British English vs. American English: Surprised by usage and pronunciation (2023)

Do you look for “eggplant” or “eggplant” when shopping for vegetables? What you say depends on where you learned English. American editor Pam Nelson and British author Samantha White discuss the rise of "awesome," why seemingly simple words have different pronunciations in the UK and US, and much more in this sequel toA discussionin words like "Scheme" and "Boondoggle" launched in June 2019 and a series of popular quizzes aboutFMsite one2017mi2018.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How English speakers pronounce "niche" in different parts of the world: there are apparently more than two ways.
  • When "amazing" was used regularly.
  • Why a guest says saying "amazed" can be redemptive.
  • How English speakers in India contribute to our global lexicon.
  • A bit of history on the term "chalk up" and how it is sometimes confused with "chock up".

Play the following episode or read the edited transcript:

To comment on this podcast episode or suggest an idea for another episode, please contact Neil Amato at
FMEditor-in-chief of the


Amato:We had that first conversation in the spring of 2019. The bottom line of that conversation on the podcast episode page read: "American editor Pam Nelson and British author Samantha White talk about times when words confused them or made them laugh. ". educate.

So let's jump to our first word. It's more a matter of pronunciation than meaning. The word is spelled N-I-C-H-E. This is also N-I-C-H-E. It seems such a simple word. When I see this written, I would say niche, as in niche industry or niche publishing, but I'm American. I never did French.

So Sam, I'll start with you. What are you saying?

Blanco:I definitely say niche ("neesh"). I think this is a very good example of a word that can cause confusion between US and UK speakers, even though the spelling and usage are exactly the same. I first heard the American pronunciation "Nitch" in context, specifically about a business or freelancer finding or identifying their specific niche, specialty, or target market. So the meaning was made clear to me from the context, but in preparation for this discussion I asked some friends what they would understand if they heard someone say "Nitsch" and it caused varying degrees of confusion. They all agreed that it sounded like an uncomfortable medical complaint.

So I thought about what other words we British English speakers have adopted French pronunciations that most have to do with food or art, like quiche for example. There are many terms, obviously legal. For example, force majeure, an insurance policy that has probably come into play quite often in recent months. And then there's our old friendPath("Root")obroken ("broken"), depending on which side of the Atlantic you are.

But I think the most interesting point for me is that American English and British English get their influences from different places. For example, in British English we have vegetables called zucchini and aubergine following the French, but in the American equivalent you would call them zucchini and aubergine and this reflects different communities and different influences. So I thought that uncomfortable medical ailments aside, this was a really interesting discovery.

Amato:I learned something new about zucchini and eggplant. I had seen those words while reading, but I had no idea that the ones you just said are the same as zucchini and eggplant.

Nelson:Right, and an American speaker could use "aubergine" to refer to a color, the color of the eggplant. Then I remember going to work one day in a purple pantsuit; it's been a long time ok And one of my colleagues described it as "eggplant", and I think that's the first time I've ever heard someone say that word. He had read it but I didn't hear anyone say it. Yes, and it was the color of an eggplant. It was a strange purple.


(Video) British and American Compare Accents For The First Time!

Nelson:Forgot what the word for zucchini is?


Nelson:Right. I have never heard an American speaker say that word unless he was influenced by Britain. In an American dictionary, the dictionary authors said that "nitch" was actually an older pronunciation and that they speculated that the "neesh" pronunciation was some kind of fad, I think, or not just a French influence, but a French influence. recent. French. But these days I think there are people in America who say "neesh" because maybe they were influenced by listening to British TV shows or English speakers saying "neesh." I still say "Nitch" and agree with you that the I-T-C-H sound sounds like a condition.

Amato:It's interesting that you mentioned Quiche, because actually, I would never say "Quitch."

Nelson:And this is a very good example of how we would proceed with a meal, whatever the French pronunciation.

Amato:Another thing about that. I actually looked up the pronunciation online and it actually said the UK, US pronunciation, but there were two little sound files for the US and one was "nitch" and the other was one I don't think that no one has heard. say. It actually said "finish" like N-I-S-H. So this was new.


Amato:So we've definitely found our niche with that conversation. We are on our way. Again, I'll start with Sam because one word I've heard all too often is "cool." If you were responding to good news, what would you say, brilliant or great? First, I think for you two, really, does anyone know where "cool" came from, and especially for Sam, was it something you found a lot of when you started working with publishers in the US?

Blanco:I think "unbelievable" is one of the most popular examples of when people talk about the nature of American cultural imperialism and the British start saying "great", probably in the late 90s as a result of TV or movies, or would be now It's social media and things like that. It is what resonates the most with people who want to defend pure English or British English. And I understand the anger, because to me, amazement, amazement, amazement, amazement, should be reserved for a very specific context.

I could marvel at an artist's ability to capture a landscape, or if I could see the Northern Lights, I would definitely be in awe. But just finding out that your team won this week or whatever doesn't surprise you, unless it's the championship final or whatever. So it's special, the one that makes people nervous, as we say here.

I would say, and I have found myself doing this the last few days, I would say "brilliant." "This is brilliant news," or there's a certain presenter here who is "incredible," which I really like because it's quite dramatic. He is very emphatic. And the contagion is there. I used "amazing" and then thought, "Ugh, that's not natural. It's not natural to my language."

And I think part of this is also a cultural thing, as British English speakers are often not comfortable showing as much enthusiasm as the word 'incredible' suggests for anything, and our reactions are a bit more guarded. So I would say "brilliant" is about as far as we can comfortably go in terms of praise or expression.

Nelson:However, it will be interesting for you to know that I read a linguist who wrote about "great" and found a reference in 1977, a letter to the editor where, what newspaper were you in? I forget. It wasLos Angeles TimesNewspaper in which a reader complained that people used the word "awesome" to mean something really good. And I was surprised that it was that far back, 1977. I mean, it might be bias on my part, but I don't think I've heard much before the '80s or even the late '80s, I resisted for a long time. time because it sounded like a buzz word. , a term linguists use for something that appears in the language and then suddenly explodes.

Anyway, the woman who wrote thisLos Angeles TimesI just didn't think "amazing" should be used because it means something that blows your mind; similar to the word horrible, which has almost the opposite meaning. When something is great, it is really great. If something is terrible, you fear it or you hate it. Another wonderful thing about English is that a root can go in two different directions.

Yesterday I used the word "awesome" with someone, but I was trying to talk to someone younger, so I thought, "Oh, I'll tell him what was cool so he understands what I mean, it was really cool." But I think that's a bit too much of a buzzword, but still.

Blanco:Very interesting what you said about buzzwords. I've never heard of the term as such, but I think that all words used to express something fabulous or great or whatever tend to change or at least go through a cycle very quickly. Because if you're thinking, I don't know, the '60s and '70s "cool," then "cool," then "fabulous," then "wicked." And I think it's regional too. When I went to school in London it was 'awesome' something would be 'awesome' whereas in the North West of England something would be called 'mint'.

And like you said about the younger person you spoke to, I'm not in touch with the newer ones that teens and 20-year-olds are wearing right now, but they certainly wouldn't be the ones I would wear.

(Video) Pronunciation Differences in British and American English - 60 Words #britishandamericanenglish

Amato:I have heard "mint" several times. I can't remember the setting, but when I first heard it, I was like, wow, what? This is a synonym for "incredible." Why can't you just use awesome?

Nelson:Oh amazing!

Amato:Yes of course. I don't think I have anything else to say other than to say that my extensive research, which consisted of looking up the word on the wikipedia page, said that it was first used because it was in a 1970 movie that I think was called Torah. ! Trunk! Trunk!" It was about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Nelson:And it was great"? Hmm.


Nelson:It was a big movie in 1970. I remember it being very, very popular, but it was also one of those movies where he was popular because he was so big. It was a great movie. But I'm really surprised that he came across "amazing" in this movie because it wasn't a teen movie.

Amato:Interesting. Let me say that we are shooting on October 1, 2020. We are definitely in the era of social distancing. The last time we recorded this show, Pam and I were in our office in Durham, North Carolina, and we were talking to Sam over Zoom. This time I'm at my house, Pam is at her house, Sam is at her house. So here we are all separately for this recording. In the age of social distancing, people on both sides of the Atlantic need to know and understand the word 'queue', which is Q-U-E-U-E. What else would you like to say about the word "tail" or "tail to tail"?

Nelson:I think this is a British term that has really moved beyond American usage. I think people say, and part of that might be because of computer language, because when you're talking about something, a lot of the things that a computer does is called a queue, so I think going in is our job. at the Association, our list of stories we are working on on the computer is a queue. And then I think it came into use. But I don't know if it's very common for people to say "I'm in the coffee line" instead of "in the coffee line." I think this probably doesn't happen that often. But it is becoming a bit more common in the United States.

So I'm going to talk about the rabbit hole that I fell down when I started, because I think the first time I heard queuing in this use, not as a pool cue, but as a queuing for a line, was in an old Western on TV and there was a Chinese character in the late 19th century and many Chinese came to work on the railway. And, of course, it was about how they were treated badly and the terrible prejudice people had towards the Chinese. But they had, I'll show you now, but they had the hairstyle where the man had a long braid that went down the back from the top of his head to his back, and in westerns they called it a braid, and I think that was the plot point that someone cut your braid, cut your braid.

That's all to say the first time I think I heard the word "cola" and it's from Latin, it went into French, which was a French term and it came from Latin, fromKoda, and that's the Latin word for "tail," T-A-I-L. And you see it again in a coda in a piece of music; It comes at the end of a piece of music. So I began to wonder if this is related to the code as in the Tax Code and the Code of Conduct and there is a similar word. It is a code that is literally the trunk of a tree, but it is also a book. So from there, the code came from that line and not from the other line leading to the queue.

Anyway, a tail is literally a line, so I think the British got it from the French and now may or may not be getting a little more out of the UK, but what's interesting to me, I love the etymology of anyway, but it was really interesting to me that it literally comes from the word "tail" and therefore the word "tail" passed into French and then into English.


Blanco:Fascinating, so you took from Latin, French, all the different influences, and what reminded me when you said that the codex is in the museum of anthropology in Mexico City, there are the Mayan codices, so all the writing and hieroglyphic writing Maya. known as Codex. So yes, we can always bring more cultures.

Amato:Any more thoughts on queues or queues?

Blanco:Apart from the fact that it's hardwired into British DNA to queue and if you're waiting for a bus or something and queuing isn't respected, it seems like a personal insult, then yes.

Amato:Oh you mean when you're standing at a bus stop and instead of just walking there has to be a proper queue for there to be an order if there aren't enough seats on the bus?

Blanco:Absolute, eg.

(Video) Europeans were Shocked by British and American English Differences!!

Nelson:Right. Would you say someone crossed the line if...

Blanco:Absolute, eg.

Nelson:We would say "broken line". If someone got in line before another, he would break the line, and we don't like that either. And it is also the difference between online and online. And I went online, wouldn't you say it's more of an upstate thing, Neil? I think people in Brooklyn would say, "I stood in line" instead of "I stood in line."

Amato:I've definitely heard both. I'm not sure I can narrow it down to Brooklyn, but I know I heard it.

Nelson:Maybe I'm just saying the northeast part up there.

Amato:Here is one that appeared recently. Someone pointed out some differences to me. I've noticed when someone in the US says "I need to call you" they can say "I'll call you back" or "I'll get back to him". I've noticed the usage among my UK colleagues is "this person hasn't contacted me" or "he hasn't contacted you yet". You didn't respond." So it's a small difference, but something I noticed. Sam, do you have anything to say about this?

Blanco:Personally, I think it would make a difference in meaning between the two terms. I'd say "get in touch" is too vague a commitment for me, with no set deadline. So if someone calls you about a job you posted and they apply for the job or something, and you do but you're not really interested or something, you can say, "I'll get in touch," as in 'Get out of my phone line, please'. But there is no obligation. "Let me come back to you" is more concrete, more committed to me. At least it implies that I intend to do something. find out the answer to your question and it will inform you. So there is a more concrete type of action.

Amato:Got it. And with "I'll get back to you", "I'll get back to you", "I'll get back to you", the word "revert" is probably used as well. Sam, do you have any idea about the use of that word?

Blanco:To me, the word "return" means that something goes back to a previous state. However, the Cambridge Dictionary refers to it as an example of Indian English. Using it in this context to respond seems quite technical, unnatural, like a chatbot talking to you. But it would certainly make sense for Indian English terms to become more widespread in use, especially in the business environment with call centers and all the tech companies and everything else, software, considering there are at least 125 million speakers. of English in India. So some oncoming traffic, some British and American English influence, would make a lot of sense.

The one I found by googling is quite intriguing. Apparently, in Indian English they use "prepone" as the opposite - quite a useful invention - of "postpone". So, to fill a meaning gap: "Let's move on." And as a journalist who always works on time, of course, anticipating a meeting fills me with horror, so please don't submit anything.

But yes, I found this invention to fill a gap where there was not a word, let's say not a single word, it was really very interesting.

Amato:So, basically, you're saying that if a meeting was booked or scheduled for noon on Friday, could you move it up to 2:00 p.m. m. from Thursday?

Blanco:Yes, and that would be terrible.

Amato:I agree.

Nelson:I think it's great that English is constantly changing, that there are always new influences from other languages ​​or just different variants of English. It's good, I think, we have some English, although it also filled me with anxiety preparing a meeting. I think this is terrible.

Blanco:In fact.

Amato:This could be on my language bingo list, it's something I've talked about but don't play often. So I hope people don't criticize us for choosing that word and when I say poke I mean criticize or smash or hit us and I'm kidding about that. I didn't know that word could be a verb in that sense, as in "One shouldn't pawn someone who is late for a meeting in the pandemic era." They have no idea what their schedule is like while they are at home.” Sam, more on this?

(Video) American vs. British English - Vowel Sounds - Pronunciation differences

Nelson:I just wanted to say that this is a perfect example of how this word is used, but I hadn't heard of it either, so I'm excited to explain a bit more about it.

Blanco:So, to use the word "slate" as a verb, this is what I think of when someone talks about a new movie that just came out and says, "Oh, it was announced in the press." It could be a book, a movie, a play, and it got horrible reviews. That's the immediate connotation I have for it. You could fuck someone up, but it's more of a fucked up thing, I'd say.

And the other use would be in a bar or restaurant when you say, "Oh, put this on my whiteboard." It's just a bill or invoice that needs to be paid later, and that's because back in the day there would literally be a piece of blackboard that the bar or restaurant owner would have scratched off his bill and kept track of what he spent. and how much. you owed them a lot

Nelson:If you said "chalk," that's exactly what it means. So when someone says, "I blamed it on his stupidity or something," it's like writing on a blackboard with a piece of chalk. As an editor, I sometimes come across the fact that people write like "Surprise", C-H-O-C-K, and I want to get paid every time I fix that in a story. That would be great. I think people hear it that way, and "cut" is of course an entirely different thing. It's like lifting something on a wedge or a piece of wood or something.

Anyway, sorry to miss it, but "chalk" is just one of those phrases that keeps coming up, and I wish I could explain to people that it's written on a blackboard with a piece of chalk.

Blanco:What students were doing here well into the 20th century, actually into the middle of the 20th century. But just to extend that tangent, we attribute a lot of things to experience, or if you try something and it goes wrong, it's like, "Oh Oh , put it down to experience, to experience. We're going to learn from this. We're making progress." And what you said about the wedge, that chalk-for-wedge misunderstanding, here we use wedge for block. When it's like, "Oh yeah, I was at the supermarket, but it was full and I had to leave."

Nelson:Yeah, that's a great term, filler.

Amato:And does that really mean it was too full?

Blanco:Yeah, it's basically wall to wall people.

Amato:We will end with a word that I have always liked. I don't think I use it much. I think I know what it means, but Pam Nelson will explain it in more detail. The word is shocking or being shocked.

Nelson:Okay, that means you're speechless, something made you speechless, and that can be good or bad I guess. From the etymology I've been looking at, it comes from a British word-of-mouth slang, "gob", and from World Wide Words, an online site, a blog that a colleague used to run and was long Marvelous. It's a bit removed now, but the entries are still there, and it talks about "gob" which is slang for the North of England and Scotland, gob, and then the verb smacked, so if anyone is totally surprised.

That's a word I think comes up a lot in US English when people talk about being dumbstruck, and we've probably heard it on UK TV. I'm not sure. I couldn't find it for sure. In a way, it's almost onomatopoeic because it says almost exactly what it is. If you're flabbergasted, I'm gesturing again now so you don't see anything on the podcast other than a palm-to-face gesture.

Anyway, I think British slang has something to do with it, because apparently "gob" isn't a word a decent person would use all the time. Sometimes the meaning seems too low, but "bewildered" even sounds a bit high to me as an American listener, perhaps because I associate it with the British.

Blanco:I agree with what you say about onomatopoeia. It's really powerful. It's quite cathartic to say, "I'm in awe."

Similarly, I looked up the Macmillan dictionary and it says there's written evidence that it's been in use since the 1930s, but it's been in spoken slang for much longer. And 'gob' as you say, my mum scolded me for using the word 'gob' because it's not pronounced correctly, but it seems to be Irish and Scottish Gaelic and means 'mouth', so come on. But it's pretty colloquial here, but I think it's probably used more often now.

Amato:Thanks Pam and Sam. That was excellent. I really appreciate her time. I tell listeners that I hope it was a great step through on that nitch or neesh issue and that everyone is really surprised and shares with their friends instead of judging our choices. Thanks again.

Blanco:Fabulous. Thanks a lot.

(Video) British English vs American English

Nelson:Thanks a lot.


How does British English differ from American English in pronunciation and word usage? ›

British English and American sound noticeably different. The most obvious difference is the way the letter r is pronounced. In British English, when r comes after a vowel in the same syllable (as in car, hard, or market), the r is not pronounced. In American English the r is pronounced.

What is the most noticeable difference between American and British English? ›

The most noticeable difference between American and British English is vocabulary. There are hundreds of everyday words that are different. For example, Brits call the front of a car the bonnet, while Americans call it the hood. Americans go on vacation, while Brits go on holidays, or hols.

What is surprise in British accent? ›

Traditional IPA: səˈpraɪz. 2 syllables: "suh" + "PRYZ"

What words do British say differently than American? ›

Here are some of the more common variations.
  • Brits use "re" while Americans use "er." ...
  • Brits add a "u" where Americans don't. ...
  • The Brits often use an extra "l." ...
  • Americans use a "c" or "z" where Brits use an "s." ...
  • Americans drop the "e" before "ment" in words like "judgment." ...
  • Aluminum/Aluminium. ...
  • Ate. ...
  • Herbal.
Aug 31, 2018

Did British English used to sound like American English? ›

At the end of the 18th century (1776), whether you were declaring independence from the British crown or swearing loyalty to King George III, your pronunciation would have been about the same. Back in those days, the American and British accents hadn't yet got distanced.

Is British English more correct than American English? ›

British English is 'correct' where it is spoken, and American or Australian English is correct in those areas of the world. While it might not seem clean and neat to have so many 'correct' versions of a language, that's just the way it is. Of course, all of these versions of English are perfectly interchangeable.

What American words do British people not understand? ›

In this article, we present eight American words British people don't understand!
  • Bangs.
  • Crosswalk.
  • Mad.
  • Pacifier.
  • Pants.
  • Pissed.
  • Take a rain check.
  • The 411.
Nov 29, 2022

Is British or American accent more useful? ›

At last , it can be said that American accent is widely used than the British accent . Although the British accent is harder to understand than the American accent , but still it has some royal flavour with glamorous essence . It is always suggested that both the accents are good and beautiful .

What are the four differences between American and British English? ›

British English is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom. Differences between American and British English include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, punctuation, idioms, and formatting of dates and numbers.

How do you express surprise in English? ›

Ways of saying that you are surprised or shocked - thesaurus
  1. funnily enough. phrase. ...
  2. you don't say. phrase. ...
  3. heavens above. phrase. ...
  4. Well, I never (did) phrase. ...
  5. is that a fact? phrase. ...
  6. you would not believe. phrase. ...
  7. of all things/people/places. phrase. ...
  8. now I've seen everything/it all. phrase.

What is the phonetic Pronunciation of surprised? ›

/sUHprIEzd/phonetic spelling.

What is a poor British accent called? ›

Perhaps the most famous British accent other than R.P. is Cockney. It developed as the dialect of the poorer working classes in the East End of London, and it's still regarded as a marker of 'true' East London heritage.

What words can British not say? ›

Words like half (and similarly, calf) are difficult for Brits to say in an American accent, mainly because the 'a' sound is so vastly different from what they are used to. So instead of saying HAAHF, they should be pronouncing it HAY-AHF.

What is a toilet zip in England? ›

British vs American Vocabulary
British English ↕American English ↕
postcodezip code
postmanmailman, mail carrier, letter carrier
public toiletrest room, public bathroom
100 more rows

What is the most British word to say? ›

20 of the Most Common British Slang Words
  • Fit (adj) So, in the UK fit doesn't just mean that you go to the gym a lot. ...
  • Loo (noun) ...
  • Dodgy (adj) ...
  • Proper (adj) ...
  • Knackered (adj) ...
  • Quid (noun) ...
  • Skint (noun) ...
  • To Skive (verb) Skiver (noun)
Jun 20, 2019

Why did America lose their British accent? ›

The first is isolation; early colonists had only sporadic contact with the mother country. The second is exposure to other languages, and the colonists came into contact with Native American languages, mariners' Indian English pidgin and other settlers, who spoke Dutch, Swedish, French and Spanish.

When did Americans lose their British accent? ›

Most scholars have roughly located “split off” point between American and British English as the mid-18th-Century. There are some clear exceptions.

Why do Brits sound like that? ›

But after the Revolutionary War, upper-class and upper-middle-class citizens in England began using non-rhotic speech as a way to show their social status. Eventually, this became standard for Received Pronunciation and spread throughout the country, affecting even the most popular British phrases.

Which country speaks most grammatically correct English? ›

Top 10 Countries that Speak English the Best!
  • Singapore.
  • Norway.
  • Denmark.
  • South Africa.
  • Luxemburg.
  • Finland.
  • Slovenia.
  • Germany.

Who speaks the clearest English? ›

The Netherlands has emerged as the nation with the highest English language proficiency, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, with a score of 72.

Why is British better than American English? ›

Firstly, it is because the British version is a classic universally recognized version of the English language. Secondly, the British version is richer and more diverse than American English. Thirdly, if you choose to study British English, you will form the most complete understanding of the grammar.

What are things only British people say? ›

50 Must-Know British Slang Words and Phrases
  • Bloke. “Bloke” would be the American English equivalent of “dude.” It means a "man."
  • Lad. In the same vein as “bloke,” “lad” is used, however, for boys and younger men.
  • Bonkers. ...
  • Daft. ...
  • To leg it. ...
  • Trollied / Plastered. ...
  • Quid. ...
  • Dodgy.

What is something only British people say? ›

I'm knackered – I'm tired. Cheeky – Mischievous or playful. Bloody – This is a very British thing to say – meaning very. I'm pissed – Not meaning the regular “angry”, in British talk it actually means you're very drunk and is used quite a lot when you are out drinking with friends.

What words do Americans struggle to say? ›

Here are the top 30 words Americans struggle to pronounce
  • affidavit [af-i-dey-vit]
  • almond [ah-muh nd, am-uh nd]
  • beget [bih-get]
  • cache [kash]
  • caramel [kar-uh-muh l, -mel, kahr-muh l]
  • coupon [koo-pon, kyoo-]
  • croissant [French krwah-sahn; English kruh-sahnt]
  • epitome [ih-pit-uh-mee]
Aug 31, 2016

What is the most accurate English accent? ›

Some people believe that RP (Received Pronunciation) is the most standard or general accent in British English. Many EFL (English as a Foreign Language) schools teach it because it is supposed to be the most “polished” pronunciation.

Which accent is hardest to understand? ›

The Great British accent proved to be the most difficult of all the accents to imitate – along with the regional Yorkshire and Cockney pronunciations, in particular.

Which accent is easiest to understand? ›

Option 1: the American accent

The most popular English accent of them all. Spread around the world by American cinema, music, television and more than 350 million North Americans (including Canadians, eh), this is the easiest accent for most people to understand, whether native speakers or non-native speakers.

Which intonation is used for surprise? ›

Intonation for Surprise and Exclamation

There is one type of open question that does use a rising pitch at the end. An open question that expresses surprise or disbelief uses a rising intonation in English.

How do you express surprise and disbelief in English? ›

A fashionable way of expressing surprise and disbelief in English is to say “Are you serious?” or “Are you for real?”. Serious means to act or speak sincerely and in earnest, rather than in a joking manner. For real is used to show that something is real, genuine, or serious.

What do people say when they're surprised? ›

', 'Oh dear! ', and 'Oh no! ' for showing an emotion such as surprise, fear, or disappointment. A lot of people may say 'Oh God' , but it offends some people.

Do we pronounce the r in Surprise? ›

There is only one generally accepted spelling of surprise: two r's and two s's in total. Spelling the word without the first r—suprise—is an easy mistake to make. We often don't pronounce the first r, suh-prize, which might lead you to think that there's no r there at all.

Which set of words is pronounced as ʒ? ›

Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /ʒ/ include the following: equation - usually. ending in "sion": conclusion - confusion - decision - division - occasion - provision - television - vision.

What is the least attractive accent in England? ›

The Cornish accent is apparently not everyone's cup of tea and was recently voted the least sexy accent in the UK. A poll, which aimed to find the UK's sexiest accent, was carried out by the dating app Match. Outrageously, 87% of the 2,300 participants voted that the Cornish accent is not sexy.

What is the least attractive English accent? ›

The Birmingham accent is considered the least attractive accent in the British Isles – and Southern Irish the most appealing. A quick analysis of English dialects shows that there are roughly as many in the British Isles as there are in the whole of North America – including Canada, Bermuda and Native American dialects ...

What do Brits call drunk? ›

Pissed / Pished

Strictly speaking, “pissed” (or “pished” in Scotland) is a swear word and you shouldn't use it in a formal, professional or school context. However it is probably the most commonly used word in the UK to describe being drunk. If you spend any time in the UK, you will hear it all the time.

What is considered rude in British? ›

It is considered very rude to push ahead in a line. Do not shout or be loud in public places and don't use excessive, demonstrative hand gestures when speaking. Staring is considered impolite. Do not be too casual, especially with the English language.

What is the coolest English accent? ›

British accent has been rated as the most attractive English accent in the world, according to a new survey by the CEOWORLD magazine.
These Are The Most Attractive English Accents In The World:
RankEnglish AccentScore
27 more rows
Jul 27, 2018

What do the British call a TV? ›

Word forms: tellies

A telly is a television.

What do the British call what Americans call cookies? ›

To most of the rest of the English-speaking world, a biscuit is what Americans would refer to as either a cookie or a cracker. Biscuits can be sweet (shortbread) or savory. They're baked in the oven, and they're crisp, not chewy.

What is a diaper called in England? ›

Diaper is what they use in North America, and Nappy is the word used in the UK & Ireland, Australia, NZ and many other Commonwealth countries.

How do Brits say good morning? ›

Bore da (bore-eh-dah) - Good Morning. Nos Da - Good Night. Diolch (dee-olch) ("ch" pronounced like gargling water) - Thank you.

What is British slang for hello? ›

'Hiya' or 'Hey up' – these informal greetings both mean 'hello' and are especially popular in the north of England.

What do Brits say instead of awesome? ›

8. Dynamite/Wicked. Dynamite is used for awesome and cool. Wicked too is used to convey the same meaning.

How do you say words in a British accent? ›

You've probably heard lots of people saying “Oh, they have a British accent!” or “they speak with a British accent”.
Words that are pronounced differently in the UK and in the US.
WordUK pronunciationUS pronunciation
7 more rows
Nov 10, 2022

What are the hardest words to say in a British accent? ›

The Most Difficult English Words
  • British pronunciation: thur-er. American pronunciation: ther-ow. Exactly. ...
  • Pronounced: mer-der-rer. Worcestershire. Ah Worcestershire, the infamous sauce that no one knows how to pronounce. ...
  • Pronounced: luff-ber-er. Debt. The 'b' is silent everyone! ...
  • Pronounced: however you like. Squirrel.
Jun 12, 2019

What is the cutest English accent? ›

According to a recent poll in the Independent, the British accent has been chosen as being the most attractive accent in the world, beating the French accent which was once know as the loveliest accent.

Is the R in surprise pronounced? ›

And don't forget, there are two letter r's in the word. Some people say sur-prise. Others may say “sup-prise,” but both likely pronounce that second r.

What accents are most attractive to Americans? › reports British accents were favored among foreign accents for both men and women. The study reported more than half of the respondents (52%) said they like the accent, with it also topping the list of sexiest and most trustworthy accents in the world, according to American respondents.

What is the friendliest British accent? ›

That's because the Yorkshire accent was ranked the friendliest of all British Isles accents in a poll commissioned by Betfair Casinos. It topped the friendly poll above the Geordie, Scottish, Welsh and Irish accents.

What is the most clear English accent? ›

Some people believe that RP (Received Pronunciation) is the most standard or general accent in British English. Many EFL (English as a Foreign Language) schools teach it because it is supposed to be the most “polished” pronunciation. It is typically referred to as “Queen's English” or “BBC English”.

What is the difference between surprise and surprize? ›

The correct way to spell the word is spelled as “Surprise.” The spelling ”Surprize” was once an alternative spelling. However, it is very rarely used nowadays. The spelling “Suprise” is not an acceptable way to spell the word “Surprise,” “Suprise,” and “Surprize” sound the same.

What accent Cannot say R? ›

What is rhotacism? Rhotacism is a speech impediment that is defined by the lack of ability, or difficulty in, pronouncing the sound R. Some speech pathologists, those who work with speech impediments may call this impediment de-rhotacization because the sounds don't become rhotic, rather they lose their rhotic quality.

Why can't British pronounce the letter R? ›

British English is non-rhotic. The letter "r" is not pronounced after vowels, unless it is also followed by a vowel. The letter r can indicate a change in the quality of the vowel that precedes it. So "hard" /hɑːd/" but "had" /hæd/.


1. British English Vs American English Spelling
(British English Online)
2. How to Say Surprise | British Pronunciation | Learn English
(Britlish - British English Lessons)
3. British VS. American Pronunciation Differences
(Lost in the Pond)
4. English Sentences for Daily Use with American and British Pronunciations
(Daily English Phrases)
(Chona Masongsong)
6. doing an American accent in front of my American fiancée #shorts
(Sam and Monica)


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