thing, isn't it?

Woman: Not exactly.

Man: Go on! Isn't Scotland just like, well, a bit of England?

Woman: No, it is not!

Man: Sorry, Britain I mean.

Woman: Britain is not England!

Man: Well, yeah, I know that. I'm not stupid or anything, but Britain's, like, England, Scotland and Wales, isn't it?

Woman: Not exactly.

Man: Yeah, it is – the UK, the United Kingdom.

Woman: The United Kingdom is Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Man: Oh, I see, but we're all, like, the same nation, aren't we?

Woman: Not really. Four nations, one state.

Man: Oh, I get it! So the UK (is), like, the same as Great Britain.

Woman: Great Britain is a geographical term – it's a big island with Scotland, England and Wales on it.

Man: All right, but we all have the same prime minister, don't we?

Woman: Yes, and the same head of state.

Man: The Queen!

Woman: Exactly.

Man: And the same government?

Woman: Well, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own local parliaments.

Man: Oh. I see.

Woman: It's complicated.

Man: Yeah, I can see that.



Language level

Intermediate: B1

Soumis par sakhabyn le sam 18/09/2021 - 21:19

Hello, Kirk! Could you please explain me one thing. There is the song "Helpless" singing by FLIRTS. One of the sentence in that song is "all I have is memories". Is it correct to use single form of verb to be with plural noun memories?

Hello sakhabyn,

It is correct. The phrase 'all I have' means the same as 'everything I have' or 'the only thing I have' and the singular verb is correct, even if the noun following is plural.



The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par vanishing half le jeu 15/07/2021 - 11:27

No, I haven't checked your Getting Started page yet , but I will. I was and am still confused about the organization of the UK and I had problems with the audio of the video

Soumis par parisaach le lun 26/08/2019 - 04:51

It is really complicated I used to take the word England as UK and great Britain. I thought that Scotland and Ireland are other countries outside England and I didn't knew anything about Wales. In one of the podcasts in Britishcouncil Ravi and Tess talked about great Britain, so I found out that I'had been wrong all the time. Honestly I'm not sure yet but I think UK consist of Wales, North Ireland , Scotland and England, but Great Britain is England, Scotland and UK is bigger than Great Britain

Soumis par Abdelboun le lun 15/07/2019 - 17:35

Thank you for explaning the differance between UK and Britain

Soumis par kprakashb le mer 02/08/2017 - 04:38

Hello Team, Good Morning! Could you please help me understand why shouldn't we say, "An adult frog lays eggs." when we are referring to a third person singular in the aforementioned statement.

Hello kprakashb,

The sentence you ask about is grammatically correct. You can see more examples of this expression in the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'lay an egg'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Bappy 1603 le jeu 20/07/2017 - 15:53

How can get fast speaker speech like that boy? It's really difficult to get them and annoying as well. This is the thing I hate most.

Hello Bappy,

There's some advice on how to improve your speaking fluency on our Frequently asked questions page. I'm sure it could help you improve, but it would take quite a lot of practice to speak as quickly as the man in the video. Most of our pages with video, including this one, have transcripts that you can use to help understand what is being said, so please be sure to refer to it if you'd like to.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Maestre le mar 11/07/2017 - 22:41

I can't understand what this guy says, but I can clearly hear what the girl is saying... he speaks in a very weird way.

Soumis par Abubadr le lun 05/06/2017 - 13:13

Can anybody help; why I am unable to watch the videos? is it a browser issue? or account issue?

Hello Abubadr,

Our videos are freely available to everyone, even people who are not members of our site. I've checked the video and don't see any problems, so I suspect it is a browser problem. Have you tried using one or two other browsers? It might also be worth trying a different device. I think this will solve the problem for you, but if not, please tell us what browser and browser version you're using.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par serapkosucu le sam 21/01/2017 - 07:32

Hi! It's good for me to understand difference between Great Britian and UK.

Soumis par yuchunli le lun 09/01/2017 - 10:09

I'm confused that I can't watch the video. I don't know why. Several days ago, I can watch but it didn't work now.

Hello yuchunli,

Are you still having the same problem now? It sounds like a temporary error, but if it's still not working tomorrow, please let us know what browser and browser version you're using to view it. 

You could also try viewing the video on our Chinese-language site, which is optimised for use in China.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Abdirashid Adan le dim 08/01/2017 - 09:50

Hi learnEnglish Team I need your help to improve speaking fluency. I understand when someone spkeaks english and also i can write and read well. So can you help me how to solf this problem. Thanks alot.

Soumis par Vengricum le lun 02/01/2017 - 15:28

Dear britishcouncil, How can I do Step 1 - Take our free English level test. It`s no working now? Best regards, Elena.

Hello Elena,

As far as I can see the level test is working correctly. Can you describe the problem you are having in a little more detail, please?


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Marie17 le dim 01/01/2017 - 16:38

Hi. Thanks for this clear and complete video on the main difference between in geat Britain
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