Takeaway give away 2: Is it a film? Is it a movie? No! It’s just a cultural variation.

Hi everyone,

BritishvAmerican Today is a beautiful day in Barcelona; the sun is shining, the birds are singing and I started thinking about the upcoming holidays. Then it occurred to me that I’m only thinking about holidays because I’m British. Americans, you see, don’t think about holidays* – not because they don’t like beaches, ski resorts or drinks served with little umbrellas in them, no – they think about vacations. Also, Americans say pants when they mean trousers. Which is ridiculous.

It’s time then for another freebie courtesy of your friends over here at Yes’N’You. This time it’s a comparison between British and American English. Irish playwright and forthright social commentator GBShawGeorge Bernard Shaw once wrote that Britain and America are “Two countries divided by a common language”. Shaw remains the only person ever to have received the Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), so he seems to have known a thing or two about straddling the divide between Europe and the Americas.

AmericanvBritishproblemSpeaking of the Oscars, the most obvious variation between British English and American English in my life is that British people tend to call films ‘films’ while American people tend to call films ‘movies’. I’m British, but I’ve watched so many American films during my life that I am now prone to calling them movies. Frankly, I don’t feel too much of a difference. Transformers is still one of the best films, or movies, ever made, whatever you call it.

You can download the printable Takeaway by clicking on this link:

A Pocket Guide to US vs UK English

AmericanvBritishfloorsOf course, as per usual, in the business world you do have to be a bit more careful; dates, for example, are written back to front: 11/03/14 would be the 11th of March in British English, and the 3rd of November in American English. Nouns and idioms will not be recognized by one or the other. Even the floors of buildings are differently named. It’s just daft.

 So take a look at our chuleta, and prepare yourself for the next time you find yourself divided by a common language.

All the best,



Upcoming = arriving soon, about to happen
Freebie = a thing that is free
Playwright = a person who writes plays for the theatre
Forthright = brutally honest
Straddling = having one foot either side of, as in “in order to ride a horse, one must straddle it”.
Prone = to have a tendency to do something
Daft = silly

* In fact, this isn’t 100% true. Americans often refer to specific celebrations during the year as ‘holidays’. Christmas, for example, is often refered to as ‘the holiday season’, and American students will often say “I’m going home for the holidays”. British people will refer to Christmas as “The Festive Season”. Which is confusing.

And finally, if you were wondering which of the little bears in the building was British, it was the green one. Yeah. The green one. I’m disgusted.

Un Retroenlace

  1. Por YESNYOU – The Love of Learning en 10/11/2015 a 14:00

    […] The second free downloadable pocket guide to English – British vs American English […]

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