How to understand the differences between British and American English

Learn some common words that are used differently in British and American English.

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

Transcript

Man: Hey! Nice pants!

Woman: Excuse me?

Man: I said, 'nice pants'.

Woman: You can't see my pants, can you?

Man: Of course I can.

Woman: How can you see my pants?

Man: They're on your legs!

Woman: Ha. You haven't been to America recently, have you?

Man: Oh, I, er, have, actually. I've just got back from LA! That's 'Los Angeles' by the way.

Woman: I know.

Man: Yeah, I picked up some of the American words, and now I forget which ones to use! So confusing!

Woman: Well, we call these 'trousers' in Britain.

Man: Of course we do. You know there are so many things, though. It's like a completely different language sometimes!

Woman: Really?

Man: Yeah!

Woman: Would you like a crisp?

Man: Crisps? In the States, they're 'chips'!

Woman: Oh. So if I want to order our chips in America, what do I ask for?

Man: French fries!

Woman: I see.

Man: And you know what that is, don't you?

Woman: A fizzy drink.

Man: That's a 'soda'!

Woman: Hmm …

Man: You know the lift over there?

Woman: Yeah?

Man: That's an 'elevator'.

Woman: Oh really?

Man: You know in the States, you don't go to watch a film ...

Woman: You watch a 'movie'!

Man: Exactly! And you don't walk on the pavement ...

Woman: You walk on the 'sidewalk'!

Man: You got it!

Woman: I've watched a lot of films ... oops ... movies!

Discussion

Download
Worksheet67.64 Ko

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Soumis par Joel-0505 le ven 01/11/2019 - 17:51

Permalien
I really enjoy this series. Thanks team!!! I'm improving my English because of it.

Soumis par parisaach le mar 27/08/2019 - 10:25

Permalien
British people have strong accent American pronouce words faster and easier. They also prnounce some words completely different words like: can't, talk, fast,water. For me it is more difficult to talk British English, because all the time I l've learned American English and I mostly watch American movies an Series, though I watched some beautiful movies and series in Biritish accent like Harry Potter, Game of thrones. It is very difficult for a non-English person to realise the difference between these words. I always can realise British and American English from the accent of people American and British English are very different, but they are the same as many point of views, when I learn an American phrase I don't know if it ok to use in British too or vice versa! some words are totally different like: movies which is Cinema in British or Theater which is Theatre in British. There are British words like Blimey. that I don't know if it is O.K to use in American English and There are many American English that I don't know if we can use them in British too. some of these espressions are" 'keep me in a loop' ' get something off my chest' ' have enough on my plate', etc , thank's if anybody help.

Soumis par ishrat Bashir le mar 19/09/2017 - 12:13

Permalien
Hi Kirk Is is alright to use both American and British English at the same time?

Soumis par Kirk le mar 19/09/2017 - 18:45

En réponse à par ishrat Bashir

Permalien

Hello ishrat Bashir,

That really depends on the context and what your purpose is. In any case, the differences are mostly minor so often it's not even an issue.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Soumis par Abody le mer 12/04/2017 - 17:32

Permalien
It's great to be here. I got the idea of the video but I had some difficulty in some words. Can't I find the subtitle for this video ???

Soumis par Tanzeel Ur Rehman. le mer 22/03/2017 - 08:53

Permalien
hello sir, Great video to improve our English. I have a problem with listening and spoken English. I have a question.... what is meaning of "I er" in this video

Soumis par Kirk le jeu 23/03/2017 - 07:39

En réponse à par Tanzeel Ur Rehman.

Permalien

Hello Tanzeel Ur Rehman,

I'm glad you enjoyed the video! 'er' is the sound that native speakers make when they are thinking about what to say next -- you can see some more examples in the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'er'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Online courses
Learn English online – with the world's English experts