British English Words I Learned in Three Weeks

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Friday nights are usually Netflix movie nights with the husband. One night, we decided to watch About Time, a drama / fantasy movie that lets the men in one family line travel back in time. It’s also a British movie and I think watching it within three weeks of me arriving in the UK was very fitting. I discovered that British English is different from the American English that we use in the Philippines. The movie gave me more insight since I’ve encountered some words already prior to watching it.

I didn’t know that I had to re-learn English.

Here’s a list of the British English words I learned within three weeks of living in UK:

1. Fringe

I’m more familiar with bangs. If you watched the movie About Time, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) and Mary (Rachel McAdams) talked about her fringe possibly being too short after their dinner at Dans Le Noir.

2. Eat in or take away

I got confused the first time I was asked if I wanted “eat in or take away.” I was used to hearing “dine in or take out.” Most places have different price listings for eat in and take away. I’m lazy to cook dinner during Saturdays so we usually order take away nearby. They’re closed now though because of the lockdown. 🙁 Take away places here in Malmesbury open at 5:00 PM and Brits surely love them. The places were often packed!

3. Post Code

I am more used to Zip instead of Post in filling up addresses. We also noticed how awesome the address mapping here is, not just on the post code but on the actual house. They don’t usually use numbers as block or lot numbers, instead, they use house names such as “FamilyName Cottage” for example and it pins on the exact location! That’s probably what Liam Neeson used. =))

4. To Let

We see this sign everywhere, even the real estate offices are named with Let like Mason Let. I’m actually confused if there is a difference between To Let and For Rent but some explanations say that letting is used by the owner, and renting is used by the renter if that makes sense? No? British English is confusing you? Okay let’s move on.

5. Holiday

Holiday back home means an officially recognized significant day such as National Heroes day, Christmas, or New Year. Here, they call it bank holidays which usually fall on a Monday. My husband also mentioned that their British colleagues do not understand if they used vacation leave when they will be off work for 2 days or 2 weeks. They still call it a holiday.

6. Till

Groceries and supermarkets don’t use cashier but instead use till which means a money drawer in a store according to Merriam-Webster. Also, plastic bags here have charges so bringing your own eco bag is a must.

7. Surgery

I had to schedule a doctor’s appointment to a nearby clinic and to do that, I had to register my health insurance number. Not knowing the rest of the requirements, I had to call and ask for them including the servicing hours. I was answered with “The surgery is open until 7PM daily.” I was confused because I didn’t need surgery, I only need a consultation. After the call I had to Google surgery and found out that’s what Brits call their clinics. Talk about the escalation from clinic to surgery real quick. =))

Bonus: Date Format

It’s not a word but I’ve learned that my birthday would probably be changed here if I filled up forms the same way I did back home. British date format is DD / MM / YYYY instead of MM / DD / YYYY that I’m used to so take note! Very important in registration stuff. 😀

These are some of the British English words I encountered and I would probably make another list for more. I still won’t be using “bloody” in my sentences though. =))

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