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British or American English?

American or British English? Which do you reckon you use most of? Let's see. What do you call those sugary things kids love so much ? What do you take to get to the 10th floor of a building? What do you call that part of the road where people walk? If you said sweets, lift, and pavement to the above questions then you, like me, use British English.

Of course, it doesn't matter which you use, but for me, a man from England, it feels weird to use certain, if not all, American English words. For instance, I would never say candy, elevator, or sidewalk - the American English answers to the above questions. But language changes and because of America's presence with films and culture, sometimes their words and expressions can be adopted by us here in England. It's not uncommon to hear people say the word movies instead of film, and the word awesome.

I'm sure we are all aware of some of the main differences, but I'd like to look at 10 words that maybe you don't know.

1. What do you call the thing that water comes out of when you wash your hands ?

BrE Tap / AmE faucet

Example: Don't forget to turn the tap off after you wash your hands

2. What do you call that thing you push in a supermarket and put your food in.

BrE a trolley / AmE a cart

Example: I'll need a trolley I have lots to get

Note: The use of the word 'get' has many meanings in English. One of the most common meanings is buy like in the above example

3. What are the things you're probably wearing now, they cover your leg, and you have to wear them for school and work?

BrE trousers / AmE pants

I need to get some new trousers for my new job which I start on Monday

Note: in British English pants mean underwear and it can be quite funny to hear someone say 'where are my pants' ' Do you like my new pants ' ' I have to wear pants to work '

4. Game of Thrones is broken into episodes – one show - and a collection of episodes are called what?

BrE series / AmE season

Example: I've just finished series 5. Tomorrow I'll start series 6

5. These are usually round, crunchy, and chocolate is a very common flavour

BrE a biscuit / AmE a cookie

Do you want a biscuit with your cup of tea?

Note: In England a cookie is a type of biscuit. It is usually harder and has small chocolate pieces in them

6. What do you call the phone you use to make phone calls on when you are outside?

BrE Mobile (phone) / Cell Phone

I'm thinking about buying a new mobile. I'm looking at Samsung

7. What do you call the crispy snack that comes in packets and has many different flavours?

BrE Crisps / Chips

Can you pass me a pack of crisps, I'm a little hungry

Note: In England chips are fried potatoes, or 'french fries' although, a french fry is much thinner than a 'chip'

8. What is the name of the big road that connects different cities and towns.

BrE Motorway / AmE highway

The first time I drove on the motorway it was very scary

9. After you drink lots of water, this is the place you will probably need to go

BrE Toilet / AmE restroom

I'll be right back, I'm just going to the toilet.

10. What do you call the 'sports shoe' that people wear?

BrE Trainers / AmE – Sneakers

Note: Russian/Ukrainian speakers of English usually have problems pronouncing the long 'E' sound in the word sneakers and it often sounds like they are saying SNICKERS – the chocolate bar. They have no problems saying trainers ;)

Do you use any of the above words? Which do you use more of, British or American?


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