Hi. My name is Whitney Kay Bacon, and I am an American who has been living in England for nearly four and a half years now with my beautiful wife, Megan. I absolutely love living in the UK, and it feels like a second home to me. Over the years I have observed and naturally taken note of the differences between American and British culture, some of which I've listed below.
1. The British are judged on which supermarket they shop at and the hierarchy often goes like this: Waitrose/M&S, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi.
2. You may hear a British person ask for "tomato ketchup." As opposed to the onion ketchup?
3. Getting "pissed" means drunk, but it can also mean angered. Confusing.
4. In restaurants, British people always insist on sitting by the window despite the views; even if it's pouring (pissing*) down the rain and in the middle of a busy car park. (*Another use of "pissed!")
5. If you don't ask your British colleagues if they would like a cup of tea or a coffee when you go to make yours, then you instantly get the stink eye.
6. Drinking alcohol profusely is encouraged at most work events and the rejoicing together the next day with a unanimous hangover.
7. If you need to pee then it's a "wee," and if you need the bathroom then it's "the toilet" or "loo."
8. The weather is a true topic of conversation, and you will discuss it with at least two people every day. (I now actively join in with this.)
9. In addition, the weather is truly horrific as well, so it's interesting to discuss!
10. The roads are small and the cars are often smaller.
11. There's a high volume of hatchbacks on the road and the majority of people drive a manual car. If you have a driving license to drive automatic, then you cannot drive a manual. Oh, and an SUV is immediately called a 4x4.
12. Five-week paid vacations and amazing maternity leave is a real thing and does exist. Hats off to the British for that.
13. Be prepared to pack your own shopping bags and being asked if you would like to pay for a 5p bag (or upgrade to a "bag for life") otherwise you're left carrying your items in your hands as all shopping bags now cost 5p to save the environment.
14. When greeting someone you may hear "you alright?" rather than "how are you?" It's the same thing, but it can get confusing.
15. The British are brand savvy. The vacuum is called the "Hoover;" cream cheese is "Philadelphia;"
16. Band aids are "plasters;"
17. Q-tips are "cotton buds."
18. Parking lots are called "car parks," and you will rarely find one that is free. Especially at hospitals!
19. The doctor's office is known as the "GP Surgery." There are no operations happening there! You have to go to A&E (accident and emergency), not the ER (emergency room.)
20. Nurses don't wear scrubs, and you'll often see them in the traditional uniform (still a dress for women!)
21. British people don't say they have "errands to run," rather they have "things/ bits to do."
22. The police don't carry guns; therefore, the general public do not carry guns (for the majority.)
23. British people do not make small talk with strangers, and they would never strike up conversation with someone on public transportation.
24. Occasions and get-togethers can sometimes drag on and end awkwardly because no one likes to make excuses to leave.
25. Everyone talks about getting home extensions, and it's the norm as most houses are very small in comparison to American-style homes.
26. The British do not embrace the fall (aka Autumn) and completely by-pass the pumpkin spice craze like Americans. (Though thank you, Starbucks, for your Pumpkin Spice Lattes!)
27. A large coke at McDonalds is equivalent to a medium in the states. A regular coke is equivalent to a child's coke in a kids' meal.
28. There are only three main fast food restaurants, and those are McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, and the occasional KFC.
29. You will rarely see drive-thru banks, Starbucks, fast-food restaurants etc.
30. It's called a "take away" rather than having "take out."
31. You rarely receive a lot of (if any) ice in your drink, British people would rather drink a warm coke rather than ice as they see it dilutes their drink and/or they do not get as much coke. This would be because there is no such thing as "free refills" (apart from Nandos or American restaurants like TGI Friday's.)
32. Pickles are "gherkins" and "pickle" is a type of condiment.
33. Milk is put into coffee. There are no delicious endless flavors (flavours) of coffee mate. Oh, how I miss Amaretto Coffee Mate. And Cool Whip.
34. Biscuits are essentially cookies and not delicious baked goods (though biscuits are similar to scones, which you have with jam and clotted cream.) There is also a clear distinction between what they see as biscuits and cookies in the UK.
35. Bath & Body Works does not exist here. Where am I meant to get my seasonal candles?!
36. It's "jumpers," not "sweaters."
37. "AC" is known as "aircon" and it's not common to have in British homes and a lot of pubs, shops or restaurants. There are hardly any ceiling fans either.
38. If it's cold, you turn on the radiators (which are attached to the wall), as opposed to central heating.
39. Everyone loves Obama, hates Donald Trump and are unsure of Hillary. However the choice for Hillary is still clear.
40. There are no plug-ins in the bathrooms, so good luck drying or straightening* your hair in there. (*These are called GHD's, again its a brand thing.)
41. Stores are referred to as shops and grocery stores are supermarkets.
42. All 'shops' close early and it's not convenient at all to do any shopping after work hours.
43. It's petrol, not gas, and it's by the litre not the gallon. You have to go inside the 'petrol station' to pay still, the pumps often still don't take card.
44. As the British are typically polite people, the rage can often come out in emails- aka the keyboard warrior.
45. Also if you don't put any kisses 'xxx' at the end of a text/ email/ message to a friend/ loved one (or potential love interest) then they think you don't like them. They will always put the same amount of kisses that you send them. You can analyse these to see if they're mad at you also. No kiss means big trouble.
46. People read the newspaper on the tube to avoid small talk and eye contact.
47. As most British homes are incredibly old, you will find no built-in closets. You have to buy them and they are called 'wardrobes'.
48. The 'garden' is your backyard and a garden, as Americans know it, is an 'allotment'.
49. It's weird to get a to-go box or a doggy bag at a restaurant. Typically, because you are given the right amount of food per person.
50. The British follow the rules- no speeding, means no speeding. NO talking or texting on your phone, means just that.
51. Eggs are not sold as refrigerated.
52. You rarely see pick-up trucks nor large American style cars.
53. The British value their time outside of work and do not hesitate to book holiday (aka vacation) and take time off when needed.
54. It's rude not to comment on someone's tan after they've returned from holiday.
55. It's so easy and and can be cheap to go to Italy or Greece for the weekend.
56. No matter how rich or poor you are- your accent defines you.
57. Full stop = period.
58. It's not the norm to have a standard coffee pot, rather the British have great kettles (the plug in kind, not the whistling kind).
59. The tea is superb and coffee in general isn't the best. You will find instant coffee in most house holds.
60. British people will always use a knife and fork to eat their dinner. Some even eat ribs and burgers with a knife and fork.
61. Fries are 'chips' and chips are 'crisps'.
62. KFC does not have mashed potato's, mac and cheese, green beans or biscuits- they have fries as the main side.
63. Hidden Valley ranch has yet to arrive in the UK.
64. They do eat crumpets and they are delicious- especially with loads of butter and mature cheddar (my personal fav).
65. The British love mature cheddar and it's the norm to always grate it freshly.
66. Having a dance is often called a 'boogie'.
67. Sweet corn, tuna and mayo are just some of the toppings you'll find on a jacket potato (baked potato), along with baked beans and cheese.
68. Chips are typically served with steak, no matter how 'posh' the restaurant. Often triple cooked aka thrice cooked.
69. The date is the opposite way round (day, month, year)
70. They drive on the left side of the road so make sure you look correctly when crossing. You can't make a turn on red, even if its clear. You'll come across many roundabouts.
71. Jay Walking isn't illegal, they just go for it, but they'll often wait patiently at the zebra crossing.
72. If you watch TV then you must pay a monthly bill for your TV, it's called a TV licence.
73. VAT (tax) is already included in your purchase. So if something is £0.99, it's simply that.
74. They pronounce a fillet (as in steak) like 'fill-it' rather than 'feel-lay').
75. They have separate boys and girls schools, and the uniforms to go with it.
76. A fag is known as a cigarette and it's not an offensive term in this context. Therefore, you'll often hear men say "I'm going out for a fag".
77. No one really knows what a typical grilled cheese sandwich is, instead they'll have cheese grilled on toast, or a 'toasty' (toasted sandwich).
78. You would 'grill' something in the oven rather than 'broil' it.
79. British bacon is amazing, and there is nothing better than a bacon sandwich aka bacon roll, bacon sarnie, bacon bap.
80. Baked beans are a typical breakfast favourite and you'll often find it in a "cooked breakfast," along with scrambled egg, sausages, bacon, fried mushrooms, hash browns and fried bread. There may also be black pudding, which is essentially a blood sausage (no, thanks.)
81. Baked beans and cheese on toast is a normal thing the Brit's eat.
82. Coke has real sugar in it, rather than high fructose corn syrup.
83. Built-in swimming pools and hot tubs are rare due to space.
84. It's taboo not to take a holiday.
85. In the winter, it starts to gets dark at 3:45pm, however in the summer it doesn't get fully dark until after 10:00pm.
86. Apart from fish and chips, Indian food is probably the most loved dish -- it is delicious. Chicken tikka masala is actually a British dish!
87. Deliveroo was founded in UK by an American due to the lack of great quality food that you can get delivered. They now deliver restaurant food to your house on bicycles -- amazing!
88. You often get paid once a month vs bi weekly.
89. If a food is "quite" good to a British person, then they hate it.
90. Health care is free, which is awesome.
91. The idea of painkillers in the UK is different and mainly consist of ibuprofen and paracetamol. For instance, "I just broke my leg." "Here, take some ibuprofen."
92. Time is an interesting one -- it's a 24-hour clock and it's rare to hear the exact time. It's either 'half past', 'quarter past', or 'quarter to'.
93. You can't buy milk by the gallon rather it's by the pint.
94. Going to the movies is "going to the cinema" and you cannot get freshly popped popcorn, or melted butter. (It's often dry and stale, you can only get salt or sweet.)
95. There are no mailboxes, just letter boxes built within the front door.
96. Brits will cheers to a toast, but they will also say "cheers" to say thanks, and sometimes goodbye.