American Slang

More American slang expressions that Brits don’t use

How good is your American English? Play along and find out.

In this American English slang lesson you’ll learn 6 American English colloquial expressions that Brits don’t use, and one (or maybe two) that both Brits and Americans use.
They include:
— riding shotgun
— pork
— bet the farm/ranch
— bought the farm
— the buck stops here
— rain check
— lemon

To see our other American slang video, click here:

To see our baseball idioms videos, click here:
To see our videos on British slang, click here:

We’re back with some more slang expressions today.
I have some American slang words and colloquial expressions here and I’m going to test Vicki with them.
And you can play along with me.
I’m Vicki and I’m British
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And we’re going to see if I know what some American expressions mean.
You did very well last time, but I think that’s because you’ve lived with me for more than twenty years.
Is this my prize?
Stop. You’ll have to get them right before see the prize.
Let’s get started then.
Oh yes, this is one my kids always used.
Riding shot gun. OK, if you have a car, there’s the driver of the car and then sitting next to them is the passenger.
In Britain.
All right, sitting next to them is the passenger.
In America.
And that seat… the person riding in that seat is riding shot gun. Is that right?
That’s exactly right. When a family would get into a car, one of the kids would shout out “I call shot gun’. That means they want to sit in that front passenger seat. Now this comes from the old west.
Oh right.
When the stage coaches took money and people and parcels all across the country. To protect whatever was in the stage coach, sitting next to the driver was a guy with a shot gun. He was riding shot gun.
To ride shot gun means to ride in the front passenger seat of a car or truck.
Oh, here’s one that’s fun.
Ooo. Pork. Well, of course literally pork is the meat that we get from a pig. But in American English, it has another meaning in American politics. It’s like.. um… it’s like a bribe that you add to a bill to get politicians to vote for it.
Very good. What happens is a legislator in the senate or the house of representatives, or one of our state legislatures is asked to vote for a specific bill to become law. And the legislator might say, ‘What’s in it for my district, for the people I represent?’ And so something will get added to the bill which costs more.
So the bill gets more and more expensive because of the pork.
And sometimes people won’t vote for it because it has too much pork.
Yes, and it benefits just a few instead of everybody.
Pork is a bad thing in American politics. What happens is legislators, those are the people who have the power to make laws, increase the money that’s spent on projects in their districts. They usually do it to get more votes but it means that government money isn’t shared fairly.
Here you go.
Bought the farm. I’m not sure if I know what this means. Erm. I know the expression ‘bet the farm’. And if you bet the farm then you bet everything you own. Usually on a very risky venture – a very risky bet. So you quite probably lose everything. Um. So does the farm represent all the belongings of a family or something?
Well, your explanation for ‘bet the farm’ is exactly correct, but ‘bought the farm’ means something very different.
What’s that?
Well, this expression was developed by American pilots in the second world war. When an aircraft would sadly crash in the ground they would say the pilot bought the farm.
The piece of ground where the pilot landed was the burial plot that he bought.
Now this followed from British pilots, also in the second world war, who said that when an aircraft crashed that the pilot ‘bought it’.
And we still say that in British English – ‘He bought it” and it’s an informal euphemism for ‘He died’.
If you bet the farm on something, you make a risky bet. For example, the company bet the farm on the new product and lost. But if someone ‘bought the farm’, it means they were killed. For example, his plane went down and he bought the farm.’
In British English, we might say ‘He bought it’ and it also means he was killed.
Oh, here’s a fun one.
Ooo. ‘Pass the buck’. Well, first of all, a buck is a dollar in American English. But that’s not what it is here, is it? No, if you pass the buck, then you avoid accepting responsibility that you should accept. So perhaps there’s a decision that was made, and someone has to accept the blame or say ‘I’m responsible’, but if you pass the buck you say “oh, they’re responsible. It had nothing to do with me.”
Right, no have you head the expression, ‘The buck stops here.’
Yes. I think it was said by an American President. Roosevelt?
Close. His successor, Harry Truman, the President from April 1945 to January of 1953, famously said, ‘The buck stops here’, meaning ‘I take full responsibility’.
If you pass the buck, you don’t accept full responsibility for something. For example, ‘It’s your fault so don’t try to pass the buck’. If someone says ‘The buck stops here’ it means they accept full responsibility. For example, ‘It’s my job to make this decision. The buck stops here’.
We should have more politicians who don’t pass the buck these days. It would be very good.
I agree.
And next… Oh this is one of my favorites.
A rain check. Erm. It’s a baseball idiom and we’ve made some other videos about American baseball idioms. I’ll put the link there. If there’s a baseball game and it rains during the game so they have to stop play, then you get a rain check, which is like a ticket to another game.
Well, that’s very close. The rain check is actually part of the ticket, so if the game goes on, when people leave the stadium, they still have the raincheck because they still have their original ticket. When I was a kid, I would collect rainchecks from people who were leaving the stadium. All the kids did. And at the end of the summer, we would trade them to see who could collect the most complete set of rainchecks.
But most of the time, you don’t use it like this now. It has another meaning in American English. If I ask you do to something, like ‘Do you want to come to the movies?” and you say, ‘Oh, I’d love to but I’m busy tonight. Can I take a raincheck?’, it would mean, can we do it again at a later date? Yeah?
Yes, and it also is used in advertising and in stores. If a product is advertised at a sale price and you go to the store to get it and they’re sold out, you can get a rain check.
So what does that mean?
It means you can come back later to the store, when it’s back in stock, and buy it for the original sale price.
So you get the lower price.
Good deal.
A rain check has several meanings in American English. It can be a ticket that will get you into another baseball game if the first game is cancelled. It can be a promise to sell something at a low sale price. And we also use raincheck to refuse an invitation, but say we might accept it later. For example, ‘Do you want to come out tonight?’ ‘I can’t tonight, but can I have a raincheck?’
This is very interesting.
A lemon. Erm. Well, of course a lemon is a citrus fruit, a yellow fruit. Erm, but that’s not its only meaning in American English. If something is not working well, if it’s not fit to do the job it was supposed to do, then it’s a lemon.
If a product is badly made and doesn’t work the way it should, it’s a lemon. For example, ‘This car you sold me is a lemon! Give me my money back.’
And in fact, in almost every state in America, there is now a lemon law that allows you to return a car within a few days after you bought it if it’s not working very well.
I think we might use this phrase in British English now too. I’m not sure. So have I won a prize again?
Yes, I suppose so.
Why ‘I suppose so’? I did really well.
Pretty well.
A chocolate brownie.
A vegan chocolate brownie. You’ll love it.
It’s a good prize!
Hey, if you liked this video, please share it with a friend and give it a thumbs up.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. See you soon! Bye!

British and American word differences

25 more British and American English word differences

Here’s the last in our series with Super Agent Awesome on British and American English word differences.

In this video we look at differences like takeout-takeaway and cookies-biscuits and say what we’d call them in British and American English.

Some of the other words we explore in this video include marquee and suspenders, movie theater and cinema, and garbage bins, rubbish bins, candy apples and toffee apples, math and maths, catapult and slingshot.

When you buy your food for the night, you get…
Oh, I get takeout.
OK and I’d call it a takeaway.
A takeaway. Isn’t like takeaway like somebody taking away your stuff? Like stealing?
Hello everyone, today’s lesson’s about British and American words. And luckily, I have Super Agent Awesome to help me.
Thank you so much Vicki. I am so glad to have you here.
And are you British, or are you American?
I am American.
And I’m British, so together we should be quite good.
Now, where is this baby sleeping?
In the crib.
And I’d call it, in British English, a cot.
That’s a crib.
This is what we’d call a crib.
Now, what’s this baby wearing?
It’s wearing a onesie.
And I’d say it’s wearing a babygro.
That’s a rowboat.
And I’d say a rowing boat.
A jump rope.
We’d call that a skipping rope.
This is a slingshot.
Ah, and I’d call it a catapult.
Huh. Rowboat.
Rowing boat.
Jump rope.
Skipping rope.
And, what are they?
Oh yeah, they’re cookies.
And I’d call them biscuits.
She’s using the stove.
Uhuh, and I’d say she was cooking on a cooker.
That sounds like a tongue twister. A cook, cooking on a cooker.
So, what building is this?
I would call this a movie theater.
And I’d call it a cinema.
On the top, what’s that thing outside?
A marquee?
We might call that an awning in British English. For me, this is a marquee. It’s an outside tent.
It’s a tent to have parties in.
A movie theater.
Party tent.
What’s this guy wearing?
He’s wearing a watch.
And what else is he wearing.
He’s also wearing suspenders.
He’s not wearing suspenders in British English. He’s wearing braces.
Braces? Aren’t these the metal things that go on your teeth?
Ah, we do call those braces as well. And so do you. Let me show you what suspenders are in British English. See the red things. They’re suspenders.
Oh, we got garbage bins.
OK, I’d call them dustbins. So, what’s their job?
Trash collectors.
And I’d say they’re dustmen.
A trash can.
And I’d call it the rubbish bin.
Trash or garbage bins.
Trash collectors.
Trash can.
Rubbish bin.
My favorite. Candy apples.
And we’d call them toffee apples.
Candy apples.
Toffee apples.
Ok, and I say it in a similar way but I say it with an S a the end.
Yes. What are those blue marks?
Oh, they’re call the check marks.
We’d call them ticks.
Check marks.
We call that beets.
They’re beet roots.
They’re called herbs.
And we’d call them herbs with a “h” at the start.
And this one we call oreGAno.
Oh, we call this oREGano.
They’re called sneakers.
Normally we call them trainers. And I don’t know if you have these, but in schools in England a lot of kids do their gym practice in these shoes.
They’re called plimsolls.
You’ve got an American one and a British one.
Oh, wow. I call that a mailbox.
In British English it’s a post box. At the bottom of a letter there are some numbers. What are they?
We call them a zip code.
We have post codes.
Mail box.
Post box.
zip code.
Post code.
Ok so, we finished. That’s it.
Bye, Oh, Whoa. Wait, Vicki. We forgot to tell them to subscribe.
Oh, OK.
If you really like our videos and you really want to stay informed on this channel then hit the subscribe button below this video. It’s the red button. That it for the video. Super Agent Awesome here, signing out. Peace!!!

We have other kinds of videos that compare British and American English that you might enjoy. Click here to see a playlist on YouTube
And here’s one of our favourites:

27 more UK US word differences.

27 more UK US word differences.

Super Agent Awesome is back with 27 more British and American English word differences.
Do you say lift or elevator? In this video we look at differences like ladybug/ladybird and flashlight/torch and say what we’d call them in British and American English.
Some of the other words we explore in this video include counterclockwise and anti-clockwise, Popsicle and lolly, pants, trousers, underwear, panties, knickers, diapers and nappies.

What’s that?
Aww, a ladybug. Make a wish!
I’d say ladybird.
But it’s not a bird, it’s a bug.
What is up? Super Agent Awesome here, back with another video. And I’m so glad to have you here, Vicki.
Thank you.
We are gonna learn about British and American words and how they are different.
Which way is that going round?
Yeah, and what about the other one?
You mean anti-clockwise.
Wait. What?
A flashlight.
Uh huh, I’d say a torch.
I thought a torch was like a firey stick.
Yes, I know what you mean. We call them torches as well.
Ok, what is that?
It’s called a popsicle.
And I’d call it a lolly.
Isn’t it like a lollipop?
Oh, we do call it a lollipop, as well.
Who’s that guy?
A crossing guard.
And I’d call him a lollipop man.
Crossing Guard.
Lollipop man.
And what are these?
Um, it’s underwear?
And I’d call them pants.
These are ladies ones.
Oh, panties.
Knickers in British English.
And what are they?
They’re pants.
These are trousers.
Cotton candy.
And we’d call it candyfloss.
Cotton candy.
It makes we want to have cotton candy. Oh, it’s a highway, expressway, or freeway.
We’d probably call it a motorway.
And when you have roads that go over another road?
It’s an overpass.
We’d call them a flyover.
They fly? Highway, expressway or freeway.
A can of beans.
And I’d say a tin of beans.
That’s aluminum foil.
We’d call it tin foil or aluminium foil. Notice that I said aluminium.
Huh. Can of beans.
Tin of beans.
Aluminum foil.
Tin foil or aluminium foil.
Here’s another one, this is…
It’s called an eggplant.
And I’d call that an aubergine. I think it’s a French word. Here’s another one.
A zucchini?
We call it a courgette.
Another French word?
Another French word.
We can call them elevators too, but often we say lifts.
OK, we can call them escalators too, but when I was growing up we always called them moving stairs.
Moving stairs.
That’s too literal.
Moving stairs.
What do you put inside your car?
We put petrol in our cars. One of these pedals makes it go faster.
It’s a gas pedal.
We’d call it the accelerator.
Gas pedal.
It’s a kiddie pool.
And I’d call it a paddling pool. And what’s he wearing?
He’s wearing a diaper.
And I’d call it a nappy.
A nappy? Isn’t like… Nappies are like … A nap is a short sleep.
Kiddie pool.
Paddling pool.
So what are these things?
These are washcloths.
And I’d call them flannels. And what’s that.
An outlet.
We’d call it a socket.
Oh, it’s an eraser.
I’d call it a rubber.
What? Wash cloths.
Can you look at this part of the picture where the people can walk.
It’s a sidewalk.
To me it’s a pavement. And what’s this?
A crosswalk.
And I’d call it a zebra crossing.
Psst, she means a ze(zee)bra.
Zebra crossing.
And that’s it. That’s the end of the video. We’re about to say goodbye. Bye…
Wait, hold on. We forgot about something.
Oh, what’s that?
We forgot to tell everyone about the subscribe button.
Oh, could you do that?
Sure thing. Hi ladies and gentlemen. Super Agent Awesome here. Now, if you want to stay informed, if you really like our channel, and if you really want to be a member of Simple English Videos then hit the subscribe button down below the video. You have 10 seconds. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Did you hit it yet? I hope you did. Super Agent Awesome signing off. PEACE!!!

zip zipper British and American words

27 British and American Word Differences

Is it zip or zipper? Buggy or stroller? You loved our last video on British and American word differences so Super Agent Awesome made another one with us.
In this video look at differences like hood/bonnet and trunk/boot and say what we’d call them in British and American English.
Some of the other words we explore in this video include bangs and fringe, vest and waistcoat, shopping cart and trolley, and checkers and draughts.

We have other kinds of videos that compare British and American English that you might enjoy. Click here to see more.

Tell me about that lady’s hair.
She has bangs.
And I’d say she has a fringe.
English is a strange language.
You liked our last video about British and American words so Super Agent Awesome is back with me again….
… to make another one.
Now, here’s a car and what’s this bit at the front?
Oh, it’s called a hood.
And I’d call it a bonnet. Bonnet is also a word for a fancy ladies hat. And in the back of the car…
Oh it’s … we call it a trunk.
And I’d call it a boot.
Where do you put cars while you’re going shopping?
Ah, you put it in the parking lot.
And I would put it in a car park. And where do you store them at home?
Uh, at the garage.
And I’d say garage.
Parking lot.
Car park.
What’s this?
And we’d call them zips.
She’s wearing a red sweater.
We often say jumper.
That’s a baked potato.
And we’d call it a jacket potato.
Mmhmm. And what’s that?
That’s a jacket.
This kind of jacket we often call an anorak.
Baked potato
Jacket potato.
This is called an undershirt.
Ok, and I’d call it a vest.
What do you call that?
I call that a vest.
OK, and I’d call it a waistcoat.
How crazy!
What’s that?
That’s a trailer.
And in the UK we’d call it a caravan.
Ooh, a truck.
This is a lorry.
It’s a shopping cart.
And we’d say trolley.
That rhymed.
Shopping cart.
Shopping trolley.
And I’d call it noughts and crosses.
Chutes and ladders.
Ok, and in the UK we’d call it snakes and ladders.
Uh, I think that is checkers.
We’d call it draughts.
Noughts and crosses.
Chutes and ladders.
Snakes and ladders.
This is a gymnast, and do you know what equipment she’s working on.
Uh, she’s using the uneven bars.
And we’d call them the asymmetric bars.
What’s asymmetric?
It means that it’s not symmetrical.
Uneven bars.
Asymmetric bars.
That’s a vacuum bottle.
And we’d call it a vacuum flask.
Oh, um.
Would you call it…
…a closet.
And we’d probably call that a wardrobe.
Vacuum bottle.
Vacuum flask.
And what’s he playing?
He’s playing soccer.
And I’d say he’s playing football.
Hold on. Isn’t there already a game of football?
That’s American football.
That’s different.
American football.
It’s a baby carriage.
And we’d call it a pram.
Pram? A stroller.
We’d probably call that a buggy or a push chair. What’s in this baby’s mouth?
Oh, a binky or a pacifier.
It’s dummy.
Baby carriage.
Pushchair or buggy.
Binky or a pacifier.
What are these signs pointing to?
The restrooms.
And I’d say they’re pointing to the toilets.
Ooh, um, the toilet? A toilet is a toilet. A restroom is a… I don’t know.
Signs to the restrooms.
Signs to the toilets.
The restroom.
The toilet.
OK, so that’s it. We’ve finished.
Bye, whoa. We forgot to tell them to subscribe to this channel.
Can you do that then?
Sure, if you really like our videos and you want to stay informed you can hit the subscribe button down below. That means you can be one of us. So after you subscribe to this channel you can see this little bell icon next to the subscribe button. If you hit it and click OK, you can stay informed every time we release a video. I know, it’s magic!
OK everyone. See you all soon. Bye-bye now.

We have other kinds of videos that compare British and American English that you might enjoy. Click here to see more.

british and american word differences

26 British and American English word differences

British and American word differences are curious things. Super Agent Awesome stopped by to explore some with us.

We looked at differences with words like crisps/chips and chips/French fries and compared what we’d call things in British and American English. Words we explore in this video include swimming costume and bathing suit, spanners and wrenches, hundreds and thousands and sprinkles, and lots, lots more.

We have lots of other kinds of videos that compare British and American English that you might enjoy. Click here see some more.

Here’s your first word. What is it?
Potato chips.
OK, I call them crisps.
OK, what’s this?
French fries.
No, no, no. They’re chips.
Wh… what?

Chips. Crisps. French fries. Chips.

Hi everybody. I’m here today with Super Agent Awesome. Thank you for coming.
And we’re looking at British and American English words today. What’s this?
A cell phone.
OK, and I’d call it a mobile.
A faucet.
OK, and I’d say it’s a tap. What’s that?
An airplane.
I say aeroplane.

Cell phone. Mobile. Faucet. Tap. Airplane. Aeroplane.

We got candy. Oooh, nice.
And I’d call them sweets.
We got sprinkles.
We call these hundreds and thousands.
Wow. A pretty big name for a really little dot.
And what’s this stuff.
And I’d say jelly.

Candy. Sweets. Sprinkles. Hundreds and thousands. Jello. Jelly.

And what are these people wearing?
OK, we’d say they’re in fancy dress.
I wear costumes for Halloween.
And if you dress up very smartly, you might wear this.
We will wear a tux.
And we’d call it a dinner jacket.

Costumes. Fancy Dress. Tux or tuxedo. Dinner Jacket.

What’s this thing on the back of the car?
That’s a license plate.
And I’d call it a number plate. This bit of glass in the front of a car.
It’s a windshield.
A windscreen.

A license plate. Number plate. Windshield. Windscreen.

Oh, these are fish sticks.
We call them fish fingers.
Fish fingers.
Like fish have fingers.
Fish sticks. Fish fingers.
He’s doing push-ups. He wants to be fit.
And I’d say he’s doing press-ups. And, what are these people doing?
Waiting in line.
And I’d say they’re waiting in a queue.

Push-ups. Press-ups. Waiting in line. Waiting in the queue.

He’s holding a wrench.
That’s a spanner. And, do you know what that’s called?
Uh, I think that’s an Allen wrench.
We’d call that an Allen key.
Wrench. Spanner. Allen Wrench. Allen key.
We’re looking at thumb tacks.
And I’d call them drawing pins.
Oh, they’re clothes pins.
And we’d call them pegs.
A vacuum cleaner.
We’d often call it a hoover.
Why would you call it a hoover?
It’s named after the American firm, Hoover.
That makes sense. Thumbtacks.

Drawing pins. Clothes pins. Clothes pegs. Vacuum cleaner. Hoover.

We got the laundromat.
And I’d call it a laundrette. And what kind of shop do you think this is?
Uh… a pharmacy.
We’d normally call it a chemists. Do you also call it a drug store?
In British English a drug store sounds funny, because it sounds like a place where you can buy drugs.

Laundromat. Laundrette. Drug store or pharmacy. Chemists.

Uh, that’s a merry-go-round.
Usually, we’d say roundabout. We call this a roundabout too.
Oh, it’s a traffic circle.
We have a lot of these in the UK.

Merry-go-round. Roundabout. Traffic circle. Roundabout.

A woman… a ladies’ swimsuit.
Yes, and we could call it that too. Um, would you ever call it a swimming costume?
Err no, why would we ever say that? It’s not for halloween.
We would call it a swimming costume. Would you call it a bathing suit?
Yeah, we would.
OK, that for us is a bathing suit. It’s really old fashioned for us.
That’s a bathing suit?

Swimsuit or bathing suit. Swimsuit or swimming costume. Bathing suit.

OK everyone. We’ve finished. So that’s it. Bye now.
Bye, oh wait! We almost forgot something really important.
The subscribe button.
Oh, could you tell them about that?
Yes. Hi ladies and gentlemen. Super Agent Awesome here. If you really like our videos and you want to stay informed on this channel, then hit the subscribe button below this video. It’s the red button. Do it in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two one. Did you hit it yet? Congratulations. You just subscribed and you’re a new member of Simple English Videos. And that’s the end of the video. We are about to say goodbye. Super Agent Awesome signing off. Peace!

American English slang lesson

7 American slang expressions that Brits don’t use.

How good is your American English slang?
In this American English slang lesson you’ll learn 7 American English colloquial expressions that Brits don’t use, and a couple that both Brits and Americans use.

They include:
– for the birds
– John Hancock
– shoot the breeze
– Monday morning quarterback
– carpetbagger
– Joe Blow or the average Joe
– John Doe and Jane Doe.

American English slang and expressions that Brits don’t use

I’m going to have fun today.
He’s going to test me.
And if Vicki does well, she gets a prize.
Ooh, what is it?
Uh uh, you can’t look. You have to wait and see.
Hi, I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m Vicki and I’m British.
We made a couple of videos about British slang that Americans don’t use a little while ago.
I’ll put the link here. Lots of you saw them and requested a video on American slang.
So I’ve got some American slang words and colloquial expressions and I’m going to see how many Vicki knows. How do you think you’ll do?
I should be pretty good because I’ve lived with you a long time. But there are still some words that I hear that I don’t know sometimes. So we’ll see.
You can play along with us. OK Vicki, here’s your first one.
For the birds. I think if something has no value then you say it’s for the birds.
If it has no value or it’s ridiculous. Can you give us an example? Use it in a sentence?
Oh, um, OK, uh this old sock has a hole in it. It’s for the birds.
Do you know where the expression comes from?
No, where?
Well, in the days before we had automobiles, horses would travel down the street and leave manure behind them. And guess what would come and eat the manure?
The birds.
Of course. So it’s for the birds.
Something that’s worthless or useless is for the birds. For example, this silly TV show is for the birds. Let’s turn it off. Here’s your next one.
Oh, this is a good one. Um, John Hancock. And it means, I think, your signature. So you might put your John Hancock on a document.
Exactly. But do you know who John Hancock was?
Oh, I think so. I think he was the first person to sign the declaration of independence. So he was the first traitor in America.
Well actually, he was president of the continental congress right here in Philadelphia in 1776. And when the declaration was first printed, he signed his name so large, the legend goes, so that King George III could see it without his spectacles.
So he was the first traitor to commit treason and betray his country.
He was a great American patriot. A John Hancock is an informal way of saying a signature. For example, put your John Hancock here. Here’s your next one.
Shoot the breeze. I know this. Shoot the breeze is when you have a casual conversation with your friends. And you just get together and talk about nothing much.
That’s exactly correct. Good job!
If we shoot the breeze, we have an informal conversation about this and that. Nothing important. For example, let’s have a beer and shoot the breeze for a while.
And, of course, we both say something is a breeze. If something is a breeze, then it’s very easy to do.
Exactly correct as well.
I hope my next question is a breeze.
If something is a breeze, it means it’s very easy to do. For example, it’s hard to cycle up this hill, but coming down will be a breeze.
We use breeze with this meaning in British English too.
Here’s another one for you.
Oh, good one. Ok. Monday-morning quarterback. Well, first of all, a quarterback is a football player – an American football player.
Well, he’s not only a football player, he leads the team. The quarterback is the person who designs all the plays and controls what’s happening from his team’s point of view and throws the ball.
But this is a Monday-morning quarterback. And that’s a person who looks back on an event and they have their own opinion about what should have happened and how things were done wrongly. And I guess its Monday morning because most football games are at the weekend?
College football is on Saturday and professional football is on Sunday.
So if you’re looking at it on Monday morning, then you’re looking back at what’s already happened.
A Monday-morning quarterback is someone who looks back after an event and complains about what other people did. So, for example, after the conference was over, he complained about how it was organized. He’s such a Monday-morning quarterback. Now, do you have the expression backseat driver?
Oh, we do and that’s similar. So in British and American English we’ll talk about a backseat driver. What do they do?
Well, they tell the driver what they should be doing. The back seat driver is really annoying.
Yes, they’re a bit different to a Monday-morning quarterback because they’re telling them while the other person’s driving. But the Monday-morning quarterback gives their advice on what should be done and shouldn’t be done afterwards, don’t they?
Exactly. A backseat driver is an annoying person who interferes and tries to tell you what to do. For example, stop being a backseat drive and let me do my job.
We say back seat driver in British English too.
OK, here’s your next one.
Oooh. Carpetbagger. I’m not exactly sure about this. I think that it’s someone who you can’t trust who might be a kind of crook or thief. And I know that it has some sort of historical background to it. And I think that there were people who had bags made out of carpet. And maybe they were crooks somehow.
I’ll give you a point for the bags made out of carpet. And it is a historical term. It comes from the American Civil War, from 1860 to 1865 when smugglers who were carrying illegal goods that weren’t allowed in the south, or weren’t allowed in the north, and they put them in bags made of carpet or in big carpet rolls that they carried over their shoulders. They were carpetbaggers. But, it has a totally different meaning today. Do you know what that means?
Well, you know a carpetbagger…
Do I?
In recent political history. Hillary Clinton.
Oh yes.
A carpetbagger today is a politician who lives in one place and then moves to another and runs for office. Hillary Clinton grew up and lived in Arkansas. And after Bill Clinton’s presidency was over she moved to New York state and ran for senate.
And they called her a carpetbagger.
Exactly. A carpetbagger is a political candidate who runs for office in a place that they’re not from. The idea is they are not welcome, so it’s a derogatory term. OK, what do you think about this one?
Oh, Joe Blow. Joe Blow is the name that’s given to stand for the average man, an average guy.
Right. We also say, the average Joe.
And it just means the man in the street.
The ordinary guy, that’s right.
OK. Um, in British English we also say Fred Bloggs, or Joe Bloggs and it’s just the name for a sort of Mister average, that we sometimes use.
Joe Blow, or the average Joe, is an ordinary man in the street. For example, what do the new tax cuts mean for the average Joe?
In British English we might say Joe Blogs, and it means much the same thing.
Now, there’s another term on there that I gave you.
Joe… John Doe. John Doe. I associate John Doe with dead bodies in morgues.
Well, that’s sort of how it goes. If the police can’t identify someone, living or dead, they’ll give them the name John Doe or Jane Doe.
John Doe can also mean the average man but it has another meaning too. John Doe or Jane Doe is the name used for a person whose name is a secret or not known. These names are placeholder names in court or in police investigations.
How did I do?
Not bad.
I think I was very good. Do I get the prize?
Yes, you get the prize.
Ok, I get… oh, this is good – two tickets to the comedy show at the Adrienne theater.
Right, we’ll have lots of fun. Hey, if you liked this video, please share it with a friend and give it a thumbs up.
And don’t forget to subscribe. See you soon.

British slang have a butcher's

10 British Slang Expressions

Are you ready to test your British English slang? Learn 10 British slang words and colloquial expressions including:
– skive and bunk off
– tosh
– go spare
– jammy
– fancy someone
– snog
– kerfuffle
– miffed
– be snookered
– have a butcher’s
Watch Vicki quiz Jay on the meanings and play along.

Click here to see another video on British English slang
Click here to see other videos on British and American English

Do you want to learn some English slang?
We’re looking at 10 British slang expressions today.
British ones? But I’m American
Yeah, and I’m British. So, I’m going to test you.
A little while ago I gave Jay a quiz on British slang.
And I won a prize.
He did very well. I’ll put the link here.
And everyone enjoyed it, so we have another 10 words today. I hope to do well again.
Um, but some of the words are more difficult this time.
Uh oh. All right, give me the first one.


Hmm, S-K-I-V-E. I would pronounce that ‘skive’ but,
Yes, that’s right, skive.
I have absolutely no idea what this means.
OK, let me give you an example. Um, she hated school so she skived off a lot.
Ah, so she played hooky. She didn’t go to school.
Yes, in British English we usually say ‘skive’ or ‘skive off’ or ‘bunk off’
Bunk off?
Yes, it’s another slang term for the same thing. Skiving is when you don’t go to school or work when you should. For example, he says
he’s too ill to come to work, but I think he’s skiving.


Tosh. It’s always a funny word when I hear tosh. I think it just means nonsense or rubbish.
You’re quite right. Yes, use it in a sentence.
Um, that offer I received in the mail that promised me 10 percent a year is tosh.
That worked. Tosh means nonsense or rubbish. So, don’t talk tosh means don’t talk nonsense. OK, what does this mean?

Go spare

Go spare. I’m gonna guess here that it means go with the least possible. Use as few of something as necessary.
Oh, good guess. totally wrong.
Ha, what does it mean?
I’ll give you some clues. I’ll give you some examples. Um, I’d go spare if I didn’t have my mobile phone.
Stir crazy, you’d go nuts. You’d go crazy. You’d go insane.
I see.
What does spare have to do with being insane?
Let me give you another context. I forgot to lock the office door last night. Don’t tell Kathy or she’ll go spare.
Ok, I’ve got it.
So it’s like she’ll go… go nuts but in a way that she gets very angry and very worried. So if you go spare, you often lose your temper. For example, Don’t tell mum I skived off school. She’ll go spare.


Jammy. That’s… That could be lots of different things. I know ‘jammies’ I’ve heard you use for pajamas.
oh yes,
But, uh..
or jim-jams.
Right, but jammy? I mean we get ‘in a jam’ in American English meaning we’re in trouble. What’s ‘jammy’?
No, it’s not the same as ‘in a jam.’ We could say that too when we’re in trouble. But a person could be jammy if they have a stroke of
good luck and it was purely down to chance and possibly they didn’t deserve it. We say someone is jammy when something good has happened to them by chance, but they didn’t make much effort. So they didn’t really deserve the good luck.
So when we’re playing miniature golf and you get the ball in the hole, you’re jammy.
You could say to me, ‘you jammy thing.’
You jammy thing.
Yes, and it’s because I have no skills at this game and therefore it was strange that I got the ball in the hole. Um, but on the other
hand, if I win at Scrabble then you couldn’t say ‘you jammy thing’ because I always win at Scrabble because I’m very good at it.
She’s very good at it.
He, he, he, OK, another one.

Fancy someone

Fancy someone. I know what this is. Yeah, I fancy you.
I fancy you too.
When you fancy someone, you like them a lot.
You find them sexually attractive. If you fancy someone, it means you’re attracted to them in a sexual way. so I could say, Mmm, I really
like Jay. I hope he fancies me too. And then hopefully, they’ll ask you on a date and then you never know but you might…


Snog. To snog, I know this one too. it’s to kiss.
That’s right, kiss passionately. If two people snog, they kiss and usually for a length of time. For example, the teacher caught
Jim and Mandy snogging behind the bike sheds.


Kerfuffle. I… I heard this years ago from Vicki and it really confused me. It means something that’s very, very difficult. So, if
something is very complicated, it’s a kerfuffle to do.
Ah, nice try. No. No, it’s when there’s when there’s a lot of noise and activity and commotion and for no good purpose. It, it’s…
There’s lot of disturbance and making a fuss and getting excited about things. So like when Jay’s cooking a meal in the kitchen,
there’s often a lot of kerfuffle. There’s a lot of activity and commotion but nothing much gets done.
I always thought it was because I had so many things happening at once. I had rice here, I had water here, I had pasta here. That’s a
kerfuffle, right?
That is a kind of kerfuffle when you’re in charge. A kerfuffle is when there’s a lot of noise and activity and excitement. And it’s an
unnecessary fuss. We might ask, ‘what’s all the kerfuffle about?’ And it’s like asking ‘what’s all the fuss about?’ Cooking should be a calm and peaceful activity. OK, next one.


Miffed. Ok, well I think this means I’m annoyed because I’ve been snubbed in some way.
That’s quite a good explanation. So can you use it in a sentence?
Yes, I got miffed when somebody stepped in front of me in the line for the bank.
Yes, or in the queue.
In the what?
Somebody stepped front of you…
In the what? In the queue.
In the queue?
So miffed is when you’re a little annoyed by someone’s behavior towards you. For example, ‘I was miffed when he didn’t call me.’


Ok, snookered, or I think you might say snookered. I think it comes from the game of snooker which is a…
No, snooker.
right, ha, I think it means you’ve been cheated.
Ah, in American English snookered means to be cheated. But it has a different meaning in British English.
What’s that?
OK, When you can’t do something that you want to do because of some reason, some obstacle in your way, then you’re snookered. And it
comes from the game of snooker because if a ball’s in the way and you can’t get your ball in the hole, then you’re snookered.
Got it.
OK. So for example, suppose you want to get your clothes cleaned before your job interview tomorrow, but the dry cleaners is
closed. Then you’re snookered.

Have a butcher’s

Have a butcher’s. I know this is cockney rhyming slang but I don’t know what it means. I’ve forgotten. Have a butcher’s.
You’re right. I’ll give you a point for cockney rhyming slang. Cockney rhyming slang comes from the east end of London. And it was
often the language the prisoners in jail would use so that the people who were guarding them wouldn’t understand them. And what you do is
you have a phrase like ‘a butcher’s hook’ and you find a word that rhymes with hook which in this case is… look.
Oh, I see.
And then you use a butcher’s and it means a look. And we should do a video about them all one day ’cause there are lots of them. So, to have a butcher’s is cockney rhyming slang. And it means to have a look. So, can I have a butcher’s means can I have a look.
So, have we finished?
How did I do?
Well, not as well as last time but that’s because I gave you more difficult words.
So, no prize for me this time?
No. Actually, I’m going to win the prize.
What is it?
You can have a butcher’s if you want. It’s…
Dinner for two at the Indian restaurant, again.
We had a nice time there last time.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please subscribe to our channel.
And share it with your friends. I’ll bet they’ll enjoy it too.
And if you’d like a video on cockney rhyming slang, please let us know in the comments.
See you all next week everyone. Bye-bye.

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quite in British and American English

The trickiest word in English – Quite!

Is the meaning of the adverb quite, very or completely? It looks like a small difference but it can lead to big misunderstandings.
Sometimes quite means the same thing in British and American English, but sometimes it’s used differently.
In this video we show you
– how to use quite to mean completely
– how to use not quite (meaning not completely) to criticize someone gently or say you disagree.
– how quite can mean very in American English, but fairly or pretty in British English
– how you can sometimes tell the meaning of quite by whether it’s used with a gradable or ungradable adjectives.
Finally we have some advice for any American guys who are going on a date with a British girl.
Don’t tell her she’s quite pretty!

Click here to see more videos on British and American English.


The adverb quite

Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American and today we’re looking at a word that’s quite tricky.
No, it’s very tricky.
But that’s what I said!
No you didn’t!
I speak British English and Jay speaks American English and normally, we manage to communicate OK.
But there’s a word that causes us problems. Quite.
It’s such a common word. We both use it a lot.
But it’s the word that’s hardest for us to understand.
Sometimes we use it in the same way, but sometimes we use it differently.
And then we get confused.
Let’s look at some examples.

Have you finished the artwork yet?
No. I’m not quite ready. I need another five minutes.
Take your time. I’m quite happy to wait.
Do you want to go and get a coffee or something?
No, I’m quite all right thanks. I’ve had quite enough coffee today. That’s not quite correct.
Just go away!
What’s your problem?

Here are some of the things we said. ‘Quite’ is an adverb and it means ‘completely’ in all these examples. It means to the greatest possible degree – 100%. We can use it this way in British and American English
And you heard quite in two negative sentences too, where it means not completely – so almost, but not 100%. Again it can have this meaning in British and American English. We often use quite in the negative like this to criticize someone gently or to say we disagree with them.
So we might say ‘I don’t quite agree’ or ‘That’s not quite right’.
Yes, and we mean ‘I don’t agree 100%.’ or ‘You’re a little wrong’. Quite softens the disagreement.
It works like that in American and British English.
But there’s another way we use ‘quite’ that’s quite different.

So what did you think of my report?
It’s quite good.
Fantastic. I’ll send it to everybody now.
Hang on. It needs some changes.
But you said it was quite good.
Yes, but we need it to be VERY good.

There was a misunderstanding there.
Yeah, I thought you liked my report.
Well, I thought it was fairly good or pretty good, but not very good.
But you said it was quite good. If I say that I mean very good. Quite is a forceful word.
It’s not forceful in British English. It just means to some degree.
So let me get this straight. Sometimes when you say ‘quite’ you mean completely, like me.
But other times you just mean fairly or pretty.
Then how can I tell what you mean?
Well, sometimes you can tell from the kind of adjective we use with quite – whether it’s gradable or ungradable.
We’d better explain that.

Gradable or ungradable

Some English adjectives are gradable, so they can be true to different degrees. For example good is gradable. Something can be very good, or fairly good, or just a little good. But other adjectives are ungradable, for example perfect. We don’t say something is very perfect or fairly perfect or a little perfect. It’s just perfect.
Here are some more examples of ungradable adjectives. Things are either dead or they’re not. People are either married or they’re not. There’s no in-between with these adjectives, so we don’t use them with ‘very’. The meanings of these adjectives already contain the idea of ‘very’.
So here’s what happens in British English. If we use ‘quite’ with an ungradable adjective, we probably mean completely. For example, ‘It’s quite perfect’. It’s 100% perfect. But if we use quite with a gradable adjective, we probably mean ‘fairly’ – so to some extent, but not very. For example, ‘It’s quite nice’ – it’s fairly nice.
So if you say ‘I’m quite tired’, you mean you’re fairly tired.
Yeah, and what about you?
I could mean that, but normally if I say I’m quite tired, I mean I’m very tired.
Pronunciation matters too. If we stress the word ‘quite’ the difference can get more marked.
I’m QUITE tired – that means I’m very very tired
I’m QUITE tired – that means I’m only fairly tired.
There’s another thing you do in British English.
What’s that?
I’ll say something and instead of saying ‘I agree’ you say ‘quite’.
Oh yes. It’s rather formal but to show we agree with someone or to show we’ve understood, we can say ‘quite’ or ‘quite so’. It just means ‘yes’.
It sounds very British.
Let’s have a quiz question now.
OK. See if you can answer this everyone, and you Jay. If your American boss says ‘your work is quite good’, what does it mean? Jay?
If my American boss says my work is quite good, I should get a raise. They think my work is very good.
British English is different. If my British boss says my work is quite good, I’d have to ask what I’m doing wrong.
Because it’s only fairly good. Wow!
So the difference in meaning is subtle, but it can be very important.
If you don’t pay attention, you might miss it.
When I came to the US I had to stop and think when people said ‘quite’. ‘Do they mean fairly or do they mean ‘very’? I still have to stop and think sometimes.
And I’ve had to learn the difference too, so I can understand Vicki’s family and friends.
Yeah. Here’s a real example. My British friend was visiting us and meeting Jay for the first time and they were just getting to know one another and talking about their families.
I was telling her about my father and how he spoke six languages and I said ‘He was quite good at languages’.
So my British friend was surprised and she said, ‘Why are you saying that? You said he spoke six languages.’
‘Yeah, he was quite good at languages.’
So my friend was thinking, ‘He’s being derogatory about his father? That’s not nice! If you speak six languages you’re a very good linguist – not just fairly good.
And I was thinking, ‘We’ve only just met. Why is this woman being so argumentative?’ It was like she wanted to pick a fight with me for no reason.
It’s the sort of misunderstanding that can damage relationships.
Yes, it’s dangerous because you might not realise it’s happening.
And one last thing before we stop.
I have some advice for any American guys who are going on a date with a British girl.
What’s that?
Don’t tell her she’s quite pretty. It happened to one of my friends on her first date with an American guy.
What! He told her she was quite pretty?
Yes, he was lucky to get a second date! And that’s it for today everyone.
If you’ve enjoyed this video please share it with a friend and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Bye-bye now.
See you next Friday. Bye.

Click here to see more videos on British and American English.

british english slang

British Slang Words Quiz

Play along with a British English slang quiz.

Vicki (who is British) tests Jay (who is American) with 10 British English slang words and he does very well!
You’ll learn 10 slang words and colloquial expressions including:

  • bloke, meaning dude
  • quid, not quids
  • bog and bog roll
  • a tad meaning a little
  • knackered and clapped out
  • skint meaning broke
  • hard cheese meaning hard luck – often ironic
  • peckish meaning a little hungry
  • cheeky meaning disrespectful or funny

We also look at two old-fashioned slang words that you can use as a joke:

  • spiffing meaning splendid
  • tickety-boo meaning fine and dandy

Click here to see more videos about British and American English differences.

British English slang words quiz

I have no idea what we’re doing today.
Hi, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m going to test Jay to day on his British slang.
Uh-oh. Can they play along?
So how good is your British slang, Jay?
Pretty good. I mean we’ve been together for more than 20 years so I think I know a lot.
I’ve got 10 different expressions here and we’re going to see how many you know.
They’re all British expressions?
Yeah, and they’re all slang, so they’re informal spoken English.
The kind of thing you’d say with your friends.
And if you get them all right, you get a prize.
What’s this?
It’s your prize.
But you can’t look at it yet.
I have to get all of them right first?
Yes. And here’s your first one.

Bloke meaning dude

Bloke. I know what a bloke is. That’s a guy. A dude.
That’s what you’d say in American.
OK, use it in a sentence.
OK, let’s see. Um. I saw this bloke riding down the street on his bicycle.
Yes, that would work. That would work.
I met a nice bloke last night.
So bloke is just an informal way of saying ‘man’. We might also say chap and fellow. OK and in American you’d say…
I saw this dude riding down the street on a bicycle!
OK, next one.

Quid meaning pound

Quid. Quid. I know this one too. Quid is slang for pound. The currency of the UK.
That’s right. What would be an American equivalent?
A buck!
Oh a buck. Of course. And, erm, what about if you have five of them? What’s the note called?
A five dollar bill? Oh you mean in quids! A five pound note. A fiver!
OK, you just said quids. You’re lucky I don’t take your point away because the plural of quid is quid. It’s an irregular plural because there’s no ‘s’. One quid, two quid, five quid. But American English is different?
Yes, we’d say five bucks, ten bucks, twenty bucks, so we add an s to make it plural.
But you were right to say a fiver. A fiver is the name we give a five pound note and a ten pound note is…
A tenner.
That’s right!
In American English we’d say a five dollar bill and a ten dollar bill. What’s next?
This one.

Bog meaning toilet or loo

Bog. B-O-G. In American English a bog is a swamp.
Yes, a sort of muddy piece of land.
Right. And it’s slang for something else?
I have no clue.
I’ll give you another clue. Bog roll.
Is that like… what we would call toilet paper?
Yes. So it’s a toilet roll, and it’s another word for the toilet. So instead of saying I’m going to the toilet, we’d say I’m going to the bog.
In America we never say we’re going to the toilet. We say we’re going to the bathroom.
Yes. You’re very posh.
Bog is a slang way of saying toilet in British English. If you want to be more polite you can say “I’m just going to the loo”.

A tad meaning a little

Ah! A tad. Now a tad always reminds me of a tadpole.
It has nothing to do with a tadpole. A tadpole is a little baby frog.
Right, but it’s little and so that’s how I remind myself that a tad means a little bit in British English. Right?
You’re quite right. It’s a small amount.
So I could be a tad unhappy, a tad disappointed. Does tad always work with negative feelings?
No, no, not at all. You could be a tad pleased. Erm… But you could also have a tad more to eat.
Or a tad more wine, please. A tad just means a little. For example, “Could I have a tad more time?” It means, ‘Could I have a little more time?”
OK, another one.

Knackered meaning exhausted or clapped out

Knackered. Knackered. I know knackered. Knackered is when you’re exhasuted and your so tired you can’t do anything. You’re knackered.
Exactly. You got that one right. So use it in a sentence.
Let see. Uh. I worked for twelve hours today and I’m completely knackered.
Excellent. Excellent.
It can also mean ‘clapped out’.
So .. so old…
Clapped out?
Clapped out means…
You clapped to many times?
No. No. It means it’s too old or broken down to use any more. So your car could be clapped out or your bike could be clapped out and they can both be knackered as well.
Really? An inanimate object can be knackered?
Yeah. My bike’s knackered. I need a new one.
So knackered has two meanings. One is very tired and exhausted. I’ve been working all day and I’m knackered. And the other is too old and not working well. For example my bike is knackered.
Like me!
OK, another one.

Skint meaning broke

Skint. You know I really don’t know. I think it has something to do with being cheap. Is that right?
Ah. It’s to do with money, but it’s when you have no money.
Oh, so if I say I’m skint, I’m out of cash?
Got it.
Can you lend me some money?
I’m skint!
Yes! So we could say ‘I can’t come out with you tonight because I’m skint’. We could also say ‘I’m broke’. It means the same thing. I’m skint, I’m broke.
OK, next one…

Hard cheese meaning hard luck

Hmm. Hard cheese. Well I think this means hard luck. Too bad.
Yes. That’s right. It’s used as a way to say we’re sorry about something, but we don’t usually mean we’re sorry. So it’s a bit ironic. For example. Oh you need some help? Well, hard cheese! I’m going for my break!
OK, you’ll know this one.

Peckish meaning a little hungry

Oh, peckish.
Peckish means you’re a little hungry, right?
Is it from the verb ‘peck’? To peck? Like a bird pecks at its food?
Oh, maybe. Erm…but if you’re a little bit hungry. Oooo. If you only want to eat a little bit of food, you might peck at your food. That’s when you’re not terribly hungry and you’re eating it. But peckish, yes. A little bit hungry.
So we might say ‘I’m feeling peckish. What’s in the fridge?’ And if someone is only pecking at their food it means they’re only eating a little of it, perhaps because they’re not hungry or not feeling well.
OK, here’s your next one.

Cheeky meaning disrespectful or funny

Mmm. Ah. This one I know too. This is cheeky. Cheeky in American English would be wise-ass.
Ah, OK. Except that’s quite negative. We can use it in a sort of positive and negative way in British English. You could have a child who has a cheeky grin, and it’s quite a cute grin. Erm… But it’s slightly naughty. But naughty in a fun way. And erm yes, but people could also be being cheeky when they’re answering back. If children are cheeky theyre being wise-arses as youd say in American English – or wise-ass.
So cheeky can mean disrespectful in British English. So we might tell a child to stop being cheeky and do as you’re told. And it can also be used in a more positive way too. So if they do something funny we might say ‘You cheeky monkey!’

Spiffing and tickety-boo!

I think we should teach the British word ‘spiffing’.
Where did you learn this word ‘spiffing’?
One of our community members online mentioned that the wig I wore in our last video was spiffing and I had to go look it up. What does it mean?
It means marvelous or wonderful. But it’s a really old-fashioned word. It’s from the last century. You can use spiffing for a joke. He was having a joke.
It’s very British upper class, isn’t it?
Yeah. OK, and I’ve got another one that’s like that for you now.
Here you go. Tickety-boo. I can’t even say it without saying it in a British accent. Tickety-boo. It means that’s just perfect.
Erm, yeah. OK. I think in American English you’d say OK. Dandy, or something like that?
A hundred years, a hundred years ago we’d have said dandy. Yeah.
Fine and dandy, and it means everything’s in working order. Everything’s fine. How are things going? Oh, tickety-boo. Everything’s going very well. And it’s very old-fashioned, and today we’ll only use it if we’re joking.
So these are two old-fashioned slang expressions that you can use for a joke.
Spiffing means extremely good or pleasant. And tickety-boo means going well, with no problems.
So how did I do? Have I won the prize?
No, I’m afraid you got skint wrong and you didn’t really know bog.
But I knew bog roll and also, I knew spiffing!
OK, I could give you a bonus point for spiffing.
Great so what’s my prize? Dinner for two at the Indian restaurant. Oh wow! That’s a great prize! Thank you very much. Look at that.
OK everyone. In that case, we’ve got to go. If you’ve enjoyed this video please share it with a friend.
Any don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. See you next week everyone.

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pronouncing numbers in British and American English

Pronouncing numbers in British and American English (1-100)

How do we say numbers like twenty, thirty, forty, fifty etc. in English?
Well, it depends. There are some curious differences between how I say them in British English and how Jay says them in American English.

For example, twenny vs. twenty. Jay often drops the middle t in twenty and says twenny. Then there’s thirty. There he says the t but it sounds like very fast d sound – commonly known as a flap t.

Do you ever say free instead of three? We’ll tell you about three vs. free pronunciation in England.

We’ll also show you the difference in how we say numbers like thirteen and thirty, fourteen and forty, etc. and we’ll show you how native speakers change the word stress to distinguish between them.

And best of all you’ll meet Super Agent Awesome for a numbers quiz.

Click here to see some more videos on British and American differences.
Click here to see some more pronunciation videos.

Pronouncing numbers in British and American English

Super Agent Awesome.
Yes Vicki.
I have a question.
Do you like quizzes?
Oh quizzes!
Good because I’ve got some quiz questions for you.
Oh yeah.
Yep. Your first one is very hard. How many hours are there in a day?
Seriously? That’s a piece of cake. There are a total of 24 hours in a day.
He got it easily. OK, next one.
That was a piece of cake.
Your mum said you couldn’t get that one.
I wasn’t sure.

Hi, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And there are some differences in how we pronounce numbers.
Curious differences!
Yeah. You just heard one difference from Super Agent Awesome.
Super Agent Awesome is American.

How many hours are there in a day?
Seriously? That’s a piece of cake. There are a total of 24 hours in a day.
He got it easily.

If something’s very easy to do, we say it’s a piece of cake.
Yeah, but what’s this number Jay?
Err. Twenty-four
I say it differently.
Twenty four.
Did you hear the difference?
You didn’t say the t.
I did. t – twenty.
No, the t in the middle. Twenty.
Twenty. If I’m speaking very carefully, I’ll pronounce that middle t sound, but normally I drop it.
We have another example.
I think this might be a bit too easy for you because you’re very good at this. How many letters are there in the English alphabet?
There you are, twenty six.
Twenty six. So this is a British and American difference. Ok. Another one.

Let me see if I can catch you out with this one. How many times does seven go into twenty-one?
Three – he got it right.

I have a question. Do you ever say free instead of three in American English?
Free? No, I don’t. Maybe some Americans do, but no, for me it’s a th sound – th- three.
OK, I say three too, but I read something interesting about this recently. When I was growing up we lived just north of London and a lot of people there said free instead of three. But if I said that at home, my mother complained. She said it’s not proper English. But of course languages change and in some recent studies linguists have found a lot of people in England are saying free instead of three now. It’s spread out from London.
So do most people say free in England?
Not most, but a large number. It’s good news if you find the th sound hard to say. If you say free instead, we’ll probably understand you.

Next question. Are you ready for the next one?
Yes Vicki, I’m so ready.
How many days are there in March?
Erm. Erm. Put on the Jeopardy music. Dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum. Oh I got the answer. Thirty. I mean thirty-one, thirty-one, thirty-one!

He’s right again. Thirty-one.
Or as I say thirty-one. There’s a difference again!
So you’re saying a clear t in the middle.
Thirty-three. If you’re a cockney from London you might say firee-free.
You mean thirty-three?
No, firee-free. So the th becomes f, and with the t sound there’s a glottal stop so you stop the t in your throat. Fir-ee. Fir-ee-free. But that’s not what you’re doing?
No, I’m saying thirty.
The t there is like a d in American English. Linguists often call it a flap t. If something flaps it moves up and down or side to side very fast.
The wings of a bird flap.
A flag can flap in the wind.
It’s a very fast movement.
Your tongue has to move fast too to make that sound.
Thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three.
There are different symbols for this sound. But many dictionaries write it as a t because t and d belong to the same family of sounds.
Yes, Our mouth position is the same, but we add voice to make a d. t. d. There’s vibration here for d.
t. d. Oh yes!

OK, I have another question for you.
What is it Vicki?
This is an addition question. Fifty plus ten equals.
He’s very good.

I’d say fifty and sixty.
Fifty and sixty.
So Americans generally say this flap t in tens numbers.
Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety.
OK, something different now. This isn’t a British and American difference, but it’s something my students often find hard. It’s numbers like thirteen and thirty.
So fourteen, forty, fifteen, fifty, sixteen, sixty.
If you think these numbers sound similar, you’re not alone.
Native speakers sometimes find them hard to distinguish too.

Do we have a meeting with Kathy, today?
Yes, this afternoon.
Oh, what time is it? I can’t be late again.
Oh yes. She was furious last time.
When is it?
Let’s see. Three fifteen.
Three fifty. I’ll set an alarm for 3.40 so I won’t be late. What?
Oh nothing. See you there!
See you there.

I’m going to arrive late now! You set me up again!
Yes, I didn’t correct you.
To set someone up is a phrasal verb and it means to trick them. You might make it appear that they have done something wrong when they haven’t.
Yeah! You’re going to get into trouble when you’re late again.
Three fifteen, three fifty. They sound very similar. How do we tell the difference?
It’s all about the stress. With numbers like thirty, forty, fifty, the stress is always on the first syllable.
That’s true in British and American English.
THIRty, FORty, FIFty.
So the first syllable is longer, louder and higher in pitch.
Now have a look at these numbers. Where’s the stress?
With teen numbers, the stress can be on the first syllable OR it can be on the second syllable. It depends what we want to make clear.
If we’re counting where’s the stress? For example: THIRteen, FOURteen, FIFteen, SIXteen.
If we’re counting, the stress is on the first syllable. We want to distinguish between the numbers so we stress the part that’s different. That’s the first syllable.
OK. Now what if the number comes in front of a noun? Where’s the stress? For example THIRteen people. FOURteen years. FIFteen dollars.
The stress is on the first syllable again.
it’s because the number was followed by a noun. But if there’s no noun, it’s different. Listen.

I don’t like the number thirTEEN. It’s unlucky.

So Jay stressed the second syllable there.
I said thirTEEN.

How many days until my birthday? FourTEEN.

Vicki stressed the second syllable there.
When we say the number on its own we stress the teen. One more example.

Which floor?
Fifteen. Thank you.

When we say these numbers on their own, we generally stress TEEN.
It sounds complicated. How can everyone remember which syllable to stress?
There’s a simple way.
Just remember two things. First one – in numbers like thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, the stress is always on the first syllable.
That’s easy.
And the second thing. If you think confusion is a possibility, put the stress on ‘teen’ in the teen numbers – thirTEEN, fourTEEN, fifTEEN, sixTEEN.
And that’s how English speakers avoid confusion.

I filled your car with gas.
Oh thank you. How much do I owe you?
Sixty dollars.
OK. Ten, fifteen, sixteen. Thanks.
No, I said SIXty dollars.
Oh. I thought you said sixTEEN dollars.

The first time I said SIXteen dollars. But when there was confusion, I stressed the teen.

Oh. I thought you said sixTEEN dollars.

So stress the second syllable in teen numbers
Exactly. SIXty, sixTEEN.
It’s the same in British and American English. SIXty, sixTEEN.
But you know, there are some other ways we say numbers differently. Like telephone numbers, and dates.
Yeah. We’ll make another video about them, but I should say goodbye to Super Agent Awesome now.
Oh yes.

So. Super Agent Awesome. Thank you for helping us with this video. Do you have a message for our viewers?
Absolutely. Why wouldn’t I? Hey English learners. Super Agent Awesome here. If you want to subscribe to this channel, hit that icon right here. And if you see the bell icon next to the subscribe button, you can get notified. And what notified means is on your YouTube account you can gat notified everytime Jay and Vicki have released a video. And you can watch it very early. Heck! You can be the first one here! So that’s my special announcemnet and it’s over. I’m Super Agent Awesome and remember, always stay awesome! Peace!
If you want to see another video that Jay and Vicki posted, hit that icon right here. And if you want to see another one because your mind is blown, hit this icon right here. And if you want to subscribe to this channel, hit that icon right here.

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Pronouncing numbers in British and American English