Today we are going to visit Tammy and Tara at their homes, and find out how American and British English describe things differently.
Let's start by looking at these two houses. They look the same, both are single storey houses built for just one family. Tara calls this a bungalow, Tammy calls it a rancher. And remember by the way, that in buildings with many levels, the one you start at is called the 'ground floor' in Britain, and the 'first floor' in the USA. In Britain, the first floor is the one above the ground floor. These two houses also have a small room upstairs, which is often used for storing things not needed in the house right now. That's what Tara calls her attic and Tammy calls her loft.
The two houses look almost the same, but Tammy gets her postal deliveries in the mailbox and you can see that Tara has a letter-box in her front door. To get to the letter-box an English postman walks through Tara's front garden. Tammy has a mailman and he does not need to go into her front yard. The person delivering the letters recognizes Tara's house by its postcode. Tammy's house also has a set of letters and numbers to identify it, but she calls this her zipcode.
Now look at their vehicles. Tara's car is parked on the drive, and Tammy's auto is in the driveway, though these days you will hear 'driveway' sometimes used in Britain as well.
If you look at the side of the house, you will see a container where the household waste is put until they are collected. This is Tammy's garbage can. In British English you throw rubbish into a rubbish bin. In American English this is either garbage or trash. Many americans treat the words as synonyms, but properly speaking, trash is dry waste, such as paper and garbage includes wet waste such as unused food. Garbage is taken away by a garbage or waste collector in North America, and by a dustman in Britain.
Now look up on the roof. That's Tara's TV aerial, but Tammy calls it her antenna - and this is another word that has spread to Britain as well. To take the rain from the roof, there's a drainpipe on the side of Tara's house, but Tammy calls this a downspout. Now look at the front window. It gets cold where Tammy and Tara live, so both have an extra layer of glass on the windows. Tara says her windows are double-glazed, and Tammy says they are double-pane window, but they both keep out the cold.
Because she doesn't want people looking into her house, Tammy has sheer curtains. Tara has these too, but she calls then net curtains. At night Tara closes the curtains, and Tammy closes the drapes. In some houses, instead of drapes and curtains, people might use these. The English call them blinds and the Americans call them shades.
That's all the differences in language we can see from just looking at the outside of the houses. We might see even more if Tara and Tammy let us step through the front door into the hall of Tara's house, and the foyer in Tammy's.But let's leave that for next time.
Match the American word with one of the British words shown below. Tap the right answer.
Look at the picture and choose the right word according to the flag next to it.
Anagrams. Find the mixed-up word to finish the sentence. Tap the letters to make the word.
NEW Above, below, over and under
Watch, look and see
Make, and do
Speak, say and tell
Body language (the face)
Using a car and getting a taxi
Throwing a party
Showing strong emotions
In the gym
On the beach
Doing the housework
In the Restaurant
Hiking and camping
US and British English: Cars
US and British English: The home
Types of Movement
At the airport
At the grocery store
In and inside/ on and off
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