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.

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Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by sakhabyn on Sat, 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

Submitted by vanishing half on Thu, 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

Submitted by parisaach on Mon, 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

Submitted by Abdelboun on Mon, 15/07/2019 - 17:35

Thank you for explaning the differance between UK and Britain