Minding the Gap – How Brits Survive in America


I love the Brits.  I love their tea, their flag, and their rom-coms.  I also love that, while we share a language, I have absolutely no idea what they’re saying half the time.  So imagine my joy when I discovered that the BBC has an entire blog called Mind the Gap dedicated to helping “Brits make the leap across the Atlantic to this alien nation we call the United States. The U.S. truly is the land of opportunity, but it’s also a land of bizarre traditions, labyrinthine bureaucracies and misnamed sports.”

A couple of my favorite posts:

A Brit’s Opinion on American Chocolate (Their advice?  Don’t eat it.)

Brunch, Baseball, and 4 Other American Crazes that Will Drive you Crazy (they don’t like that we put our dogs in purses)

And I particularly enjoyed this post – 10 Things Brits Say…and What Americans Think we Mean:

What Brits say: “I got off with this fit bird.”
What Americans hear: “I disembarked with an athletic pigeon.”

Don’t expect Americans to even attempt a translation here. But if they do manage to guess that “got off with” means “made out with”, be sure to clarify that what you mean by “bird.”

What Brits say: “All right, darling?”
What Americans hear: “How are you, love of my life?”

Save prudish Americans’ blushes by not directing this informal version of “How do you do?” at them. Worse still is the West Country version, which substitutes “darling” for the infinitely more bewildering and inappropriate “my lover.”

What Brits say: “Sorry”
What Americans hear: “I sincerely apologize.”

Saying sorry is like a national tic, which means we Brits rarely use the word to convey a heartfelt apology. This is baffling to Americans who will, on occasion, reply with something like, “Why, exactly, are you sorry?” “I’m not,” you’ll say, confused. “Sorry.”


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