Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to introduce some common differences in vocabulary between British English and American English. For this lesson, yes, I'm saying British English but some of the words in the British English column are also used in other places outside the U.K. You might hear this in like Australian English or Scottish English or Irish English, but I just want to introduce some different vocabulary words you might hear in different parts of the world from different speakers of English. Let's get started.
Okay. First one, over here, let's begin with the British English word "lift." The British English word is "lift." The American English word we use is "elevator." Take the lift or take the elevator in American English, which I speak. The next difference is the word "petrol." "Petrol" is the British English word. The American English word is "gas or gasoline." "Gasoline" is quite long. We shorten it to "gas." But "gas" in American English and "petrol" in British English have the same meaning.
Okay. Next one. The British English word "flat" as a noun, used as a noun, not used as an adjective, like a flat area or a flat space. As a noun is the equivalent, equals, American English, "apartment." We use the word "apartment" to talk about a place we live, the apartment we rent. In British English, the word "flat" is used or can be used.
Okay. The next key difference then, the American word, we use the word "vacation" for this, but you'll hear "holiday" used in British English to talk about time away from work, "To take a holiday." We say, "To take vacation," in American English. "Holiday" is the British English word for this.
Also, the next word, for Americans, we use the word "parking lot" to talk about a place to park our car. The British English word is "car park." "Let's find a car park," or, "Where is a car park?" The Americans will look for a parking lot. A little bit different.
Okay. Another interesting difference, British English, you might hear the word "chemist" used for what we say in American English as "drugstore" or "pharmacy." We use "drugstore" or "pharmacy" in American English to talk about a place where we get medicine, medicine or maybe everyday small like life goods or household goods perhaps, too. But usually, medicine. "Chemist" is used in British English to talk about this place.
Okay. Let's continue on to the next group. The first two here on this side are both about trash, are both about rubbish. When you talk about what we say in American English as the "garbage can" or the "trash can," you might hear "dustbin." You might hear this part, "bin," as well by itself. "Where's the bin?" or the dustbin or maybe rubbish bin as well. This relates to the next word, "rubbish," as a noun. We say, "Garbage" or "trash" in American English. British English also uses the word "rubbish." "Rubbish" is not commonly used in American English but very commonly used in British English.
Okay. Another one is the word "motorway." "Motorway" in British English equals in American English, "highway" or "freeway." This is the high speed road, like the lots of cars travel on, usually, quite large. We say "highway" or "freeway" in American English. British English uses "motorway."
All right. Another maybe confusing one sometimes is the difference between "torch" and "flashlight." Actually, there's no difference. But to even American English speakers, this can cause some confusion. "Torch" just means a flashlight, that handheld light that you can use. The British English word is "torch." The American English word is "flashlight."
Okay. Next one, another important one to keep in mind, the word in British English for the clothing you wear under your regular clothes is "pants." We can use the word "pants" to talk about our "underwear." We use "underwear" in American English, but "pants" can be used in British English to talk about that. In American English, like what I'm wearing now today, I would say "pants." I would describe these as "pants" in American English. But this could be understood in British English to mean "underwear" if I say "pants." Please be careful about your use of pants and underwear in American and British English.
Okay. Next one. The next one is "tube" in British English and "subway" in American English. These two words, they refer to the public transportation system underground. Americans use the "subway," like the New York subway system. In London, it's the "tube." I mean, we can use "subway" but "tube" is also used to refer to the subway system in London, so the "tube."
Last one I want to mention since we talked about tube here is a verb difference "to mind, to mind something." "To mind something" is used more commonly in British English. We can use it in American English but it's not so typical. We use "to be careful of" or "to watch out for something." I included this because if you have visited London, you might have heard the announcements on the subway platform that say, "Mind the gap between the train and the platform." We wouldn't say this in American English. We would probably say, "Watch your step." Meaning, be careful of where you put your feet. In British English in London in the tube, for example, we say, or we hear, "To mind the gap, mind the gap." Be careful of the gap between the train and the platform. This is a verb difference here.
These are some common nouns that you may hear in British English or in American English and they have the same meaning, we just use different vocabulary words to describe them. I hope that this was helpful for you, and you can keep an eye out for this the next time you're reading or listening to something that's in a kind of English that's a bit different from what you've studied before. I hope that that was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments or want to try to make a sentence with these, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye.

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