Americans and British speak the same language, but there are words used more frequently depending on what country you are in for sure. We get a kick out of some of the common ones here in England because of hearing them over and over, although it’s not usual for people to say them in North Carolina. As expats living in the UK, we have had fun learning the culture and trying to blend in with the locals. Here’s a list of a few we’ve noted so far.

1. Lovely

This is a versatile word. It can be used in front of a noun, “What a lovely day”, or have seen it used sarcastically too as just a response to something. It’s common to call people “love”, or “my love” too, even when it’s not a family member or significant other. I’ve had an older person call me “luvy” a couple of times.

2. Quite

This seems like such a simple word but it’s used quite a lot too. It’s “quite hot today.”

3. Bits and Bobs

This is like the saying we have “bells and whistles”. “Get all your bits and bobs together.” I also feel like “bits” is substituted for how I would use the word “pieces” in many instances. “Love you to bits.”

4. Proper

Everything in England is proper. You need to have a proper cup of tea, or a proper English roast on Sundays, or things need to be done properly. I saw a sign on a fridge cooler door in a cafe that said “make sure the door is closed properly”.

5. Would you be kind?

Who asks stuff like that? The English people for sure ha. It sounds so kind doesn’t it? “Would you be so kind to pass me the milk?” It’s proper I suppose.

6. Are you happy?

I hear this at work all the time. Instead of saying “Are you Ok?”, or “Do you want to scrub for this case?”, it’s “Are you happy to do this case?” or “If you are happy, I’ll scrub for this case sister”. Nobody is really all that happy, but they sure do ask a lot!

7. I can’t be bothered.

This is a phrase Marvin and I like to copy with an English accent. It’s when you are lazy or don’t want to do something.

8. Brilliant

“That’s brilliant” is said a lot when something is clever or good. I don’t remember saying this word all that often at home. I usually would say “cool”,  “sweet”, “awesome” or “that’s great” mostly.

9. Are you alright?

This sounds very normal to say, but I hear it all the time as a greeting. Instead of “How’s it going/What’s up?” or “Are you ok?”, it’s always “Are you alright?”.

10. Ta

A slang word for “thanks”. Marvin says he hasn’t heard people use this, but at work I hear it work often.

11. Cheers

A word to say thanks.

12. Posh

“Posh” is someone or something that is higher class. People that live in a certain area or town can be considered more posh, or our neighboring town, Reigate, is a posh town.  I wasn’t really sure what this word meant a couple of years ago honestly. “Fancy” is what I’d say.

13. Daunting

If something is scary, or you are overwhelmed with something, it’s daunting. What American have you heard say “daunting”?

14. Sorted

There’s this phrase we hear over the intercom at every train station. “See it, say it, sorted.” It’s talking about if you see something or someone suspicious, to report it to someone, so the authorities can take care of it. The English like to sort things out.

15. Pop

This one is cute to me. If you want to tell someone to put something down, “Oh, just pop it on the table over there.” Or going to visit someone “I’ll just pop in to see a friend today”.

16. Dodgy

“Dodgy” is when something doesn’t seem right. The word I would use is “sketchy”. If a road is dark and looks creepy, it could be considered “a bit dodgy”.

17. Fancy

A term if you like someone or have a crush on them. “Do you think he fancies me?”

18. I’m afraid.

These people are afraid of a lot of stuff haha. If a pub stops serving food at a certain time “I’m afraid we aren’t serving food anymore”.

19. Well done.

When a patient wakes up from anesthesia after surgery, my coworkers always say “Well done”. Or if someone does a good job, “Well done”.

20. Don’t be shy.

We noticed this saying in the Harry Potter films as well. Just a sentence to say when you telling someone to come and do something.

21. Kind regards.

The saying at the end of most of the emails instead of “sincerely”.

Are you familiar with these words or sayings? Check out my other post on British vs. American English is you enjoyed this post!


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