UK: Language                                                                 

Irish playwright and wit George Bernard Shaw once remarked that "England and America are two countries separated by the same language." If you wonder what Shaw was talking about, just peruse this handy "translating tool" of words, phrases and expressions in British and American English. Then when a British citizen points out a "sleeping policeman" in the street, you'll stay calm, knowing it's just a speed bump (not a body).

BRITISH ENGLISH  

NORTH AMERICAN ENGLISH 

At School

At School

A3

large paper

A4

notebook paper

biro pens

ballpoint pens

brackets ( )

parentheses

call the register

call the roll, take attendance

contract bus

school bus

crèche (day nursery)

day care

deputy head

vice principal

diary

calendar

dining hall, cafeteria

cafeteria

drawing pins

pushpins or thumbtacks

full stop (.)

period (.)

headmaster, headmistress, head teacher

principal

home education

homeschooling

induction day

orientation day

ink printer

rubber stamp

journal

diary

marks

grades

mark books

grade papers

mark scheme

grading key

maths

math

"mucking around"

off task

one-to-one teaching

one-on-one teaching

open evening

open house

pin board

bulletin board

plasticene

modeling clay

play time (younger students)

recess

plimsolls

gym shoes

practicals

labs

Pritt Stix

glue sticks

rubbers

erasers

schedule

timetable

school's finished (expression)

school's out

spellings

spelling

staff room

teacher's lounge

term

semester

ticks, tick marks

check marks

trialling (verb)

field-testing

to truant (verb)

to skip school, to cut classes

zed (pronunciation of the letter "z")

zee (pronunciation of the letter "z")

Food, Cooking and Cleaning

Food, Cooking and Cleaning

aubergine

eggplant

banger

sausage

biscuit

cookie

biscuit mixture

cookie dough

caster sugar

sugar

cooker

stove

cookery book

cookbook

cornflour

cornstarch

courgettes

zucchini

chips

french fries

crisps

potato chips

egg box

egg carton

fairy cakes

cup cakes

hoover, hoovering

vacuum, vacuuming

hundreds and thousands

sprinkles (on cakes)

ice lolly

Popsicle

icing

frosting

jam (a spread for bread)

jelly or jam

jelly

Jell-O, gelatin

jug

pitcher

kitchen foil

aluminum foil

pastry bowl

mixing bowl

plastic film

plastic wrap

polka dots

chocolate chips

spring onions

scallions

squash

concentrate (as in Kool-aid)

sweets

candy

tap

faucet, tap

washing powder

laundry detergent (powder)

washing-up liquid

dishwashing detergent

Clothing and Appearance

Clothing and Appearance

bunches

pigtails

fringe

bangs

homely (pleasant)

homely (unattractive)

jumper

sweater or turtleneck

knickers (women and children)

lingerie

nappy

diaper

pinafore dress

jumper

plait

braid

swimming costume

bathing suit

trainers

sneakers, running shoes

trousers

pants

vest

undershirt

waistcoat

vest

Wellingtons, Wellies

rain boots

zip

zipper

Transportation

Transportation

articulated lorries

big rigs, semis

arctics (articulated lorries for refrigerated goods)

refrigerated trucks

bonnet (of a car)

hood (of a car)

boot (of a car)

trunk (of a car)

buggy

stroller

car park

parking lot

contract bus

school bus

hard shoulder

pavement

lift

elevator

lorry, lorry driver

truck, truck driver

motorway

highway, freeway

overtake a car

pass a car

pavement

sidewalk

pedestrian crossing

crosswalk

petrol

gasoline

petrol station

gas station

pram

baby carriage

carriage railroad

passenger car

reverse a car

back up a car

sleeping policemen (named after the appearance of the former London "bobbies" in their tall, rounded hats)

speed bumps

transport

transportation

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

American football

football

back garden

back yard

boot sale (selling goods from the boots, or trunks, of cars)

n/a

cardboard plate

paper plate

charity shop

thrift shop, second-hand store

cot (child's bed)

crib, baby bed

cotton reel

spool

cotton-wool balls

cotton balls

cutting (noun, news clipping)

clipping (noun, news clipping)

day diary

appointment book or calendar

DIY store

hardware store, home building center

doctor's surgery

doctor's office

dog basket

dog bed

dummy (for a baby)

pacifier

dustbin

garbage can, trash can

elastic band

rubber band

electricity board

power company, electric company

estate agent

real estate agent

first floor

second floor

flat

apartment

flex

electric cord

football

soccer

foyer (of a building)

lobby

ground floor

first floor

jumble sale

rummage sale, garage sale, flea market

hire (v.)

rent, lease

holiday (go on holiday)

vacation (go on, or take, a vacation)

hose pipe

hose

landslip

landslide

lead (for a dog)

leash

letter box

mailbox, postbox

litter bin

wastebasket, wastepaper basket

loo

restroom

ministry (government body, e.g., Ministry of Agriculture)

department (e.g., Dept. of Agriculture)

mum, mummy (for "mother")

mom, mommy

newsagents

newsstand

ordinary

regular

packaging

packing suitcases

packet

carton, box

picture house

movie theater

pitch

field

post (verb)

mail (verb)

postal code

zip code

to queue

to line up

ring (verb)

call or phone (verb)

roundabout

merry-go-round, carousel

rubbish

garbage

skipping rope

jump rope

skittles

bowling pins

sleep-over

slumber party

stick (verb)

paste

take-away

take-out

torch

flashlight

Expressions

Expressions

Give it a go.

Try it. / Give it a try.

I'm knackered.

I'm tired.

Spot on!

You've got it!

That's wicked! / That's wicked good!

That's great!

"winding me up" or "taking the mick"

"pressing my buttons" (teasing)

To suss somebody out

To figure somebody out

Abbreviating Dates and Times

Abbreviating Dates and Times

Date: 9/8/00 (day/month/year) means 9 August 2000

Date: 9/8/00 (month/day/year) means September 8, 2000

Time: 10.05 (uses a period)

Time: 10:05 (uses a colon)

Spelling 

Spelling 

aeroplane

airplane

aluminium

aluminum

analyse

analyze

appertaining

pertaining

artefacts

artifacts

behaviour

behavior

centimetre

centimeter

centre

center

coat-hanger

coat hanger

colour

color

defence

defense

favourite

favorite

forwards

forward

jewellery

jewelry

kilometre

kilometer

metre

meter

mould (as in "fungus")

mold

programme

program

tonnes

tons

travelled

traveled

traveller

traveler

tyres

tires