45 Questions Americans Have For British People – Answered!

Good afternoon lovelies,

Today’s post is dedicated purely to the relationship between Britain, and our Transatlantic friends in the USA. For now, I’m going to be answering 45 questions for you, with yet another American snack tasting post for you tomorrow! I’ve wanted to do a post like this Q & A for so long because I know that so many of my American friends are really curious about life on our tiny island, so when I saw The Fashion Ball’s (further known as TFB) post on Twitter, I knew that I had to get involved.. A lot of my readers are in the USA, so as a special thankyou for your continued support, I wanted to do something which maybe feels a little bit more personal. Don’t forget, if you have any questions for me, leave them in the comments and if I will be sure to answer them another time!

A little about me, I don’t live in and have never visited London so the thoughts in this post are entirely my own, as a woman born and raised outside of the capital. I’ve lived in Bristol all of my life, though I have travelled all over Britain. Asides that, I’m going to put my hand up now and say that yes, I voted for Brexit. As a woman from a fishing family, that decision was based around a push for fairer trade and an agreement around acceptable behaviours on waters, particularly with the on-off ‘scallop war’ with France which endangers lives on both sides. I’ve seen British fishermen struggle to sell their catches because international sellers are able to sell their produce for less, and that saddens me. I’d welcome a new deal with Europe but unfortunately I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I don’t in any way support any anti-immigration or nationalisitic policies and I don’t associate with those who do. As long as you respect my country, our people and our values, you’re very much welcome here!

Alright, so let’s get on with the questions!

1. Why do British people call cookies “biscuits”?

Okay, so TFB is absolutely right. Biscuits are typically hard, dry and need dunking in tea or coffee to soften them up. You don’t have to dunk a biscuit, but it’s sort of what British people do. Most Brits drink the stereotypical “sweet white” tea, which means to say two teaspoons of sugar and a splash of milk in our tea. If you ask for more sugar, you will get dodgy looks. Two teaspoons of sugar in most households is normal 😉 Some of our biscuits have cream fillings, like custard creams, bourbon biscuits or my personal favourite, the Fox’s jam n’ cream. Not all do though, and biscuits like McVitie’s digestives or Hobnobs can be quite hard and dry without a drink.

2. Why do British judges still wear powdered wigs?

M’okay, so this isn’t strictly true. In a civil or magistrates court, judges just wear smart dresses or suits. Even at a crown court or supreme court, wigs aren’t always worn. As our judicial system has become more modernised, wigs are sort of worn less and less. However, in high profile cases or in cases where there may be a threat to safety (such as dealing with murderers and rapists), a judge might choose to wear a wig. They are worn to help to protect the identity of the judge outside of the courtroom. However, on TV’s set in Britain, they’re quite frequently worn. When I attended my PIP tribunal last year, I was quite amazed by how different it all seemed. The civil court courtroom was more like a small lecture hall, and the judge wore a smart dress and a jacket. She even came down to meet me ahead of my hearing so that I knew I had nothing to be scared of.

3. Why do British people call diapers “nappies?”

TFB is right here again. Traditionally, “nappies” were made with old napkins that could be washed, dried and used again. Although we now have disposable options, the name has long lived on.#

Subway train at London underground.

4. How many times do British people need to be reminded to mind the gap?

Haha, more often than you might think! Brits are a nation of polite people and we just don’t want you hurting yourself or losing your luggage under the train, so you’ll see “mind the gap”, “mind your head” or “mind your step” signs around. If you don’t mind, you could wind up hurt, and then we’ll feel bad for you.

5. Why do British people drink tea in literally every situation?

Tea is the elixir of life! Who doesn’t love tea?! Tea to Britain is like MSG to Asian cuisine. If you’re sad, drink tea. If you’re cold, drink tea. Can’t think? Stressed out? You need tea..

Oh also, while we’re here. America, please stop thinking we sip tea from teacups while we hold our pinky finger in the air and eat cute little sandwiches and cakes. If you saw us sit down with a mug full of tea and three rustic digestive biscuits for dunking, you’d be horrified. Nobody drinks tea in teacups with cute little cakes in 2020. Okay, maybe the Queen.

A true British cup of tea
A proper British “cuppa”

6. How on Earth do British people deal with the weather?

Can I just say here, it doesn’t always rain in the UK.. This was October last year!

The road to Cornall, UK on a sunny day
The road to Cornwall on a gloriously sunny day!

Seriously though America, heating systems, warmer clothing, hot drinks, raincoats and umbrellas. You know those things you do in the US when the weather isn’t so favourable? Brits do them too! You know, Britain is famous for always being rainy and we do get a lot of rain, but we do also get some insanely hot weather! I can remember back about summer 1996. It was so hot, my Dad’s garden hose melted!

7. Why do British people all strip down when they see the slightest bit of sun?

Haha, we don’t. However, what you can expect at the slightest hint of heat in April is the smell of barbecue. Some British families go a bit crazy for it, and they’re probably also the ones who strip off whenever the sun comes out. 12 degrees out there? Feels a bit toasty if you sit in the sun? That’s it, start up the barbie!

Marmite

8. Why do British people think Marmite tastes good?

We do? I’ll have to get my birth certificate changed. Marmite is vile. I’ve done a few international food swaps in my time and I only ever send Marmite to people because everyone knows it exists. Twiglets are another ungodly creation. The saying is “you’ll eiher love it or you’ll hate it” , and I can safely say that I hate it!

9. Why do British people have two taps instead of one?

TFB is right on this one for the most part. However, largely it’s a class thing. Having one tap (or faucet) is generally seen as a sign of wealth, although some high-end hotels still uphold the polished two tap bathtub for a vintage aesthetic. Still, in the homes of most working class families, you will find two bulky, stainless steel taps on our bathtub and sinks.

10. What’s the deal with cricket?

Cricket is a British sport, so it’s natural that we’d enjoy it. However, most British men actually prefer football.

11. Why do British people lose their accents when they sing?

I don’t sing, so I can’t honestly tell you, but I think it’s a pretty common thing. Britney Spears sounds completely different when she sings to when she talks, doesn’t she? You put more strain on the vocal cords when you sing, so I think that’s normal.

Queen Elizabeth in a hoirse drawn carriage

12. Why are British people so obsessed with the Royal family?

Look, love them or hate them, the Royal family is the Royal family. Why are Americans so obsessed with the U.S. Presidency? It’s pretty much the same thing, only we don’t get to vote them in. Some people like them, others can’t stand them. A lot of British people make jokes about Camilla Parker-Bowles (Prince Phillip’s wife) looking like a horse and a lot of young British people secretly want the Queen as their grandmother. A lot of us think the Royal family has a crazy amount of wealth too, and we pay too much to the monarch. Prince WIlliam and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton are big advocates of mental health, and who can’t get behind that?!

13. Why are British people all so stoic?

Hey, we complain too! I think the thing is though, Americans can be a little more… forthright in how they complain. I mean, in the US, expressions like “fuck my life” are kind of the norm, whereas in the UK, most people past about 25 just wouldn’t say that. We use “bloody” a lot, which is blaspemous, but not strictly swearing. So it goes, there is a poem that my Dad taught me about the word “bloody” which makes its use perfectly acceptable. So it goes:

Bloody’s in the Bible,

Bloody’s in the Book.

If you don’t believe me,

Take a bloody look!

So, with that cleared up then, Brits tend to use “bloody” more than strong expletives. If you said to someone “this rain is fucking horrendous, isn’t it?”, they might not regard you too nicely because there’s no need to swear since a lot of people don’t like it when it rains. However, if you said “this weather is bloody awful, isn’t it?” (which is such a British thing to say!) then you’ll be met more empathetically, because Brits don’t regard “bloody” as swearing. I think ‘we’re not that different, but Brits are slightly less eccentric in their self-expression than our American counterparts.

14. How many BBC channels are there?

Tons, but you know what? We do have others, too. If the BBC’s sensationalism annoys you, you could try ITV, who are a little more grounded and personally my preference for getting an update on world affairs. TFB also mentions BBC Three, but BBC Three no longer exists, though there is talk of it returning. A lot of British households actually spend huge swathes of time watching Channel 4 these days, which is not owned by the BBC at all.

TBF is also right about our radio stations. BBC Radio 1 usually covers latest music charts, Radio 2 covers contemporary music, BBC radio 3 features classical music, opera and jazz and BBC Radio 4 typically includes spoken shows, including the, interviews, news and podcasts.

15. What do Britain want to be called? Britain, Great Britain, England, the United Kingdom or the U/K.?

This is really complicated, so hold on. If you’re talking about those of us who are connected by land (England, Scotland and Wales), then we are Great Britain. If you’re talking about the United Kingdom, then that also includes Northern Ireland (but not Republic of Ireland). However, on our own, we are four separate countries, and unless you’re involving all of us, then we are each by our own name, Patriotism (but not nationalism!) is common in the UK, and some people don’t like to be clumped together as “British”. I’m going to make up a term here to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Let’s clump the USA and Canada together for a moment (I know, I know – sorry!) and imagine that they were just called “North Atlanticians”, you lose that sense of autonomy. It’s not that you inherently hate anyone from the other country, it’s just that you have a sense of pride in where you come from. For people in Britain, it’s quite often the same. I actually have some wonderful friends in Wales and the English-Welsh banter can be ruthless at times, but if push comes to shove then we’d be there for one another in a heartbeat.

As for Britain or U.K.? “Britain” is a term that we just know to mean us. It’s like saying America, you don’t know where exactly, you just know that the speaker is referring to that part of the world. We don’t generally call ourselves “Great Britain” anymore because that dates back to days of colonialism and we don’t really regard ourselves as so great anymore, especially not in times of international community and trade. As for U.K., if you want to refer to us as the U.K., or even just UK, feel free to do so. Just please don’t shorten us to ‘U’ rather than ‘UK’, as there are other countries that begin with a U and it could cause a lot of confusion. It works fine with the US as we know where you mean, but it doesn’t work for us.

Two girls talking on an embankment
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

16. Why are there so many British accents?

Why does the Californian accent sound different to New York that sounds different to Texas? TFB is exactly right, it comes down to people spending time together in groups. In fact, even here in Bristol, the accent in North Bristol is different to South Bristol. It’s to do with communities, families and spending time with one another. Especially here in the South West, the population is so spread out with small pockets of civilisation that it’s natural for people to form communities and therefore accents and dialects.

17. Why do British people say “maths” instead of “math”?

You don’t do one math, do you? “Maths” is really just short for “mathematics”. Personally, I’m actually really ‘triggered’ by “math”. To me, America, you’re wrong, and it should be called “maths”. Agree to disagree?

18. Why do British people call lines “queues”?

If anything is in a queue, then it is waiting for something. If you’re waiting for several files to download, they’re not “lining” are they? It’s interesting though, because in British schools, students are often told to “line up”, and indeed, that means to form a straight line. A queue, although still arguably a line, is more relaxed. A queue is allowed to curve and tail off to the left or the right, and indeed, when you see people queuing to get on a bus, you will often note that it tails off to the left or the right instead of cutting right across the pavement (sidewalk). Whatever you do, do not push in unless you want to be scolded or wolloped (punched). If there is a queue, do the civil thing and go to the back of it, and no, we don’t care how much of a rush you’re in. If someone gets there when you do, say “after you” and then stand behind them. Again, if you try and jostle in ahead of someone, you can expect burning ears. Like I said earlier, Britain is a very polite country!

19. Why do British people eat toast with beans on top?

Haha, we don’t all do that! TFB is right, it’s a cheap, warming and easy meal, but it’s not all we eat! Seriously though, you know those food combinations Americans love? Get a slice of bread, toast is until it’s just golden, butter it (it must be butter, not vegetable spread!) and top it off with half a can of warm baked beans in tomato sauce. You cannot get more British than that! Penny Berry also told me that Americans don’t really get baked beans in tomato sauce, and here in the UK, pretty much all of our baked beans are in tomato sauce! Could that be the difference and the reason for the disgust? Maybe.

Dang it, now I fancy me some toast and beans..

A British airways jet at sunset
Image by Steve001 from Pixabay

20. Why do British people go on vacation for so long?

I mean, what are we calling “long” here America? In the UK, most employees are given 28 days annual leave per year, and it’s up to you how you use them. Also, unless you’re meant to cover a weekend, then Saturdays and Sundays don’t class as part of your annual leave and so a two-week vacation really goes down as just 10 working days. Now think this through, you could have two 14-day breaks in your year, plus an extra 8 days off to use up when you want them or as you need them. Wouldn’t you do the same?

21. Why do British people call their dogs John and really ordinary Christian first names? Weirdos.

Hugo actually nearly wasn’t “Hugo”, he was very nearly “Crumble”. So it goes, I took a packet of Oatie Crumbles (ASDA’s version of Hobnobs) out of the cupboard while Mr Wolfie and I were discussing names for him and I just thought that, because of Hugo’s smattering of brown patches, it seemed like a totally adorable name. That’s fine, but we decided that as he grew up, a 6-year-old dog called “Crumble” might not seem so cute anymore. TFB is absolutely right here, Britain is a nation of dog lovers and we see our dogs as family members, not work animals or fashion accessories. To me, Hugo is my “fur son”, I have a dog because I don’t want to have children, so a more human name seems fitting for him. I don’t dress him up though. Even if he’s my fur son, he’s still a dog. Just because I love him that extra bit doesn’t mean that I don’t want him to be comfortable, as a dog.

22. Why do British people always ask for Americanos?

This question made me laugh, because I don’t know anyone who drinks Americanos. I guess maybe in London? But hey America, newsflash! Not all of Britain is London! Just to demonstrate, here is a picture of the UK. I’ve circled my city of Bristol in blue, and London in red. As you can see, I’m on the other side of the country!

A map of the United Kingdom, Bristol and London are circled
Source: Wikimedia

Now, to be clear here, life outside of London is not like life in it. In fact, if you take a look at this map of the UK from the Brexit vote, you will notice that opinions on topics tend to happen in clusters. London was overwhelmingly Vote Remain, but outside of London, most of the UK was Vote Leave. Here in the South West, we have a huge fishing and agricultural industry and a lot of people saw Europe as our competitors. For the wealthy elite and the 8.9 million people who can afford to live and work in London, affordable and easy travel is key and so of course they would want to remain in Europe. This was something that was very notable after the results were announced – London is very much at odds with the rest of England!

Map of the 2016 UK Brexit referendum results
Regional map of 2016 Brexit referendum. Vote Leave in Blue, Vote Remain in yellow. Source: Wikimedia.

Going back to the asker’s question, I think again this is likely to be something that has been seen in London, where perhaps, Londoners can afford to be picky or even know what an Americano is. Outside of London and to most people, coffee is just coffee, they don’t care what you’re calling it.

23. Why do British people like Bake Off so much? I don’t understand why it’s so great.

The Great British Bake Off is amazing! How could you?! It’s part of our culture, it’s something that we like to watch. As a Brit, I don’t “get” a lot of American shows, I can’t understand the need to be excited about everything extravagant or how being bitchy to one another is in any way entertaining. It’s a lifestyle difference. In the UK, cake is very much part of our culture. We still eat it when we drink tea, just not usually tiny cakes, and not usually accompanied by tea in tiny teacups.

Bake Off is typically filmed in the summer, which might owe to some of it’s popularity. It has a typical British summer garden party vibe with it’s huge white tent (really a marquee) and all of the colourful bunting. It the summer, fetes and fayres are also popular in the UK and they are where you can normally expect to buy cakes, too. Some may even have other events going on as well, like Morris dancing, maypole dancing and dog agility shows.

When it comes to Bake Off, a lot of Brits love the subtle banter and sarcasm between the bakers and the judges. The bakers sometimes turn out absolute disasters, and we, as imperfect people ourselves, share their pain and enjoy the camaraderie that goes with their questionable bakes. TBF is right, the format of GBBO has changed and they have recently taken on British comedian Matt Lucas. To me, that was a mistake, and I’ve found some of Matt’s behaviour to be incredibly gross, immature and generally not suited to a kitchen environment. During Dessert week, there was a part of the show in which Matt over pronounced his “P’s” and risked getting spittle all over the baker and his work surface which a lot of people found uneasy, especially during a global pandemic. Last week and during the semi-final Patisserie Week, a lot of viewers were outraged when Hermine was sent home, but Laura, who didn’t have one good round, got to stay. It’s a show that unites the nation and, like I mentioned earlier, it’s one of the delights that we watch every week on Channel 4.

24. Why do British people intend on calling sweets candy just to get popular on Youtube?

Okay, so first of all I don’t have a YouTube channel so this sort of doesn’t apply to me, but as a blogger, sometimes I will use “candy” just to pull my international friends up to speed. In some countries, a “sweet” is a dessert, so to to be clear that I’m talking about the things you can buy in vast sugary quantities, sometimes I’ll just use “candy” instead. I will, however, use “sweets” and “candy” interchangeably once I’ve made my point clear. After all, “candy” is not the correct British term. As for doing it to get popular? Not cool, go away.

25. Why do British people end everything with xx or xxx ?

It’s a friendly thing! It started off realy when texting became a thing in the 90’s, but seriously, there is a rule on the number of ‘kisses’ you put. None? That’s formal, you’re either up tight or you’re texting your boss. One? You’re trying to be friendly but don’t really know the person. Two? You think a lot of that person, you’re close to them and you like them. Three? It’s getting hot in here now! Three is best kept for those people you really, really like. 4-5? Same again, but you’re kind of being desperate and immature now. 6 or more? Woah! So needy. Run!

26. Why do British people eat their burgers with a fork and knife?

Okay, so first of all, I am so triggered by this question, and I mean want to tear my scalp off and pull my eyeballs out with my fingertips kind of triggered. It’s a knife and fork, America! Think of eating like going into battle with your plate. You wouldn’t prong your food first with your fork, would you? No. Your knife is your dominant tool, it goes in your dominant hand. Please, please, address your knife first, respect it, polish it and put it in a velvet lined box between uses if you like.

I’m just kidding.

Remember what I said about British people being polite? It’s a politeness thing. If you pick up a burger and scoff that thing in a restaurant, people are going to think you’re kind of uncivilised. Yes, it takes longer, yes, I know it seems unimaginable and kind of frustrating, but take it from someone who orders burgers in a restaurant and eats them with a knife and fork, it can be done. Plus, the high-end burgers taste much nicer than Maccy D’s – that’s a promise!

27. Why do British people have a thing against Americans?

Why do Americans have a thing against British people? It seems like you either love us or you hate us. You find us cute, but you find us weird and crazy and sometimes stupid, too. You say we have yellow teeth, but don’t like it when we say that your diet is gross and unhealthy. Believe me, it goes both ways. If you want to be respected and have a conversation about cultural differences, judge us less and listen more.

I think there are a lot of things that Brits know to be true of Americans, and a lot of things we think to be true. First of all, owning a gun is part of your constitutional rights, but owning a gun in the UK is likely to see you staring down the barrel of an MP5, unless of course you’re a farmer. We hear about gun violence, we hear about people getting shot and killed over seemingly nothing at all and we think Americans kind of have anger issues. You have to remember and keep in mind, the media is a very powerful thing. We see a guy get arrested after a car chase on the TV, but in the same show they show a guy who pulled a gun on a US Trooper and shot at him. We start to think that happens a lot, we start to think you have no respect for the police, and we start to think you’re just slightly trigger happy.

Secondly, the US is the only country to ever drop a nuclear bomb. Back during the Second World War, that might have seemed necessary, but as it is seen all over the world now, the act is unimaginable. A lot of countries see the US as the country that has done it once and could do it again, and sadly, there is a tiny amount of distrust between some British people and our American allies. We like you, but we also don’t trust you a tiny bit.

Third, and you knew this was coming, politics. Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election, some people said it was a fix and Brits started to accept it and butt out so that America could fix its business, but then we see and hear from people who support him. Like in all countries, people have varying degrees of political support for one person or another, but British people hear some of Trump’s supporters say that the coronavirus is made up and it makes us do a sharp intake of breath. Are there really people who support and believe what he says? Trump is kind of the equivalent to our clown-in-office Boris Johnson, but some of his more nationalistic stances even verge towards our least popular politicians like former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. For a lot of Brits, the idea that you would support someone who holds those views is unfathomable.

Finally, and this is my own personal one, your food. Your additives and your portion sizes. I remember talking about this with a man from North Carolina and he told me that the additives are usually because of the huge distances that food produces have to travel, but in the UK, some of those additives are unthinkable. A trip across country in the US takes about 48 hours. In the UK, you could do it in about 6, with breaks and moderate traffic. As long as our food is chilled, it doesn’t need additives because it can be in freezers or on shelves within 48 hours. Still, to Brits, if additives can preserve your foods then what on earth might they do to our insides?

On portion sizes, I’ve never personally understood America’s fascination with eating competitions, and I don’t condone them in the UK, either. They produce so much wasted food and they lead to obesity, I really don’t see the appeal. When I see shows like My 600 Lb Life, The Biggest Loser and Super Size Me and some of the food and portion sizes that they eat, I really start to wonder about the American lifestyle. I’m sure it’s not the same in all American households, but it does little to shift the stereotype that Americans are fat, lazy and need oxygen to keep them alive. It’s why we need conversations and Q&A’s like this one, so we can take stereotypes about one another and boot them out through the door.

A black and white photo of people walking through London. A man in a black flat cap in at the forefront of the photograph.
Image by Natalie White from Pixabay

28. Why do all British people look inherently evil?

Why are Americans so hyperactive and energetic? Like woah there! It’s 9am on a Monday morning, where have you got all of this energy from?!

Seriously though, I don’t think we look evil, just focused and determined. Brits get stuck in what they are doing and going about what it is they’re trying to achieve, and nobody wants to get stuck out in the rain. Forgive us? We do smile once we’re warm and dry!

29. Why do British people say “its okay” when you say thankyou? I suppose it’s better than “you’re welcome” when you’re not.

Actually, “it’s okay” is kind of.. eh. To me, I’d take “it’s okay” to mean that you’re not welcome, and they are literally shutting you down. That person does not want to engage with you, they just want yout to hurry the f*ck up so that they can go about their business. Personally, I always say “no problem”, because it’s not a problem for me to be nice to someone. If you strike up a conversation with me after that, I might be taken aback by it a bit but hey, cool. Trust me, this girl chats..

Maybe again this is just something that someone has experienced in London on the Tube? I don’t know. Here in the South West, we’re a talkative bunch.

30. Why do British people love Christmas specials?

Eh, again, not everyone does. I prefer Christmas films (that’s what we call them here 😉 ) to TV shows. I grew up watching Scrooge and A Muppet’s Christmas Carol almost every year, but since losing my Dad, they’re too painful for me to watch. Home Alone though, who doesn’t like Home Alone?!

31. If people don’t pronounce R’s, why use them at all? Why not just spell things how they sound?

Just take a listen to this short video. Go ahead and tell me that we don’t use our R’s. A silly question really, no?

32. Why do British people say “my friend called Tom” instead of “my friend named Tom”?

Who does that? Seriously? I would never say “my friend called Tom” OR “my friend named Tom”. I mean, to me, “my friend named Tom is kind of stupid, but so is “my friend called Tom”. I mean like, yeah, duh, it doesn’t matter if he was named that or called that, you’ve still got to say “Tom” to get his attention, right? I wouldn’t use either example. Personally, I would say “my friend, Tom” or “this is my friend, Tom”. It doesn’t matter if we’re calling him or naming him, he’s still Tom.

33. Why do British people say Mum instead of Mom but not Dud instead of Dad?

Really, America? If something is a dud, then it’s kind of dead or not real, isn’t it? Of course he’s you’re Dad! I think also, if Brits were to say “Mom”, then in a lot of British accents it probably wouldn’t sound like much of a noise at all as Brits lower the more for an “o”. Our pronounciation of “Mum” is pretty close to the American pronunciation of “Mom” anyway, so although it’s spelled differently, really, it’s more or less pronounced the same.

34. Why do British people wear football shirts on holiday? I mean this is New York not Benidorm?

Yeah, I can see why this would be frustrating, but here is the situation: British guys really love their football, and I mean really love it. I’d know, I’m married to a guy who does! More often than not, it’s a kind of signalling that that’s who they support. It’s a pride thing, and these guys are immensely proud of who they support. Don’t condone them, learn about some of our most popular teams and strike up a conversation with them instead. Most likely, you’ll make an international friend for it!

35. Why did a petrol station employee in England refuse a pound note that I got in Scotland?

It’s rare, but some places do have their own currency that gets used instead of the British pound, and TFB is right. Technically, it should still be accepted as legal tender of the same denomination, but some places won’t in case they can’t cash it when they take it to the bank later on. Here in Bristol, we even have the “Bristol pound”. Here is what that looks like:

Bristol pound five pound notes

36. Why do British people say “I don’t rate you” ? Like I’m sorry is this customer service? Did I ask you to rate anything? Is this an evaluation?

Yeah, that’s kind of a rude thing to say. Rate things or things that people do, but not people in and of themselves. I’d like to think that even the most reprehensible human being has some redeeming qualities.

37. Why do British people always have yellow teeth?

A lot of that, to be honest, is probably how much tea we drink. A lot of us like a “builder’s brew”, which means to say a strong, white tea, that’s actually still pretty dark in colour. Caffeine stains your teeth, but a lot of Brits will not give up our hot national beverage, no matter what you do or say.

That aside, and TFB is right again. In the UK, tooth whitening is not regarded as an elective or even medical procedure, it’s cosmetic dentistry which doesn’t offer any health benefits, so it’s not covered by the NHS. Privately, tooth whitening costs upwards of about £300 ($391) per time, which is about a quarter of the average working man’s salary spent on one cosmetic treatment alone. We can get whitening toothpastes, but some are known to contain powerful bleaching agents or abrasive materials that can cause enamel erosion and tooth decay. Personally, I use Colgate Gentle Whitening. It has some whitening properties (bicarbonate of soda) but it’s primary focus is strong teeth, not white teeth.

38. Why do some British men have weird ears? If you warch rugby, you’ll see.

Right again, TFB, although it’s more to do with blunt force trauma than infections. We call it “cauliflower ears” and it’s what happens when you sustain a force to the ear. I’ve been on a few casual dates with rugby players though, they’re nice guys really!

39. Why do British people eat BEANS for breakfast wtf?

Haha not all of us do! I actually don’t like a cooked breakfast. For me, it’s all about a bowl of Shreddies, semi-skimmed milk, a smattering of sultanas and a dusting of cinnamon powder. Follow that with an apple and, you guessed it, some tea!

A woman in a light pink knitted jumper pulls it up while looking into the camera.

40. Why do British people call sweaters jumpers? Where are you jumping? WHO’s MAKING YOU JUMP?

You know, I’m not really sure about the answer to this question, but research would tell you that it may be French in origin.

41. Why do British people talk so fast? Like I can’t understand you, please slow down

Haha, okay, so I do talk fast! Here in the West country, we are notorious for going full throttle, but really, it’s just because we want to give you the full picture. If we’re going too fast, just remind us “woah! Hey, breathe! OK? Right, try again”. We’re pretty used to it.

42. Why do British people call dinner tea? It’s dinner.

TFB is absolutely right, this is a class thing. Upper class folks might also call the midday meal “luncheon”, whereas to the working class, of course, it’s lunch. That said though, I use both dinner and tea. A lot of it depends on who I’m with, the mood we’re in and perhaps most importantly, how lazy we are being! Dinner is normally a dining table event, whereas tea might not be..

43. Why do British people say “I’m sat on the chair” or “I’m sat” or “I’m sitting”?

America, you don’t do this? Like, I mean, once you’re on the chair, you’re sat, yes? You can’t continue to sit, you won’t go any further onto the chair if if you keep “sitting”. You’ve done the sitting motion, so you’re sat, you’re stationary. “Sat” is the past tense of “sitting”, which is what you were doing until you were sat. I suppose “sat” is also applicable for if you’ve got up from said chair, but look, my head hurts now. Just roll with it, okay? Good.

A lady in a sunhat looks out across a beach in Turkey.
Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

44. Why do British people always go to Turkey for vacation?

We don’t? I’ve been going to Cornwall, UK for 20+ years and I’m still not bored. When you see some parts of Cornwall, believe me, there is nowhere in this world you’d rather be. If you’ve ever seen Poldark, I’ve been to where its set, I’ve seen the ships and I’ve walked around the harbour. It’s a quaint, exceptionally expensive little village in Cornwall called Charlestown. Dr Marten as well? Parts of that are filmed in Port Isaac and they do not think much of Martin Clunes there (rumour has it, he’s quite rude to the locals!). Cornwall is in my heart, but it might not be for those who prefer tropical, sandy beaches. It’s cold, it’s windy, it’s rugged, it’s heavenly.

45. Why are British roads so small?

Haha, take it from someone who used to live less than 300 metres from a motorway bridge, not all of them are! We have motorways (which you call highways) in the UK. If you want to be confused, we have A roads and B roads, too. A roads are, I suppose the best way to put it, like sub-motorways. They’re still pretty fast, but whereas motorways are typically around a 70 mph speed limit (unless you’re towing), A roads are single carriageway and usually 50 or 60mph depending, although some are also only 40mph. B roads are the roads that tend to go through villages and the like and are typically 30mph, although a lot are even as low as 20mph because of wildlife or young children and people that may step out into the road. The small roads are in the countryside, they’re not everywhere and it’s a bit misleading to suggest that we have small and windy roads everywhere. Most people don’t drive in the countryside unless they need to because the countryside is notorious for “blind spots”, which can be a spot for accidents. I don’t rank countryside driving either. It’s a great place to lose your lunch!

Alright lovelies, that’s it for this mammoth of a post. Don’t forget, if you have any questions about life in the UK (and from anywhere in the world!), leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them for you next time!

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx

2 thoughts on “45 Questions Americans Have For British People – Answered!

  1. We actually use Biscuit due to our French and Italian influences. Just as America was invaded by just about every European country to become ‘The USA’ The USA word Cookie, comes from the Dutch Colonists (remember New Amsterdam before New York). Cookie originates from the Dutch word for Cake.

    Mind the Gap? The history of this comes deep engrossed in the London Subway System known as the Tube.
    Becuase different parts of ‘Subway’ network were made by different companies, train sizes were different sizes and therefore different ‘gaps’ appear between the train and the platform.
    Id suggest checking out Jago or others tube geek vids on the weird and wonderful history of London’s main transport system.

    Cricket. Even most Brits don’t know where it came from. It might have evolved from a childrens game, and have influence from France or Holland

    I could go on but there’s a deep international history of the meanings and origins of all of the above.

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