Usage Difference: British & American!

Usage Differences: British & American English!

Section C

[some important differences in the usage and grammar]

The differences highlighted in this section C are not absolute.  Many speakers of British English use American expressions and vice versa!


There are some PREPOSITIONS which differ in form in the two varieties in certain expression:

British —   American

aim at —  aim to


behind  —  in back of


I put the car behind the shed. [British]

I put the car in back of the shed.  [American]


out of —  out


She threw her bag out of the window.  [British]

She threw her bag out the window.  [American]


round [British]

around [American]


We live just round the corner.   [British]

We live just around the corner.   [American]


to hand in (a ticket, papers, etc.)  —  to hand


to battle with/against —  to battle


to cater for  — to cater to


to check up on —  to check out


to fill in  — to fill out/up


to meet (someone)  —  to meet with


to be mad with (someone)  —  to be mad at


to protest at/against/over (a decision)  —  to protest


to stop (someone doing something)  —  to stop from


to talk to (someone)  —  to talk with/to


up to and include  —  through/thru


Rows ‘F’ up to and including ‘J’ are reserved for handicapped.  [British]

Rows ‘F’ thru ‘J’ are reserved for handicapped.   [American]


to be in a team  —  to be on a team


to live in a street/in a road  —  to live on a street/on a road


to be in a sale  —  to be on sale

“On sale” in British English simply means ‘for sale’.


different from (or sometimes to)  —  different than


(something is done…)

on January 1stJanuary 1

{said: on January the first}  —  {said: January first}


The sale started on January the first.   [British]

The sale started January first.   [American]

I will see them on Sunday.   [British]

I will see them Sunday.         [American]

I met him at the weekend.   [British]

I met him on the weekend.   [American]

On Saturdays she goes to her club.   [British]

Saturday she goes to her club.            [American]

He works by day and studies at night.   [British]

He works days and studies nights.          [American]

There is a party on Sunday next.   [British]

There is a party next Sunday.        [American]

You are given a week this Tuesday to finish the job.   [British]

You are given a week from this Tuesday to finish the job.   [American]

I haven’t seen them for weeks.   [British]

I haven’t seen them in weeks.     [American]

The aeroplane departed from London.   [British]

The airplane departed London.               [American]


There are differences in ways of expressing ‘time’ in British and American English:


5:05       five past five

5:30       half past five/half five

5:45       a quarter to six

5:55       five to six


5:05       five after five

5:30       half after five

5:45       a quarter of/to/till six

5:55 five of six


There are some variations in the usage of ARTICLES:



to be in hospital (as a patient)

to be at table (dining table)

to be at university (as a student)

to be in a class

to go to a class



to be in the hospital

to be at the table

to be at a/the university

to be in class

to go to class

a sunburn


in future  [British]

in the future  [Amrican]


In future, I’d like you to be punctual.  [British]

In the future, I’d like you to be punctual.   [American]

For the phrase ‘in future’ denoting a “future event”, both varieties use the article ‘the’!


The vegetable ‘lettuce’ can be used both as a countable and an uncountable noun in British English; however, it is used only as uncountable in American English and takes a quantifier to indicate quantity:


I like lettuce.

I cooked a lettuce.

I cooked two lettuces.


I like lettuce.

I cooked a head of lettuce.

I cooked two heads of lettuce.


There are some differences between British and American uses of certain verbs. “Have” is used as a Main Verb, and an Auxiliary (helping) Verb is used with Interrogative and Negative sentences in American English, whereas, no Auxiliary Verb is used in the British English:


Have you got the time?

Has he got a car?(informal)

Has he a car? (formal)

Have you any money on you? (formal)

Have you got any money on you? (informal)

Yes, I have.

No, I haven’t.


Do you have the time?

Does he have an automobile?

Do you have any money on you?

Yes, I do.  — No, I don’t.


The verbs ‘dare’ and ‘need’ are less commonly used as Modal Auxiliary Verbs in American English:


I daren’t do it.

You needn’t go there.

Need you be so rude?


I don’t dare do it.

You don’t have to go there.

Do you need to be so rude?


There is a tendency not to use “ought to” and “used to” as Modal Auxiliaries in American English:

Ought I to go?  [British]

I oughtn’t to have gone.   [British]

*He usedn’t to be cross.   [British]

Should I go?    [American]

I shouldn’t have gone.  [American]

He didn’t use to be cross.  [American]

*It is to be noted that many British English speakers prefer ‘didn’t use’ to “usedn’t to”!


In American English, ‘will’ is more commonly used than “shall”, and the verb “shall” is tending to be limited to proclamations and suggestions, for example, ‘There shall be…’ and ‘Shall we?’, etc.:


I shan’t do it.

We shall have to leave.


I won’t do it.

We will have to leave.


The speakers of American English are less likely to use “to infinitive” and sometimes ‘and’ after such verbs as ‘come’, ‘go’, ‘help’ and ‘order’:


Come to see me next week.

They’ll come to see you soon.

He went to give it back.

You should help to clean the room.

Go and mend the car now.


Come (and) see me next week.

They’ll come see you soon.

He went and gave it back.

You should help clean it.

Go fix the automobile now.


There is a tendency to use more Subjunctive Mood in American English:

They advised them that he should be set free.  [British]

They advised them that he be set free.  [British]

It is important for him to be notified.  [American]

It is important that he be notified.  [American]


The speakers of American English tend to use the “simple past tense” form of the Verb for recently completed events, whereas the speakers of British English prefer ‘present perfect tense’ form:

So she has finally arrived?                       So she finally arrived!

Have you finished it yet?                                  Did you finish it yet?

We have seen it already.                                    We saw it already.


Some noun forms – singular and plural – and some pronouns are used differently in American English and British English.  Some common variations are:


Inning”, the period of time in which a team game is divided, has the plural form “innings” in American English.  In British English, however, the singular form “innings” and the same form is used as plural:


There is one innings left to play.   [British]

There is one inning left to play.    [American]

There are two innings in a Test Cricket game.   [British]

There are two innings in a Test Cricket game.   [American]


Although the word “accommodation” is an abstract uncountable noun in both varieties, it is used as plural in American English:


Cheap accommodation is hard to find in this city.   [British]

Cheap accommodations are hard to find in this city.  [American]


The speakers of British English tend to use the pronoun ‘one’ to indicate “any person”, but the speakers of American English prefer to used “you” in such contexts.  However, when American English speakers use ‘one’ they use “he/she” or ‘you’ in some cases in the other part (subsequent clause) of the sentence:


One should do as one is told.   [British]

One should do what he/she is told.   [American]

One can’t be too careful all the time, can one?   [British]

One can’t be too careful all the time, can you? [American]


The pronoun “one another” is preferred in British English and “each other” in American English:


We really loved one another deeply.   [British]

We really loved each other deeply.      [American]

In British English, however, there is a rule which says: use “one another” when the persons involved are more than two; but when the persons involved are only two, use “each other”.  Therefore, we understand that we have to use “one another” or “each other” depending on the context and people involved!


The pronoun “it” is omitted in some expressions in British English:

The soup has cabbage in.  [British]

The soup has cabbage in it.  [American]

He wants some white paper with lines on. [British]

He wants some white paper with lines on it.  [American]

That jacket has a button off.  [British]

That jacket has a button off it.  [American]

I would like toast with butter on.  [British]

I would like toast with butter on it.  [American]


Some important miscellaneous points:


When referring to someone’s living quarters, the American speakers use the modifier form with noun while the British speakers use the nominal form:


Can she come round to yours today?   [British]

Can she come around to your place today?   [American]

We left hers about two hours ago.   [British]

We left her house about two hours ago.   [American]


In writing the names of the rivers, the speakers of American English use the name of the river before the actual word ‘River’, whereas, the speakers of British English use word ‘River’ before the actual name of the river:


the River Avon   [British]

the River Thames  [British]

the Hudson River    [American]

the Mississippi River   [American]


It is to be noted that there are a few rivers in America which have the word River before their actual names, and a couple of rivers in Britain which have the word River after their actual names; therefore, we are advised to check the list of rivers for better understanding!


In British English, the adverbs “directly” and “immediately” can function as subordinators.  In American English, however, they should modify a subordinating conjunction, such as ‘after’:


Immediately he went out, it began to rain.   [British]

Come to my office directly you arrive.        [British]

Immediately after he went out, it began to rain.   [American]

Come to my office directly after you arrive.        [American]


In the written standard, especially in newspaper writings, the personal attributes are placed after the name of the person in British English, whereas in American English they are placed before the name of the person, and often without the definite article:


Mike Tyson, the famous veteran boxer, won another match yesterday. [British]

Famous veteran boxer Mike Tyson won another match yesterday. [American]


There is some amount of confusion and overlap on the part of British and American English speakers with regard to the usage of certain words.  The common sets which need to be dealt separately are given below:

The American English usage is spreading among the British English speakers, especially among the young.


Bath” is used as a verb in British English to mean ‘to wash oneself or someone else’ usually in a bathtub.  The speakers of American English, however, would prefer “bathe” in such contexts, and also to mean ‘to give a bath to’ and ‘apply a liquid to something’ in order to clean, e.g. a wound.

Bathe” in British English is ‘to go swimming’ usually in the sea.  But this considered old-fashioned in the present usage.  The alternative expressions for the act of going for a swim is ‘go for a swim’, ‘have a swim’ or ‘go swimming’.


ill  —  sick (both words are related to bad health)

Ill” is the preferred usage in British English and covers the state of discomfort or nausea, short or long term bad health.

Sick” in British English is used to imply vomiting, a chronic bad health, and in such fixed expressions as ‘one sick leave’, ‘a sick joke’, etc.

In American English usage, “sick” covers a wider range of bad health than it does in British English, and has also been extended metaphorically to mean ‘tired of’:


He felt quite ill when he saw the dead lady.

She is seriously ill and there is no hope of recovery.

I am going to be sick.

He’s just been sick on the floor.  (vomited; threw up)

Our cook is on sick leave.

My brother is sick.

I’m sick to my stomach.

She is a sick woman.

I’m sick of chess.   (I’m sick of playing chess.)


like   —  as

In British English, “like” is a preposition and it is followed by a noun or a pronoun, and “as” is a subordinate conjunction and is followed by a clause. In American English, ‘like’ is often used as a conjunction, but this usage is considered to be wrong or loose colloquialism in British English:


She behaved like a mad person. [British]

Why has she talked like that?  [British]

Please do as she told you.   [British]

She goes for a walk as he (does).  [British]

She behaved like a mad person. [American]

Please do like she told you.  [American]

She goes for a walk like he (does).  [American]


lie  —  lay

When referring to the position of a land – the landscape – speakers of British English use “let”, whereas the speakers of American English prefer “lay”:


You have to study the lie of the land before trying to develop it. [British]

You got to study the lay of the land before trying to develop it. [American]


loan  —  lend

Loan” is a noun and “lend” is a verb in British English, though “loan” is used as a verb in formal situations implying a long period.  In American English, however, ‘loan’ is quite acceptable as a verb:


The Duke lent some of his paintings to the Art Gallery.  [British]

I have asked him for a loan of fifty pounds.  [American]

The oil tycoon loaned some of his paintings to the Art Gallery.  [American]


raise  —  rise   —  rear

Raise” as a verb in both the British and American English means ‘lift or set something in an upright position’ and “rise” means ‘to assume an upright position, to come up, to increase in size, volume, etc.’  However, these words have different distributions in British and American English. ‘Raise’ is a transitive verb and needs an object after it; ‘rise’ is an intransitive verb and does not need any object after it:

e.g.   raise – raised – raised     rise – rose – risen

He raised his hand. (‘his hand’ – a noun phrase – the object of the verb ‘raised’ – ‘raised’ – transitive verb)

He rose from his seat. ‘his seat – a  noun  phrase of the preposition — ‘from’; ‘rose’ – intransitive verb)

Raise” in American English can mean an increase in wages or in a gambling stake, and it can also be used to mean ‘to bring up, foster children


Her aunt raised her.

The staff got a raise of 15%.

But in British English, “rise” is preferred to mean ‘an increase in pay’, and word “rear” is used to mean ‘bring up, foster’.


She reared her family single-handed.

They have been promised a rise of 15%.


Although “raise” is not used as a noun in the normal sense in British English, there are a few place names that take it:


I live near Dunmail Raise.


speciality  —  specialty

Speciality” is the word more widely used in British English; “specialty” in American English.  In both varieties, “speciality” can mean (i) a particular quality or skill (ii) a branch of knowledge in which one specializes.

But ‘specialty’ (without the letter ‘i’) is the word used in American English to mean ‘a product for which a person or place is renowned’, whereas in British English, it is carried by “speciality”:


Mutton joint is the “speciality” of this restaurant.  [British]

Mutton roast is the ‘specialty’ of this restaurant.    [American]


thousand  —  million  —  billion

The symbol for ‘a thousand’ is “K”, for ‘a million’ is “m”, and for ‘a billion’ it is “bn”.  A ‘thousand’ is 1,000, i.e. the figure one is followed by three zeros; a ‘million’ is 1,000,000, i.e. the figure one followed by six zeros.

A ‘billion’, however, has different meanings in British and American usages: in American English, a ‘billion’ means ‘one thousand million’ – 1,000,000,000, i.e. the figure one followed by nine zeros; in British English, a ‘billion’ means ‘a million million’ – 1,000,000,000,000, i.e. the figure one is followed by twelve zeros.

Therefore, ‘a billion’ in British English is one thousand times more than ‘a billion’ in American English.

The American meaning of ‘a billion’ is gradually replacing the British meaning, even in school books and the government documents.


vacation  —  holiday

In British English “vacation” is used for the weeks of rest from work when universities and courts of law are not working, for example, Christmas vacation, the Easter vacation, summer vacation, etc.  School have “holidays”, not “vacation”, and also people have “holidays” at the seaside, abroad, in the mountains, etc., when they take rest from work. In American English any period of rest from normal work is “vacation”, even the verb form “vacationing” is very common these days!

Thus, when the speakers of British English are “on holiday”, the speakers of American English are “on vacation”!!


Writing Dates

There is a slight difference in writing of dates in both varieties:


6th December, 1973.

6 December, 1973.

December 6, 1973.

6 December 1973

And while writing the date in figures, the speakers of American English prefer ‘month’ first and the ‘day’ second; whereas, the speakers of British English prefer ‘day’ first and the ‘month’ second:


(day—month—year) [British]




(month—day—year) [American]



i.e. 8th October, 2009. — October 8, 2009.


names of illnesses and articles (a/an the)

Names of illnesses are usually uncountable, and we talk about them with no article:


I think I’ve got measles.  (without any article)

He’s had appendicitis.     (without any article)

But “headache” is a normal countable noun.

However, when expressing ‘other aches’ there is some difference in the use of Article between American and British variations.

In British English, these ‘aches’ are more common as uncountable nouns and are used without the indefinite article a/an or with no plural. In American English, these ‘aches’ are countable and are used with the indefinite article a/an.


She has got toothache.  [British]

She has a toothache.     [American]

She has got stomach ache.  [British]

She has a stomach ache.  [American]

I’ve got a headache.     [British]

I have a headache.                   [American]

Toothache is horrible.  [British & American]


The complex subordinators “as…as” and “so…as” are used with different frequencies in the two varieties.  “So…as” is fairly infrequent in American English, being used mainly at the beginning of a clause, while in British English it tends to be used more than “as…as”:


It’s not so far as I thought it was.  [British]

It’s not as far as I thought it was.  [American]

So long as you’re happy, we’ll stay.   [British]

As long as you’re happy, we’ll stay.   [American]

Now we don’t go there so often.   [British]

Now we don’t go there as often.   [American]

That one isn’t so nice.   [British]

That one isn’t as nice.   [American]

In cases where “as…as” is preferred in British English and used at the beginning of a clause, the first “as” may be dropped.


Strange as it may seem…  [British]

As strange as it may seem…  [American]

Much as I’d like to go…   [British]

As much as I’d like to go…   [American]


words related to commerce

A sum of borrowed or lent money is called “capital”  [British]

A sum of borrowed or lent money is called “principal”  [American]

Banks do not pay interest on ‘current accounts’, but pay interest on ‘deposit accounts’ which are designed for people to save money for some considerable period of time  [British]

People save money in “savings account”   [American]

When a limited company sells its assets to pay its debts, it goes into ‘liquidation’; but when private individuals or partnerships do the same, they go ‘bankrupt’  [British]

When companies or private individuals sell their assets to their debts, they go ‘bankrupt’ or go into ‘bankruptcy’ [American]

A supplier ‘quotes’ a price for goods or gives a ‘quotation’   [British]

A supplier ‘quotes’ a price for goods or gives a ‘quote’   [American]


With certain verbs, there is a tendency in British English usage to opt (choose)the “—t” ending when the verb is to be taken literally (in real sense):


I dreamt all night.  [in the real sense]

I leant against the pole.  [in the real sense]

But the “—ed” ending when the same verb is used metaphorically (imaginative way to describe something):


We dreamed of peace and prosperity.  [in the imaginative way]

She leaned on me to repay the debt. [in the imaginative way – she did not actually fall on him, did not take any physical support; she depended on him – took money]


Gotten”, the American past participle form of the verb ‘get’, can be used in all meanings except with “have” when it means ‘must’, in which case the British form “got” is used:


She has got me into troubles again.  [British]

They have gotten home late.   [America]

She had already gotten off the bus when it was hit.  [American]


It’s already late; I have got to go now.   [American – I must go]


After having learnt all these rules, we are bound to get a couple of questions, such as…

1. Which spelling system do I use: British English or American English?

And the answer given by many an expert in this field is:

If you are going to write to Americans or to take an examination in any American Institution, learn or use American English, and if there is anything to do with the British use British English!

2. Which will be the most useful to me as an English language learner – American English or British English?

And the answer given by many an expert in this field is:

f you are going to speak mostly to Americans then standard American English will be more useful.  If you are going to speak to British people then standard British English will be more useful.  Certainly at present, speakers of standard British English and speakers of standard American English have no real problems communicating with each other.  The important thing to remember is that they are not two separate languages, they are one language with some differences.  If you speak one form quite well then you will not have problems understanding the other.

But the most important thing is not to mix the two varieties; use one or the other, not mixed!









Same Word: British & American!

Same Word: British & American English!

Section B2  —  same word — different definitions

word  — Brit = BritishAme = American



Brit = the managing of public or private business affairs; a period of government by a particular political party

Ame = a period of government by a particular president


Brit = an office or organisation providing a particular service

Ame = a government department or office providing a particular service


Brit = to take control and possession of land by occupation or by force; to take something without permission

Ame = the alternative spelling of “annexe” which means ‘anything that has been added to’, e.g. ‘adding an extra room to a building’, ‘a clause to a document’, etc.


Brit = a place where a government’s or a group’s weapons (guns, ammunition, etc.) are kept; a collection of firearms

Ame = [spelling variation – ‘armory’] a place where government’s weapons are manufactured; the National Guard or Army Reserve unit building


Brit = a transparent covering over the fuselage of an aeroplane for astronomical observations (studying stars and space)

Ame = a sports centre that has a transparent dome-shaped roof


Brit = an open, usually covered with a hard surface and surrounded by a wall

Ame = the whole area covered with grass behind a house; the lawn and/or the (back) garden

ball game:

Brit = any game played with a ball

Ame = a baseball game

ball park:

Brit = a range of approximate numbers, prices, etc.; an area

Ame = a baseball field

bank holiday:

Brit = an official holiday, except Saturday and Sunday, when banks and other business are closed

Ame = a period of time when banks are closed by the government to prevent money difficulties, not necessarily a public holiday for other businesses

to bathe:

Brit = to go swimming in a pond, lake, river or a sea for pleasure; to wash a part of the body, e.g. sore feet or wounds, or the whole body for medical cure

Ame = to wash the body of somebody for cleanliness (to give a bath to somebody)


Brit = a room with a bathtub (to have a bath), a wash=basin, and (these days) a toilet

Ame = a toilet; a room with a lavatory


Brit = a kind of card game (also called ‘pontoon’)

Ame = a short heavy metal pipe covered with leather, used for hitting people (also called ‘cosh’)


Brit = the two flat pieces of leather on a horse’s bridle to prevent it from seeing things on either side

Ame = the orange lights on either side of a motor vehicle which blink (flash) to who that the vehicle will move in that direction – either left or fright


Brit = a sheet of paper that absorbs ink (blotting paper)

Ame = a book in which recorded information is written every day – a police charge-sheet

Board of Trade:

Brit = a department of Trade and Industry in the Ministry of Commerce

Ame = a local chamber of commerce (usually with small letters)

to bobble (verb):

Brit = to move up and down quickly and continuously

Ame = to do some thing carelessly; to fumble

a bomb (noun):

{apart from other meanings}

Brit = a lot of money

Ame = a complete failure of a plan, venture, programme, etc.

to bomb (verb):

Brit = (to go like a bomb) (of a programme, show, film, plan) to be a flop, a failure, to fall

Ame = (of a programme, show, film, plan) to be a great success


Brit = a silly mistake

Ame = a silly person

boob tube:

Brit = a piece of woman’s clothing

Ame = a television set


Brit = a mental disturbance; a moment of confusion

Ame = a sudden, usually a clever, idea


Brit = a piece of speech, writing or acting that is intended to make a serous or important matter or issue look silly

Ame = a kind of entertainment (a variety show) often including striptease (taking off clothes piece by piece to amuse others)


Brit = a measurement equal to 36.4 litres

Ame = a large amount or number

buzzard (a kind of bird):

Brit = a large hawk that looks like an eagle

Ame = a vulture (a bird known as ‘scavenger of plains’, also called ‘Turkey vulture’)


Brit = a kind of tough cotton cloth, usually plain white cloth, used in book binding

Ame = coarse cotton cloth, usually with a coloured pattern (design) printed on one side


Brit = a motor car

Ame = a railway carriage or van; a section of a train carrying passengers, e.g. a dining car


Brit = a small decorated box for holding valuables such as ornaments, important personal letters, etc.

Ame = a coffin (a large wooden box for keeping dead bodes (of people) to be buried


Brit = a small group within a large organisation, and the secret meeting of this group

Ame = the leaders of a political party that decide polices, choose candidates, and a meeting of these leaders


Brit = the honorary head of a university

Ame = the president of a college or a university


Brit = (a ship’s chandler) a person who sells canvas, ropes and other things for ships

Ame = a person who makes and sells candles


Brit = men; fellows

Ame = leggings (a piece of clothing)


Brit = a person who checks/corrects/verifies, something like a piece of work, a list, etc.

Ame = an employee who works at a checkout counter at a supermarket

Chief executive:

Brit = the chief director of a government or private business establishment, a large company, etc.

Ame = [usually with a capital ‘c’ of “chief”, and the first ‘e’ of “executive”] the president of the USA

chimney stack:

Brit = a group of chimneys (the tall structures coming out of the roof of a house to let out smoke and hear)

Ame = a very tall chimney on the roof of a factory


Brit = (A) an employee in a shop, office, etc., who keeps records, accounts, etc. (B) an official who is in charge of the records of a court of law, council, a government office, etc.

Ame = (A) [desk clerk] a receptionist (B) [sales clerk) an assistant in a shop who attends and serves the customers


Brit = a specialised hospital

Ame =  a group of doctors sharing a building and working together


Brit = someone or something that is very popular

Ame = a mistake or failure; a poor quality thing


Brit = a person who makes and repairs old shoes

Ame = (A) a fruit pie (B) a kind of cold drink

COD {abbreviation}:

Brit = Cash On Delivery (the system of postal service in which the receiver pays the money towards the cost of the article and the postage only when he/she receives the package)

Ame = Collect On Delivery (the system of postal service in which the receiver pays the money towards the cost of the article and the postage only when he/she receives the package)


Brit = a beginning of (some activity)

Ame = a graduation day (a ceremony at which college or university degrees are officially given to successful students


Brit = an officer in the commissariat, a department dealing with the supplies to the army

Ame = a place where soldiers or the employees of a firm (company) can buy and eat food

country court:

Brit = a local court of law where civil (non-criminal) cases are dealt with

Ame = an administrative body (an office) in counties in some States


Brit = a building containing several courts of law

Ame = the administrative office of a county


Brit = an untrained careless worker, a dishonest businessman

Ame = a person who tends cows on a ranch (a large field)


Brit = a man who tends or assists in tending (looking after) cattle

Ame = a cattle ranch owner


Brit = a simple brittle biscuit

Ame = crispy fried pork pieces (pork = pig meat)


Brit = strange

Ame = bad=tempered


Brit = powdered milk used in coffee

Ame = a jug for serving cream


Brit = a place where babies and young children are looked after while their parents are at work

Ame = a model of the scene of Christ’s birth


Brit = (A) a model of the scene of Christ’s birth (B) pieces of paper giving answers to questions used dishonestly by students in tests

Ame = a small bed with movable sides used for babies and young children


Brit = a person (s) who dines (eats food)

Ame = a small restaurant by the roadside usually in the shape of a railway carriage


Brit = (A) a bundle of small sticks (B) a ball of cut up meat (C) an unpleasant person

Ame = a homosexual (a person who likes to have sex with another person of the same sex, i.e. man to man)

fly over:

Brit = a place where roads or railway lines cross, one passes high over the other by way of a kind of bridge

Ame = the act of a group of aeroplanes flying low before a crowd on special occasions, as a sign of celebration or to show off the strength of the air force (military)


Brit = very plain or common; down to earth; (of a person’s behaviour or the food) domestic – related to home

Ame = (of people) ugly


Brit = an item of clothing, usually woollen, worn around the neck in cold weather

Ame = a piece of apparatus fixed on the exhaust pipe of a motor vehicle to reduce noise


Brit = feeling nervous (a feeling of fear or anxiety)

Ame = being bold, full of nerve, cheeky (rude or careless or fearless)

to raise:

Brit = to look after and grow only cattle

Ame = to look after and grow cattle and to look after and bring up children


Brit = (A) a person who wrangles, i.e. who argues angrily and noisily (B) a university student who is placed the highest class of maths exam

Ame = a cowboy who looks after horses

Different Expressions:

come again:

Brit = “Please, visit us again.”

Ame = “Sorry, what did you say?” / “Say it again, please.”

I’m mad about my flat!

Brit = “I am very happy about my flat.” (= apartment)

Ame = “I am very angry or annoyed about the puncture (a hole) in the tyre (tire) of my car!”

Brit = ‘to work out’  —  Ame = ‘to figure out’:

= To solve a problem or to come to know about

Brit = ‘to enlist/to join’   —   Ame = ‘to sign up’:

= to take up a course or to join a course

Brit = ‘very much’  —  Ame = ‘like crazy’:

= to like something very, very much

Brit = ‘Don’t misunderstand me.”  —  Ame = “Don’t get me wrong.”:

= {telling somebody not to misunderstand}

‘to tick off’:

Brit = ‘to scold somebody’ (to use strong words in order to make somebody think about their mistakes or wrong doings)

Ame = ‘to make somebody angry’

Brit = “It’s not important.” / “It doesn’t matter.”

Ame = “It’s no big deal.”:

= {to say that something is not very important and so not to take it seriously}

Brit = ‘to ring someone; to ring someone up; to give someone a ring’

Ame = ‘to call someone; to call someone up; to give someone a call’:

= {to use a telephone or cell phone to contact (talk to) somebody}

Brit = “The line is busy.”

Ame = “The number is busy.”:

= {to say that the telephone or cell phone number a person uses (dials) is engaged, i.e. somebody else is talking on the phone to the person you want to talk}

Brit = ‘stand’ in election’

Ame = ‘run’ for election:

= {to contest for an election}



After having learnt all these rules, we are bound to get a couple of questions, such as…

1.  Which spelling system do I use: British English or American English?

And the answer given by many an expert in this field is:

If you are going to write to Americans or to take an examination in any American Institution, learn or use American English, and if there is anything to do with the British use British English!

2.  Which will be the most useful to me as an English language learner – American English or British English?

And the answer given by many an expert in this field is:

If you are going to speak mostly to Americans then standard American English will be more useful.  If you are going to speak to British people then standard British English will be more useful.  Certainly at present, speakers of standard British English and speakers of standard American English have no real problems communicating with each other.  The important thing to remember is that they are not two separate languages, they are one language with some differences.  If you speak one form quite well then you will not have problems understanding the other.

But the most important thing is not to mix the two varieties; use one or the other, not mixed!

Next… Section C usage differences: British & American English!

Different Words: British & American!

Different Words: British & American?

Section B1

Different words for the same definition:

British   —   American

action replay  —  instant replay

= the repeating of a part of a recorded action, often in the films and on TV, e.g. the scoring of a goal in a football match, etc.

angel cake  —  plain cake/angel food cake

= a kind of cake

angry, furious  —  mad

anorak  —  parka

= a kind of heavy coat with a hood (head covering)

anticlockwise  —  counter-clockwise

= in the opposite direction to the usual way in which the hands on a clock face move

anywhere  —  any place

= in, to or at any place, when it is not important or does not matter where

apart from  —  aside from

= except for; in addition to; as well as

arse  —  ass

= the bottom part of a person’s body; the buttocks; the anus

articulated lorry  —  trailer truck

= a large motor vehicle with two parts – the engine part (cabin) and the carriage, that can be moved or turned easily

aubergine  —  eggplant

= a large dark purple coloured vegetable

autumn  —  (the) fall

= the season coming between the summer and the winter

B.A.  —  A B

= Bachelor or Arts – the first degree in Arts subject courses given by a university

baby bouncer  —  baby jumper

= a seat suspended from a door or ceiling in which a baby can bounce (go up and down) and amuse itself

backchat  —  back talk

= a rude reply to someone

back to front  —  backwards

= (usually of clothes) of a shirt, for example, wearing the back part front

balls-up  —  ball-up

= a bad job; a job done badly

balls something up  —  ball something up

= to spoil some plan or arrangement completely

barrister, solicitor  —  attorney, lawyer

= a person who qualified in Law and can advise people on legal matters in a court of law

barman/barmaid/barperson  —  bartender

= a person whose job is to serve alcoholic drinks at a bar

basin  —  bowl

= a hollow container for holding a food item called pudding or for holding any liquid

baton/truncheon  —  night stick

= a short heavy stick, carried as a weapon by policemen

battery-operated torch/torch  — flashlight

= a small electric lamp that can be held in hand and switched on and off when needed

beak  —  bill

= the horny (bony) mouth part of a bird

beauty parlour/beauty salon  —  beauty shop

= a place (like a barber’s) where women go for beauty treatment – hair setting, facials, make-up, etc.

bed and breakfast  —  room and board

= at a hotel or a guest where a place to sleep (bed) in the night and meal (breakfast) next morning are provided for a price

bed head  —  headboard

= the end part of the framework of a bed, behind a sleeping person’s head (to keep the pillows from falling off the bed)

bellboy/page/page-boy  — bellhop

= a boy or man at a hotel or club who carries messages and guests’ bags and cases

bicentenary  —  bicentennial

= a 200th anniversary of something or someone

bill  —  check

= a written statement with money to be paid for food and drinks received at a hotel or restaurant

bin man/refuse-collector/dustman  —  garbage-man/garbage collector

= a person whose job is to collect dry waste matter (rubbish) from houses and streets to keep the locality clean

bird-table  —  bird feeder

= a raised platform in the garden to keep food for birds

birdwatcher  —  birder

= a person who watches birds as a hobby

biscuit (dry)  —  cookie

= a small flat thin crisp cake that is sweet and found in many shapes, eaten widely

biscuit (savoury, juicy)  — cracker

= a small thin bread like a cake without sweetness

blackboard  —  chalkboard/blackboard

= a board with a smooth surface that is used for writing by teachers in educational institutions (these days there are whiteboards)

blackjack/pontoon  —  twenty-one

= a kind of card game (playing cards)

black pudding/blood pudding  —  blood sausage

= a kind of food item – a large sausage made from dried blood, fat, etc.

blind/roller blind/venetian blind  —  shade/window shade

= a screen, especially made of plastic, put on a window to stop light coming through

blinkers  —  blinders

= the two small flat pieces of leather fixed on a horse’s bridle covering the eyes to prevent the horse from seeing sideways

block/block of flats  —  apartment

= a large building containing several levels with (flats) houses and offices on each level (floor)

bloomer  —  blooper

= a serious and/or stupid and embarrassing mistake

blowlamp  —  torch/blow torch

= a lamp or gas pipe, usually with liquid gas, used for directing a very strong flame on to any surface, to remove old paint or to melt soft metals

bobble  —  pom-pom

= a small soft ball usually made of wool used for decorating clothes, caps, etc.

boiler suit/overalls  —  coveralls

= a piece of clothing (long coat) made in one piece, covering body, arms, legs, put on while doing rough, dirty work

bonnet  —  hood

= a hinged metal cover over a motor vehicle’s engine, usually over the front of a motor vehicle

boob  —  boo-boo

= a stupid or silly mistake

booby  —  boob

= a stupid or silly person (also a kind of bird)

book in/book someone in  —  check in/check someone in

= to sign one’s name in a hotel register; to report at a reception desk at a hotel; at the airport check-in counter, etc.

to book  —  to make a reservation

= to get a seat or place in a theatre or on a train, bus, aeroplane before the actual time or date (in advance)

bookshop  —  bookstore

= a shop where mainly books are sold

boot  —  trunk

= an enclosed space at the back of a car to keep bags, boxes, cases, etc. (in some cars it is found in the front)

bottom out  —  base out

= (said of prices, trade, etc.) to reach the lowest level

bottom drawer  —  hope chest

= clothes and other household things a young woman gets and collects from her parents’ home for use in her own home after her marriage

bowler/bowler hat  —  derby/derby hat

= a kind of hat worn by men

braces  —  suspenders

= a pair of straps made of elastic cloth worn over the shoulders by men for holding their trousers up

brackets  —  parentheses

= ( )  { }  [ ] a pair of punctuation marks; short curved lines used in writing to show extra information, etc.

brainwave  —  brainstorm

= a sudden, usually a bright and clever, idea

brake lights  —  stoplights

= a pair of red lights at the back of a motor vehicle that glows as a warning to others at the back when brakes are used

breezeblock  —  cinderblock

= a light brick used for building houses, etc.

bribe  —  kickback

= money or gifts given to someone for some unlawful service (help)

building society  —  thrift bank

= an association into which members put money that is then lent to those who wish to buy or build houses of their own

bum bag  —  fanny pack/waist pack

= a small bag with a strap worn round the waist to keep money, keys, sunglasses, etc.

bumper/wing/mudguard  —  fender

= a metal bar fixed on the front or back of a vehicle to protect the vehicle when it bumps against anything and to prevent water or mud on the road from splashing

bung  —  stopper

= a round piece of rubber or wood (cork) to close the opening of a container (bottle)

bunkum  —  buncombe

= nonsense; foolish talk

to burgle  —  to burglarize

= to steal something from a house or a building

buttonhole  —  boutonniere

= a hole on a jacket (coat) of a suit of clothes; a flower or flowers worn in a buttonhole or fastened to a lapel of a jacket or coat

to call up  —  to draft

= to officially order people to join military

camp-bed  — cot

= a simple, light-weight bed that can be folded up and moved easily

candidature  —  candidacy

= the state of being a candidate in an election, for employment, award, etc.

candy floss  —  cotton candy

= a kind of light fluffy sweet, usually eaten on a small stick, mostly by children at fairs, parks, etc.

can opener  —  tin opener

= a tool for opening a can (tin) of food, drink, etc.

car/motor car  —  automobile

= a vehicle usually with four wheels run by a motor engine, usually used by people for going from place to place

caravan  —  trailer/camper/mobile home

= a large vehicle, pulled by a car, equipped for living and sleeping in, which people use for holidays

caravan (horse-drawn gypsy caravan)  —  wagon

= a covered horse-drawn cart (vehicle) in which gypsies live and travel

card game of patience  —  solitaire

= a kind of card game for only one person to play

caretaker  —  janitor

= a person whose job is to look after a building

car park  —  parking-lot

= an open area or a multi-storey building for parking cars

carpet-slippers  —  house slippers

= soft, light shoes with upper part made of carpet or wool worn indoors

carriage/railway coach  —  car

= a separate section of a railway train for carrying passengers

carrier bag  —  shopping bag

= a bag one is given in a shop to keep the things one has bought

car silencer  —  muffler

= a piece of equipment or device fitted on the exhaust pipe at the back of a motor vehicle to make the engine less noisy

caster (castor) sugar  —  powdered sugar

= finely crushed white sugar used in baking (making cakes)

casualty/casualty ward/casualty department  —  emergency room

= the part of a hospital where people (patients) needing urgent treatment are admitted, usually people who have been hurt in accidents

catapult  — slingshot

= a ‘Y’-shaped stick with bands of rubber attached to it, used for shooting small stones

cat burglar  —  second-story man

= a thief (burglar) who enters a building by an upstairs window

Catherine wheel  —  pin-wheel

= a circular flat fire-work (crackers) pinned to an upright surface that turns like a wheel giving out sparkles when lit

catmint  —  catnip

= a kind of plant with blue flowers whose smell attracts cats

cats-eye  —  reflector

= one of small plastic objects fixed in the middle or side of a road, which glows in the dark when motor vehicles’ lights fall on it, and show the road

centenary —  centennial

= the 100th anniversary of something; relating to a period of hundred years

central reservation  —  median

= a narrow strip of land, usually concrete, but also grass, that separates the two sides of a motorway

certainly  —  sure

= without fail; true

charted accountant  —  certified public accountant

= a fully qualified and trained accountant

chat show  —  talk show

= a radio or television show (programme) in which well-known people are interviewed in an informal way

chemist/pharmacist  —  druggist

= a person who is qualified to prepare and sell medicine

chequers  —  checkers

= a kind of board game [see also DRAUGHTS]

chest of drawers  —  bureau/dresser

= a piece of furniture with several drawers (closed sections) for keeping clothes in

choosy/choosey  —  picky

= (of people or animals) very particular or careful in choosing or selecting; very hard to please or satisfy or make happy

chiropodist  —  podiatrist [the letters ‘ch’ are pronounced with a ‘k’ sound as in ‘king’]

= a person whose job is to care and treat people’s feet

chiropody  —  podiatry [the letters ‘ch’ are pronounced with a ‘k’ sound, as in ‘king’]

= the job of caring and treating people’s feet

chopping board  — cutting board/chopping block

= a flat piece of wood or plastic on which meat or vegetable are cut while cooking a meal

cider  —  hard cider/apple jack

= an alcoholic drink made from apples

cine-camera  —  motion-picture camera

= a camera used for shooting films (moving pictures)

cinema (hall)  —  movie house/movie theater

= a building where films (moving picture) are shown

the cinema/the pictures  —  the movies

= the films (moving or motion pictures) in general, a source of entertainment

class/form  —  grade

= a group of students, with almost equal levels of understanding, taught together in a school

classifieds/classified advertisements/small ads  —  want advertisements/want ads

= small advertisements placed in newspapers – employment, sale, hire, etc., which cost very small amount of money

clever  —  smart

= (of a person or animal) having the quality of being quick at thinking good; intelligent

climbing frame  —  jungle gym

= a large frame made of metal bars or pipes fixed in the playground for children to climb on while playing

cloak-room/check room  —  checkroom

= a place in a bus or railway station or theatre, etc. where visitors’ hats, coats, bags, cases, etc. (and with small wash room/toilet) are left for a short period

clothes-peg  —  clothes pin

= a small wooden or plastic clip-like device for fastening clothes to a clothesline for drying, or to hand used clothes

clothes rail  —  clothes rack

= a small wooden or plastic bar fixed to a wall, or a light movable frame on which worn clothes are hung

coach  —  bus

= a large, comfortable motor vehicle (bus) used for long distance travel or for pleasure trips and tours

cock  —  rooster

= a fully grown male chicken

colour bar  —  color line

= a social system in which people other than the white skin are not given the same rights or treatment

to cook (verb)  — to make

= to prepare breakfast, meal, etc.

comforter/dummy  —  pacifier

= an artificial, usually rubber, teat-like thing attached to a feeding bottle, or used as it is, for babies to suck on

compère  —  emcee

= (noun & verb) a person who introduces shows or programmes on a stage or television

confidence trick/con trick  —  confidence game

= the act of cheating someone after gaining their trust

constable/policeman  —  patrolman

= a policeman who goes at regular times (on a beat) round an area to see that there is no trouble

commercial traveller  —  travelling salesman

= a person who travels from place to place taking orders of the things their company sells

cooker   —  stove

= an apparatus for cooking that works by burning coal, oil, gas or electricity [The other ‘cookers’ – pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker – are not included in this sense.]

cookery  —  cook-book

= a book which explains how to cook food

cor anglais  —  English horn

= a kind of musical instrument

corn flour  —  cornstarch

= the finely (powdered) maize or rice flour

cos/cos lettuce  —  romaine

= a kind of leafy vegetable

cot  —  crib

= a bed for a baby, usually with moveable sides to prevent the baby from falling off

cot-death  —  crib-death

= the sudden death of a baby in its sleep

cotton/cotton thread  —  thread

= a length of very fine and thin cord of cotton, wool, silk, etc. used in sewing and/or weaving

county town  —  county seat

= the main town which is the centre of a COUNTY

courgettes  —  zucchini

= a kind of vegetable

court card  —  face card

= a card that is with the picture of a king, queen or jack (in a pack of cards)

cracker/cream cracker  —  soda cracker

= a thin dry biscuit

crash  —  wreck

= a serious motor vehicle accident (road accident) and the damage

cravat  —  ascot

= a wide piece of cloth that is loosely folded and worn round the neck by men

crèche  —  day-care center

= a place where babies and young children are looked after while their parents are at work

credit account  —  charge account

= an arrangement with a shop that allows a customer to pay for the things bought in instalments

crib  —  crèche

= a model of the scene of Christ’s birth

crib  —  tort

= a small book or a piece of paper that gives answers to questions in the examination that students use dishonestly (to cheat in the test)

crisp(s)/potato crisp(s)  —  potato chip(s)

= a thin piece of potato cooked in fat and dried, and sold in plastic packets

crockery/crocks  —  earthenware

= cups, plates, dishes, etc. make of baked clay (a kind of mud)

cul-de-sac  —  dead-end

= a street or road with only one way in or out, without a thorough-fare

cupboard/wardrobe  —  closet

= a set of shelves built into a wall and enclosed by doors where things are kept

current account  —  checking account

= a bank account, mostly used for business purpose where the account holder can draw any amount of money without notice, unlike savings account

curriculum vitae (C V)  —  résumé/bio-data

= a brief account (list) of a candidate’s personal and employment details submitted with an application for a new job, etc.

curtains (heavy)  —  drapes

= long pieces of heavy cloth that can be drawn to cover or uncover windows or doors

custard  —  pudding

= a kind of food item made from custard powder and sweetened milk

custom  —  trade

= the habitual action or practice of a person or a society

cutlery  —  silverware/flatware

= knives, forks, spoons, etc. used for eating food, instead of using one’s fingers

Dacron  —  Terylene

= a kind of cloth

debt collector  —  bill collector

= a person whose job is to collect taxes, bills, debts, etc.

deposit account  —  savings account

= money deposited (saved/kept) in a bank which earns interest

dinner suit/dinner jacket  —  tuxedo, (in short) tux

= a black jacket (coat) worn by men on very formal evening occasions (dinner)

direct  —  straight

= to do something or to say something without hesitation or without using any examples or introduction

director  —  president

= the head or chief of a large business establishment

diversion  —  detour

= a way (road) that is to be taken round something, usually when a road is being repaired or when a very major accident happens on a main road

docker  — longshoreman

= a person who works at a dock – a place where loading and unloading of ships takes place

doctor  —  physician

= a qualified medical person who treats sick people with medicine (not by operating)

washing up (doing the washing up)  —  washing the dishes

= the act of washing and cleaning the used cups, plates, dishes, etc. in a kitchen

drain  —  sewerage

= the system of removing wet waste matter and used water through pipes inside houses

drapery  —  dry goods

= the business of selling women’s clothes, cloth, curtains, etc.

draughts (said as ‘drafts’)  —  checkers

= a kind of board game

draught (said as ‘draft’)  —  draft

= a current of cold air that moves in a room or tunnel; beer that is drawn from a large container rather than packed in a bottle; water level that is needed to float a ship

drawing pin  —  thumbtack

= a short nail or pin with a flat head for sticking a piece of paper or picture on a notice board or wall

dressing gown  —  bathrobe

= a long loose cotton coat, usually worn after taking a bath and before putting on the usual clothes

dual carriageway  —  divided highway

= a main road that has two lanes and a narrow strip of land in the middle (called ‘central reservation’/‘median’) with traffic moving on each side freely

duffel coat  —  pea jacket

= a loose coat made of rough heavy usually woollen cloth

dungarees  —  overalls

= loose trousers, usually in thick blue cloth, worn by men over other clothes while working, to protect the inner clothes from dirt

dustbin/rubbish-bin  —  trash can/garbage can

= a container placed at street corners or in kitchens to keep dry waste matter to be taken away later

dynamo  —  generator

= a machine that changes other forms of energy directly into electricity

egg custard  —  custard

= a type of food item – eggs and milk boiled or baked

eiderdown  —  comforter/quilt

a thick warm covering for a bed, a large bag-like cover, usually filled with the feathers of a duck called eider

elastic band  —  rubber band

= a small, thin, circular piece of rubber, like a bangle, used for tying or fastening flowers, currency notes, hair, etc. together into a bunch, etc.

engine  —  motor

= a machine that changes power produced by fuel into movement

essay  —  report/paper/essay

= a piece of written prose about three thousand words submitted by a student

estate agent  —  realtor/real estate agent

= a person whose business is to bring together the buyers and sellers of land, houses, etc.

estate car  —  station wagon

= a kind of motor car used for carrying people and also small loads of things

examination/(in short) exam  —  test

= a number of questions, problems, etc. given to a person to find out his/her cleverness or knowledge

ex-directory  —  unlisted

= a telephone connection/number which is not printed in the telephone directory (a book which gives the telephone numbers and addresses of the people with telephones in a locality)

ex-service man/ex-service woman  —  veteran

= a man or woman who used to be in the military service and now retired

face flannel/face cloth  —  wash cloth

= a small soft cloth used for washing one’s body

fanlight  —  transom

= a small window over a large window or door

fast outside/overtaking lane  —  fast passing/inside lane

= a side line on a busy road that can be used for overtaking slow-moving motor vehicles

film  —  movie

=  motion/moving pictures

firework(s)  —  firecracker

= a small container filled with explosive powder which explodes (bursts) with loud noise and bright light when lighted

first floor  —  second floor

= the floor (a level of a building with rooms) of a building above the one on the ground level

first year member/recruit  —  rookie

= a new comer; a newly joined/selected/recruited member on a team, in the army as a soldier, etc.

1st year/first year undergraduate  —  freshman

= a student in his/her first year of a degree course at a university

fish slice  —  spatula

= a kitchen tool for turning food while cooking

fittings  —  fixtures

= some necessary and decorative articles that are fixed into a building

flat  —  apartment

= (apart from other meanings) a group of room or a portion in a large building rented or bought by a person or a family

flat  —  condo/condominium/(also) apartment

= a portion in a large building (block of flats) which is owned by the occupants (people living) not rented

flat tyre/puncture  —  flat

= the tyre of a car/motor vehicle not having enough air due to a small hole made accidentally with a sharp pointed object (as a result the vehicle cannot be moved unless the flat tyre is replaced)

flex  —  cord

= a length of soft, flexible insulated (well protected) wire for carrying electric current

flick knife  — switch blade

= a small knife with a blade that is folded into the handle and springs (comes out) open when a button in the handle is pressed

flip-flop  —  thong

= a pair of open summer shoes usually made of rubber used for the causal purpose

flyover  —  overpass

= a place where main roads or railways cross each other and where one road passes high over another road or railway line by means of a kind of bridge

flypast  —  flyover

= the actions of a group of aeroplanes flying low before a crowd on special occasions to show-off its skills or power of flying

footpath  —  sidewalk

= the part of a street or road which is flat and slightly raised for the use of people using the street/road on foot (the motor vehicles are not allowed to use it)

Foreign Office  —  State Department

= a department (or ministry) in the government which deals with other countries

Form six  —  12th grade

= a class in a high school

fortnight  —  two weeks

= a time period of two weeks or fifteen days

4th (fourth) year undergraduate  —  senior

= a student in his 4th year or final year of a course at a college or university

frying pan  —  skillet

= a kitchen utensil with a flat pan and a long handle for frying food item

fuel gauge  —  gas gage/gauge

an instrument for measuring the quantity of fuel (petrol or diesel) in a motor vehicle tank, shown on the dash board

fur  —  scale

= (apart from other meanings) a hard, greyish unwanted covering (layer) that forms around inside of a tea kettle, water pipes, etc.

gas fire  —  gas heater

= an apparatus that gives out heat, works on gas

gear-lever/gear stick  —  gear-shift

= a rod-like apparatus that is used to move the gears of a motor vehicle

gents  —  the men’s room

= a room with toilets and wash basins for men only in a public building

gilt-edged stocks  —  government stocks

= shares offered for sale to the public by the government

girl guide  — girl-scout

= a member of an association for girls who takes part in useful outdoor activities

gaol [said as ‘jail’]  —  jail

= a prison where convicted criminals are kept as punishment

garden  —  yard

= a piece of land near or around a building on which flowering plants and/or vegetables are grown

goods  —  freight

= things, usually heavy things, that are transported by rail, road or ship

goods train/goods wagon  —  freight train/freight car

= a train with closed or open carriages that carries heavy things (loads) only, not passengers

government  —  administration

= the method or system of ruling a country; the people who rule a country

to grill  —  to broil

= to cook fish, chicken, etc. under or over direct heat or fire, not in a bowl or dish

guard/railway guard  —  conductor

= a railway employee in charge of a train

graduate  —  alumnus

= a person who has completed a degree course at a college or university

ground floor  —  first floor

= the part or the floor (level) of a multi-storey building at ground level

gym shoes/plimsolls/tennis shoes  —  sneakers

= a pair of light shoes made of cloth top and flat rubber soles worn at sports

hamburger bun  —  bap

= a soft round bread roll (bun)

hair slide/slide  —  barrette

= a small metal fastener to keep a woman’s hair in place

hand bag  —  pocketbook/purse

= a small bag for women to carry money and small personal things

hide  —  blind

= (apart from other meanings) a secret place from where hunters of wild animals can watch animals without being seen

hire purchase  —  instalment buying/instalment plan

= a system of buying a thing by paying small amounts regularly after receiving the thing, but not paying all the amount at once

hoarding  —  billboard

= a large board usually placed high on the sides of roads or on high buildings on which advertisements are painted or stuck

hob  —  stove top/range

= the flat top of a cooker

holiday(s)  — vacation

= a period of rest when schools, colleges and universities are closed, and especially when an employee is given a short rest at the end of a year [British universities and solicitors also use the word ‘vacation’.]

home help – maid

= a trained woman sent in by an agency to help someone very old or sick

homework  —  assignment

= lessons or work given to students to do or learn at home

hotel rate (room only)  —  American plan

= a system in a hotel where the guests pay only for the room, not for the food or drinks which are charged extra

hotel rate (+ meals)  —  European plant

= a system in a hotel where the hotel charges include the room rent and the meals

hovercraft  —  air cushion vehicle (a v c)

= a vehicle that moves just above land or water with the strong force of air thrust below it from the engines above

ill  — sick

= (of people and animals) not feeling well; suffering from a disease

interval  —  intermission

= a short break (rest time) between parts of a play (drama), film/movie/moving pictures, etc.

iron monger’s  — hardware store

= a shop where metal tools, especially iron things are sold

jam  — jelly

= a food item, especially for spreading on bread, made by boiled fruit preserved in sugar

joint (noun)  —  roast

= (apart from other meanings) a large piece of meat or chicken for cooking

jumble sale  —  rummage sale

= a sale of used clothes or books or some other things to raise money for the local church or school

junction  —  intersection

= (apart from other meanings) a place where two or more roads cross one another

jug  —  pitcher

= a large container for holding and pouring liquids

junior doctor/houseman  —  intern

= a doctor who has almost finished medical course and works in a hospital as an assistant to a senior doctor

kerb  — curb

= the raised edge of a road

ketch-up  —  catsup

= thick red cold sauce made from tomatoes that a person (eater) puts on any food item

kipper/kippered herring  —  smoked herring

= a salted herring (a kind of fish) which is cleaned and preserved

knicker-bockers (the first ‘k’ is silent)  —  knickers

= a pair of short loose trousers that fits tightly round the legs just below the knees, worn in olden days

knickers  —  underpants

= short underclothes for women that cover the part between waist and the knee

ladder  —  run

= (apart from other meanings) a ladder-shaped fault (cut/tear) in a piece of knitted cloth, such as stockings, socks, etc. caused by breaking of stitches

ladies  —  the ladies’ room

= a room with toilets and wash basins for women only in a public building

lamp-post  —  street lamp

= a tall, thin but strong metal pole for supporting a lamp that lights a street

larder  —  pantry

= a small room with shelves or a cupboard where food is kept

lavatory/toilet  —  bathroom/restroom/wash room

= a seat-like bowl fixed to the floor of a room used for getting rid of a person’s body solid waste matter (toilet seat)

lay-by  —  pull-off

= a small space by a road where motor vehicles may be parked

lay-by  —  rest stop

= a place at the side of a road where motor vehicles stop for a longer time without obstructing others

leave of absence  —  furlough

= taking leave from military duty

lecturer  —  assistant professor

senior lecturer  —  associate professor

reader  —  associate professor

professor  —  senior/full professor

= {the different teaching ranks at a college or university}

left luggage room  —  baggage room

= a room at a railway station or bus station or airport where travellers’ cases, boxes, and bags are kept for some time, instead of carrying them around all the time

to-let  —  to rent

= to allow somebody to use a portion of a building or a piece of land in return for some money (i.e. the owner charges the users, tenants, for using their things)

let (noun & verb)  —  lease/rent

= the act of giving a house, flat or a piece of land to someone on some payment at regular intervals up to a fixed period of time

letter box  —  mail box/mail slot

= a narrow hole (slit) in a door or a special box outside a house where letters or packages are delivered [compare: post box]

level crossing  —  grade crossing

= a place where a road crosses a railway line and is protected by gates to shut off the road traffic while a train passes

life belt/life buoy/life jacket  —  life preserver/life vest

= a piece of equipment, a plastic bag-like thing filled with air that a person keeps with them while swimming to prevent from being sunk accidentally

lift/moving stair case  —  elevator

= a room-like apparatus for moving people or things from one floor (level) to another in a multi-storey building

lift attendant  —  elevator operator

= a person who operates a lift as a job

lightning conductor  —  lightning rod

= a thick metal wire or rod, usually a copper wire or rod,  fixed to the top a tall building to prevent damage to the building by lightning

little finger  —  pinky/pinkie

= the smallest finger on a person’s hand

lodger  —  roomer

= a person who pays money to stay in somebody else’s house

lodging house  —  rooming house

= a building divided into separate portions that can be rented (not strictly a hotel), usually run by retired people

long essay/paper  —  thesis

= a long piece of written prose usually about ten thousand words on a particular subject (topic) submitted by a student for a higher university degree

long jump  —  broad jump

= a sports event in which each competitor tries to jump farther than the others

long-sighted  —  far-sighted

= (of a person) able to see things or read clearly only when the things are far from one’s eyes

loo  —  john

= a toilet [the first letter of ‘john’, in this context, is written in a small letter & also used for a client of a prostitute]

lorry/van  — truck

= a large or medium sized motor vehicle with an open or closed body that is used for carrying goods not passengers

L’ plates  —  ‘L’ stickers

= a pair of metal or cardboard plates with the sign “L” written on it and hung or stuck on the front and back ends of a motor vehicle to show or caution other drivers that this driver is a learner

luggage  —  baggage

= travellers’ bags, boxes, cases, etc.

M.A.  —  A M

= a degree of Arts subjects from a college or university – Master of Arts

mackintosh/raincoat  —  raincoat

= a long coat made of plastic, rubber, etc. (water-proof material) to keep out rain

mad  —  crazy

= (of people or animals) not right in the mind; filled with strong interest

main road/high road  —  high way

= a wide road used especially by motor traffic going from one town or city to another

maisonette  —  flat

= a small part of a large house with room on two floors (levels) used as a separate living quarters

maize  —  corn

= a type of cereal crop with large yellow seeds that grow together on a cob(fruit-like part)

man/fellow  —  guy

= a man

managing director  —  president

= the head or chief of a business establishment (company)

market garden  —  truck farm

= an area of land where vegetables are grown and sold right there, instead of bringing them to the regular market

marks  —  grades

= the points given after judging a student’s performance in an examination

marrow  —  squash

= a kind of large solid vegetable

match  —  game

= (apart from other meanings) an event in sports in which teams or players compete – play against each other to test which one wins

mean  —  stingy/cheap

= (apart from other meanings) the opposite of ‘generous’ – not free with money; not spending money freely

merry-go-round/round about  —  carousel

= a machine with seats often in the form of animals on which children take a ride round and round a fixed centre in an amusement park

meths/methyllated spirits  —  denatured alcohol

= a kind of alcohol used for burning as fuel in lamps and heaters

milometer/mileometer  —  odometer

= an instrument in a car that records and shows the number of miles (Kms) it has travelled

mince  —  ground/hamburger meat

= the meat that is cut into very small pieces (almost like a paste)

minister  —  secretary

= (apart from other meanings) the head of a government department, called ‘ministry’, elected by the people

motor way  —  freeway/super high way/express way

= a very wide road, usually with limited junctions, for fast moving motor vehicles travelling from one town or city to another

nappy  —  diaper

= a piece of soft cloth fastened between the legs and round the waist of a baby so that the urine or stools the baby passes does not fall out and dirty the baby or the place

nasty/vicious  —  mean

= (of a person or animal) very unpleasant, morally bad

neat  —  straight

= (apart from other meanings)(of an alcoholic drink) without adding water or soda

newsagent  —  newsstand/news dealer

= the place and the person from whom a person can buy newspapers, magazines, etc.

note  —  bill

= (apart from other meaning) a piece of paper money printed by a government for the public use

notice board  —  bulletin board

= a board on a wall or a stand to which notices and announcement are pinned or pasted

noughts and crosses  —  tick-tack-toe/tic-tack/toe

= a kind of indoor game

nowhere  —  no place

= not in or to or at any place

number plate  —  license plate

= a metal plate or tag at the front and back ends of a vehicle showing the vehicle’s official registration number

nursing home  —  private hospital

= a hospital where people (patients) stay in and take treatment, paying money for the treatment and medicine

office block  —  office building

= a large building that contains offices of different companies, usually for people to work there, but not live there

off-licence (shop)  — liquor store

= a shop with legal permit where alcoholic drinks, such as whiskey, brandy, etc. are sold to be taken away, not to drink there

oven glove  —  oven mitt

= a pair of thick gloves to wear while cooking to protect the cook’s hands

overall  —  smock

= a loose coat made of thick cloth worn by workmen over other usual clothes

to overtake  —  to pass

= (of a vehicle) to come up level with from behind a vehicle and pass it by going faster

packet  —  pack

= a small usually thick paper case or box for holding light or small things, cigarettes, playing cards, etc.

paddling pool  —  wading pool

= a small shallow pool of water as in a public garden, or a plastic tub-like container, for children to play in water

pancake  —  crêpe

= a small, thin, flat cake made of flour, milk, eggs, etc. cooked in a pan

paraffin (oil)  —  kerosene

= a kind of oil made from petroleum or coal used as fuel to burn lamps or to produce heat and in cookers to cook food

parlour car  —  pullman car

= a comfortable railway carriage in which passengers can sleep, eat and relax while travelling

pastry  —  crust

= a piece of bread with hard, brown baked surface on one side used especially to enclose other foods

pavement/footpath  —  sidewalk

= a smooth-surfaced raised part at the side of a road or street meant for people to walk on

pay packet  —  pay envelope

= an envelope (paper cover) containing the money as wages (salary) of an employee given every week or month by the employer

pelmet  —  valance

= a narrow piece of metal or cloth to hide the rod on which curtain are hung on windows or doors

pen friend  —  pen pal

= a person in a foreign country or at a far away place in one’s own country with whom one has become friends through writing letters only (never having seen or met)

pepper pot  —  pepper box

= a small usually cylindrical container with holes in the top used for shaking pepper powder into food (kept on dining tables) (also called ‘pepper shakers’)

Perspex cube/Perspex  —  Plexiglas

= a strong clear unbreakable type of plastic used instead of glass

petrol  —  gas/gasoline

= a liquid used as fuel to produce power in engines, especially in motor vehicles

petrol station/filling station  —  gas station

= a place where petrol, diesel, motor oil, etc. are sold

(tele) phone box  —  (tele) phone booth

= a small room-like enclosure containing a telephone for public use on payment

phone-in (programme)  — call-in (program)

= a radio or TV programme in which people make telephone or cell phone calls to participate in the programme when it is going on in the studio (live programme)

plait (noun & verb)  —  braid

= a length of hair, rope, dried grass, etc. made thick and strong by twisting several strands together

platelayer  —  tracklayer

= a railway workman who puts down and repairs railway tracks [these days mechanical platelayers are in use]

points-man  —  switchman

= a railway employee who is in charge of the point (connecting place) on a railway line

polo neck  — turtle neck

= a woollen sweater with a high close-fitting rolled neck or collar

pommel horse  —  side horse

= a wooden apparatus (vaulting horse) with handles that is used for jumping over for physical exercise

pontoon  —  twenty-one/black jack

= a type of card game (playing cards)

porridge  —  oatmeal

= a kind of soft food item eaten at breakfast

post (noun & verb)  — mail

= (apart from other meanings) sending and receiving of letters, messages, parcels, etc. through an office, usually run by the government

post box/post pillar  —  mail box

= an official metal box, usually in the shape of a small pillar, into which stamp-paid letters are put for sending by post

postcode  —  zip code

= a set of letters (letters of alphabet – A B C D E …) and numbers or only numbers that indicate a particular place, written along with the address on letters, etc. for easy and quick identification and delivery

post free  —  post paid

= having the postal charges already by party (usually by the receiver) and not by the sender, and so not chargeable at the time of posting

postman  —  mailman/mail carrier

= a person whose job is to collect and deliver the letters, messages, parcels, etc. the are sent by post

postgraduate  —  graduate

= a student doing higher studies at a university after completing the first degree course

power point/socket  —  outlet/socket

= a small plastic or metal device with holes to fit a plug, used for connecting electrical appliance

pram/perambulator  —  baby-carriage/baby buggy

= a small carriage with four wheels, pushed by hand, in which a baby is taken about

prawn cocktail  —  shrimp cocktail

= a kind of good item made from cold cooked prawns, lettuce, etc.

prenatal  —  antenatal

= relating to pregnancy (a woman carrying a baby in her womb) and an unborn child; before the delivery (birth) of a child

press stud/popper  —  snap fastener

= a small round metal fastener for a garment used in place of a button or zip

press-up  —  push-up

= a form of physical exercise in which a person lies face down on a flat surface keeping his/her hands palm side flat on the surface and keeping the rest of the body on the hands and the toes, and pushes the body, up and down…up and down

primary school  —  elementary school

= a school for children between five and eleven or thirteen years old

pub (public house)  —  bar

= a room or rooms in a building where alcoholic drinks can be bought and drunk right there

public convenience/toilet  —  rest room/wash room

= a small building containing some lavatories for the public (at some places people pay small amounts for using the facility)

public school  —  private school

= a secondary school where students live and study by paying money

pudding/sweet (also dessert)  —  dessert

= an item of sweet food eaten at the end of a meal

purse  —  coin-purse

= a small bag used for carrying money especially coins, usually by women

push chair  —  stroller

= a small light folding chair on wheels for carrying young children about [compare ‘pram’]

queue  —  line/line up

= a line of people, vehicles, etc. one behind the other waiting one’s turn or to move on

quilt cover  —  duvet cover (the letter ‘t’ in ‘duvet’ is silent)

= large sheets of cloth sown into a bag with soft feathers or other material put in between the layers used for keeping the sleeper warm

railway carriage  —  railroad car

= one of the separate but connected parts (large box or room-like parts) of a train for passengers to sit while on journey

*railway crossing  — railroad crossing

= a place where railway line tracks cross the road, usually motor vehicle road [compare ‘level crossing’]

receptionist  —  desk clerk

= a person whose job is to receive visitors, give information, directions, etc. at a hotel, office, hospital, etc.

reef knot  —  square knot

= a kind of double knot that is difficult to undo

reel of cotton  —  spool of thread

= a small round metal object on which sewing thread is wound so that the thread does not get tangled and it is easy to use

removal van  —  moving van

= a large covered motor vehicle used for taking heavy objects, especially household furniture from one place to another when the residents move from one house or place to another

to repair  —  to fix

= to put/set right or mend something that has gone wrong or broken

to retread/remould  —  to recap

= to make an old worn out tyre (tire) new by fixing a new rubber covering on the bare surface

return (ticket)  —  roundtrip (ticket)

= the ticket and the fare for a journey to a place and back again bought at the time of starting the journey

reversing lights  —  back-up lights

= a set of lights at the back end (rear) of a motor vehicle (a car) switched on to indicate that the vehicle is going backwards

right away  —  right off/right now

= at once; without any delay

ring road  — belt way

= a road that is built round the outskirts of a town or city or around a crowded place within a town or city so that heavy motor traffic need not pass through the town or city

road junction  — cross-roads

= a place where two or more roads meet or cross

road surface  —  pavement

= the smooth surface of a road

rocking chair  —  rocker

= a chair fitted with curved pieces of wood (rockers) underneath the legs which (rocks) moves to and fro staying in the same place when pushed

roneo  —  mimeograph

= (old usage) a kind of duplicating machine

round about  —  (traffic) circle/rotary

= a busy road junction, where several roads meet or cross, the vehicles move around a small fenced space so that there is no need for traffic lights or a policeman to control the traffic; the vehicles approaching the circle slows down and if there is already a vehicle moving in the circle, it stops and when the road is clear, it proceeds

rowlock  —  oarlock

= the U-shaped device on the sides of a rowing boat for holding the rows (long poles with flat heads on one end) in place

rubber  —  eraser

= (apart from other meanings) a piece of soft, elastic substance made from a tree used for removing pencil or ink marks on a sheet of paper

rubbish  —  garbage/trash

= (dry) waste matter from houses or offices that has to be removed from a house or locality

rubbish bin/dust bin  —  garbage can

= a container in which (dry) waste matter is kept until it is taken away

runner bean  —  green bean/string bean/pole bean

= a type of climbing bean – vegetable plant – with a long green pod

saloon  —  sedan

= a kind of car

salt cellar  —  salt shaker

= a container, like a small bottle, with holes in the top used for sprinkling salt on food items at a dining table

sandpit  —  sandbox

= a box or special area with fine sand for children to play with

sanitary towel  —  sanitary napkin

= a disposable (use and throw) pad of soft paper worn between a woman’s legs touching the sex organ during her periods to absorb the moisture (wetness)

sauce pan  —  pot (kitchen)

= a round metal kitchen utensil with a deep bottom and a handle

scapegoat  —  fall guy

= an innocent person who is blamed or punished for the wrong doing of somebody stronger or more powerful

school report/progress report  —  report card

= a written statement given by a teacher or school about a student’s progress, marks obtained, etc. at school

scone  —  biscuit

= a soft bread-like cake

scrap paper  —  scratch paper

= a small sheet of paper, already used on one side, which is used for taking down informal notes or messages

secondary school  —  high school

= a school for children over eleven and thirteen years old

2nd (second) year undergraduate  —  sophomore

= a student in his second year of a course at a college

seesaw  —  teeter-totter/seesaw

= a narrow wooden or iron plank balanced in the middle on a strong frame fixed in the ground so that one side goes up when the other side is pushed down, a play thing for children

Sellotape  —  scotch tape

= a kind of thin narrow clear tape sticky on one side, sold in rolls, used for sticking things, paper, etc.

semi-detached  —  duplex

= a part of the house joined to another house by one shared wall but occupied by an independent owner

shares  —  stocks

= the righst of ownership in companies and business establishment where a share is valued at a certain amount of money

shooting  —  hunting

= killing of deer or other wild animals and birds with guns for sport or for food

shop  —  store

= a place where a person can buy things

shop assistant  — sales clerk

= a person who serves a customer in a shop

sideboard  — buffet (the letter ‘t’ is silent)

= a piece of furniture like a long narrow but short table where one can keep food to be eaten standing or sitting somewhere close

signal box  —  signal tower

= a small room on a raised platform from where a railway line is controlled

single (ticket)  —  one-way (ticket)

= a ticket or its price for a journey from one place to another, not back again [compare ‘return’/ ‘round trip’/ ‘return’]

single storey/open plan  — ranch house

= a house built on only one level

skipping rope  —  jump rope

= a long piece of rope with handles to hold on either side used by children for jumping over when it is turned over and over them, as a game or for exercise

skirting board  —  baseboard

= a plank of wood or hard board fixed along the base of a wall where it meets the floor of the room

ski sticks  —  ski poles

= a pair of pointed sticks held by a skier while skiing

sleeping partner  —  silent partner

= a partner in a business who invests money but does not take any active part in the actual running of the business

slip road  —  ramp

= a road for driving onto or off a motor way

slow coach  —  slow poke

= said of a person who seems to be moving or acting very slowly

smart  —  sharp

= said of a person who is good to look at; who puts on neat attractive clothes

social security  —  welfare

= the money given to unemployed, ill or old people by the government

sofa  — couch/divan port

= a piece of furniture; a seat with thick, soft back and arms for two or three people to sit on

soft drink  —  soda/pop

= a sweet-tasting, non-alcoholic drink containing a harmless gas

somewhere  —  someplace

= at or in any place

to sound (car horn)   —  to blow (car horn)

= to use a sound-making apparatus called ‘horn’ in a motor vehicle

spanner  —  wrench/monkey wrench

= a kind of metal hand tool with which mechanics fix machines

spirits  —  liquor

= strong alcoholic drinks, such as whisky, brandy, rum, gin, etc.

spittoon  —  cuspidor

= a container set on the floor, usually in the corridors or staircase of a public building, for people to spit in instead of on the walls or floor

spring roll  —  egg roll

= a type of Chinese food item

staff  —  faculty

= all the teaching and non-teaching workers of a university; a department of a branch of learning

staircase  —  stairway/staircase

= a flight of steps with its support railings used for reaching one level (floor) of a building from another

standard lamp  —  floor lamp

= a tall lamp that stands on the floor of a room – not hung on the wall

state school  —  public school

= a government school where students get free education – do not pay money to get education

station  —  depot (the letter ‘t’ is silent)

= a building on a bus or railway route where passengers (or goods/things) get on or off

stocks  —  bonds

=the capital amount of money owned by a business, company, divided into shares

stone  —  pit

= the hard shell containing the nut or seed inside some fruits

stoned  — zonked

= (of a person) feeling very light and happy under the influence of drugs, such as LSD, cocaine, etc.

straight  —  direct

= doing or saying or asking for something without hesitation or without using any examples or introduction

street lamp  —  street-light

= a light usually a big electric bulb on a long metal pole that lights up streets

stupid  —  dumb (the letter ‘b’ is silent)

= (of a person or animal) foolish; silly

subway  —  pedestrian pass/under pass

= a small way (road) under a busy road or railway by which pedestrians (people walking) cross safely

sultanas  —  raisins

= a small seedless dried fruit used in cakes, sweet food items, etc.

sump  —  oil pan

= a part at the lower section of an engine which holds the supply of oil

sun lounge  —  sun parlor/sun porch

= a room in a building with large open or glass-fitted windows that let in sunlight to keep the people inside warm in cold weather

supervisor  —  mentor/advisor

= a person whose job is to keep watch over or to give advice to workers

suspender belt/suspender  —  garter belt/garters

= a strap hanging from the girdle to hold up a stocking (a woman’s long socks)

swede  (without the capital ‘s’)  —  rutabaga

= a kind of round yellow vegetable [the word ‘swede’ with a capital ‘s’ – Swede — is a person from ‘Sweden’, a country in Europe]

sweets  —  candy

= a piece of sweet-tasting substance of sugar or chocolate eaten mostly by children

swiss roll  —  jelly roll

= a type of fatless cake baked in thin flat piece and then rolled up with jam or cream inside

swot  —  grind

= a student who studies very hard spending too much time to get excellent exam results

tail board  —  tail gate

= a door-like sheet of strong metal at the rear (back) of a vehicle that can be let down or removed to make loading or unloading easy

takeaway  —  carry-out/take out

= a place where cooked food in packages is bought and taken away to be eaten later, usually at home

talking-shop  —  gabfest

= a casual gathering of people for general talk

tallboy  —  high boy

= a tall chest of drawers with short legged base, usually made of wood

tap (indoors)  —  faucet

= a small apparatus fixed to a pipe or barrel to control the flow of liquid, usually water or beer

tap (outdoors)  —  spigot

= an apparatus fitted to pipes or containers placed outdoors, for turning on or off the flow of water

taxi  —  cab

= a car hired by people, usually within a town or city

tea-towel  —  dish-towel

= a piece of soft cloth used for drying the washed kitchen utensils, cups, bowls, dishes, etc.

tea trolley  —  tea wagon

= a small table with wheels on which dishes of food and drinks are kept, and which can be pushed around easily to serve food and/or drinks to a large gathering

technical college/technical school  — junior college/trade school

= an educational institution where practical or scientific subjects to improve technical skills rather than academic subjects are taught

teleprinter  — teletypewriter

= (old usage) a kind of typewriter-like machine used for sending or receiving printed messages from long distances (now out-dated)

tenpin bowling  — tenpins

= a kind of indoor game

thesis  — dissertation

= some written material submitted by a student at a university for his/her doctorate degree (Ph.D.—Doctor of Philosophy)

tick  —  check

= a mark put against some name or answer to show that it is right or correct or the name on a list is considered

ticket tout  —  scalper

= a person who buys or gets hold of some tickets before hand and  sells them for higher price outside a theatre or some sport ground when they are not available (sold out) in the ticket box (an illegal activity)

tie pin  —  stick pin/tie-tack

= an ornamental metal pin worn in a necktie

tights  —  panty-hose/pantyhose

= a close-fitting garment (an item of clothes) covering the lower part of the body and legs, worn by women and girls

time table  —  schedule

= a table on a sheet of paper or board showing the arrival and departure of buses, trains, planes, etc. and also any plan that shows the time at which the stated events are to happen; a daily teaching programme of a class in an educational institution

tin (noun)  —  can (noun)

= a small metal box or container for beans, fish, meat, beer, tobacco, or any food items

toll motorway  —  turn pike/pike/turnpike road

= a road for the use of motor vehicles on which a motorist has to pay some small amount of money to use it

tram/tram car  —  street car/trolley

= a public transport vehicle for passengers, usually run by electricity, runs along the streets of big towns and cities

tramp  —  hobo/hobo

= a person, without a home, job, money, wanders from place to place begging for good

trade union  —  labor union

= an organisation of workers to represent its members’ interests to the employers

trainer  —  tennis shoes

= a type of strong shoes a person wears for long walks or sports

treacle  —  molasses

= the thick dark liquid produced in the sugar making process (one of the by-products of the sugar making process)

trousers  —  pants/slacks

= an outer garment, an item of clothing, worn from waist down by men and boys and these days by women, too

truck  —  flatcar

= a railway goods (heavy things) carriage without sides or roof

truckle bed  —  trundle bed

= a low bed usually on wheels that is pushed under a high bed when not in use

trunk call  —  long distance call

= (old usage; out-dated) a telephone call made over a long distance, from one town or city or country to another (before STD & ISTD came into use)

tube/the underground  —  subway

= a railway system in which trains run under the ground

turn ups  —  cuffs

= a narrow piece of cloth folded upwards at the bottom of the legs of trousers

underpants  —  shorts/underpants

= short underclothes that cover the lower part (waist and thighs) of the body worn by men (and also by women)

undertaker/funeral director  —  mortician

= a person whose job or business is to arrange burials (the burying or burning/cremation of (people’s) dead bodies)

unit trust  —  mutual fund

= a business establishment (company) formed to control capital (money) investments of various types

vegetable garden/flower garden  —  garden

= a piece of land near a house or building on which flowers or vegetables are grown

verge  —  shoulder

= (apart from other meanings) the edge or border of a road or path

vest  —  undershirt

= a short usually sleeveless under garment (an item of clothing) worn by men and also women to cover the upper part of the body

vigour  —  pep

= brisk energy; keen activity

visiting card  —  calling card

= a small card with a person’s name, profession, phone number and address printed on it, given to others for further contact

waistcoat  —  vest

= a close-fitting sleeveless garment that reaches the waist and is worn under the jacket (coat of a suit of clothes) by men and also by women

walking frame/zimmer frame  —  walker

= a metal frame which reaches the waist of a person, used by old or people with problems in walking to help them walk

wallet  —  billfold

= a flat leather or plastic case for holding paper money carried by a man in his jacket or trouser pocket

wash basin  —  sink/wash bowl

= a large bowl fixed in the bathroom for holding water for washing hand and face

watch-strap  —  watch-band

= a plastic or metal strap for fastening one’s wrist-watch on one’s wrist

wellingtons/wellington boots  —  rubbers

= a pair of boots (foot-wear) made of rubber that reaches up to knee level of the person wearing

whisky cocktail  —  highball

= an alcoholic drink

wind cheater  —  windbreaker

= a short garment (an item of clothing) for the upper part of the body, usually tightly fitted at the neck, waist and wrists, worn to keep out cold wind

wind screen  —  windshield

= a piece of transparent material usually glass fixed across the front of a motor vehicle to protect the driver and passengers from wind, rain, cold and dust

wing of a car  —  fender

= the part of a motor vehicle that is above the wheel (a sheet of metal giving shape to the vehicle)

with ice  —  on the rocks

= (of an alcoholic drink) with ice cubes (square pieces of ice) only, no water or soda is mixed

witness box  —  witness stand

= a box-like enclosure where a witness in a court of law sits or stands while giving evidence (testifying)

word perfect  —  letter perfect

= showing correctness to the smallest detail, in speech, writing, etc.

work top  —  counter

= a flat smooth surface on top a piece of furniture, such as a table or bench-like, in the kitchen

zip  —  zipper

= a kind of fastener, used in place of buttons or hooks



After having learnt all these rules, we are bound to get a couple of questions, such as…

1.  Which spelling system do I use: British English or American English?

And the answer given by many an expert in this field is:

If you are going to write to Americans or to take an examination in any American Institution, learn or use American English, and if there is anything to do with the British use British English!

2.  Which will be the most useful to me as an English language learner – American English or British English?

And the answer given by many an expert in this field is: If you are going to speak mostly to Americans then standard American English will be more useful.  If you are going to speak to British people then standard British English will be more useful.  Certainly at present, speakers of standard British English and speakers of standard American English have no real problems communicating with each other.  The important thing to remember is that they are not two separate languages; they are one language with some differences.  If you speak one form quite well then you will not have problems understanding the other. But the most important thing is not to mix the two varieties; use one or the other, not mixed!

Next…Section B2 same word: British & American!





English Vocabulary

English Vocabulary

English: American or British?

Spelling Differences ADifferent WordsSame words …   Usage Difference

In any given sentence or expression a noun or a pronoun in the subject part, and a VERB in the predicate part are compulsory. Without them it is not possible to make a sensible sentence.
In some sentences, however, the subject part is omitted, without any change in the meaning of the sentence. But without a verb it is not possible to make a sentence at all.
For instance, it is hard to make out any sense of this following group of words:

“Oh! A great magician amazingly at the magic show and the audience it very well.”

Even if the listeners of this expression use their common sense and apply their already acquired knowledge of ‘magician’ ‘magic show’ ‘audience’ and ‘very well’, the actual meaning is not clear. Why?
Though nouns (magician, magic show, audience), pronoun (it), adjective (great), adverbs (amazingly, very, well), preposition (at), conjunction (and), interjection (Oh!) and the articles (a, the, the) are used in this group of words, the actual meaning [what did the magician do? or what happened at the magic show?] is lost because the most important part of speech – the verb – is missing!

Therefore, it is to be understood that to make an expression clear and interesting to the listener or reader, we need to use all or some of the Parts of Speech in their right positions, depending on the context and/or the situation, along with the articles, of course. But to make a group of words give us an idea at all, what we need most are the noun or pronoun and the verb.

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