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پکیج: انگلیسی با استاد لوسی / سرفصل: اصطلاحات بریتانیایی / درس 23

انگلیسی با استاد لوسی

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AMERICAN vs. BRITISH expressions & phrases

Hello everyone and welcome back to English with Lucy.

Today, I’m going to talk to you about 20 idioms, which have different inversions in American English and in British English. You need to be really careful with these, because you risk being misunderstood. If you use the wrong version in the wrong country, actually that would mean you would be understood. Cuz, that’s a double negative anyway I’m going to tell you the British version of the idiom and then I’m going to tell you the American version of the idiom. I’m going to give you the definition and I’m going to give you an example. So, get your notebooks out and write these down.

Right, number one, in Britain, we say to throw a spanner in the works. to throw a spanner in the works but in American English. They say to throw a monkey wrench in the works, or sometimes just to throw a wrench in the works. It’s basically different. Because what Americans call a monkey wrench, we call a spanner. And this idiom basically means to do something that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding. For example, the intern threw a spanner in the works, by ghosting the client on tinder. This actually happened to someone I know, they met someone on tinder never applied to their messages and turns out they’re a big client for their company. It didn’t go well, they threw a spanner in the works.

Number two, as we say in British English, to blow your own trumpet. To blow your own trumpet. But, in American English they say, to toot your own horn. To toot your own horn. This means to boast or to praise your own abilities and achievements. For example, I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet. But, I read the Oxford Dictionary three times before the age of five. that is a lie. I did not.

Number three, in Britain we say to sweep something under the carpet. To sweep something under the carpet. But in America they say to sweep something under the rug. To sweep something under the rug. This means to deny or ignore something. That is embarrassing or might damage your reputation. A lot of politicians like to sweep things under the carpet. For example as one of the most controversial youtubers on the platform I have swept many scandals under the carpet.

Number four in British English. We say peaks and troughs. Peaks and troughs. But in American English, they say peaks and valleys. Peaks and valleys. This means to avoid something at all costs or to refuse to associate with something. whoops I said the wrong one this is the mixture of good and bad things in life. For example, having lovely sponsors like Skillshare helps my business through the peaks and troughs of the year.

Number five, in Britain we would say to not touch something with a bargepole. To not touch something with a bargepole. In American English they would simply say to not touch something with a ten-foot pole. To not touch something with a ten-foot pole. This simply means to avoid something at all costs, or to refuse to associate with something. For example, my father would not touch trifle with a bargepole. He absolutely hates trifle. He’s very good at pretending to like things, but I’ve never seen him pretend to like a trifle. It’s that dessert which is like cake Jam jelly custard Creole. I would eat it. but, I wouldn’t choose it.

Right, number six, this is a sort of superstitious one in British English. It’s touch wood touch wood in American English. It’s knock on wood, knock on wood. And it’s a phrase that’s used. Just after mentioning a way in which you’ve been lucky in the past, and it’s said to prevent bad luck. So, an example would be I am NOT a great driver. but, I’ve never been in a serious car crash touchwood, I’m saying touch wood to prevent myself from being in a serious car crash. I actually need to touch wood now. Ok, I’m not superstitious. I just, I’m just, British.

Number seven, British English, we would say to flog a dead horse. To flog a dead horse. In American English, they would say to beat a dead horse. To beat a dead horse. This simply means to waste energy on something that has no chance of succeeding. For example, you’re flogging a dead horse by trying to make my dad to trifle. he’s not going to do it. you’re not going to succeed.

Number eight, I will admit that sometimes, I use the American version and you do have to bear that in mind with these idioms. Because, in Britain we consume so many American sitcoms TV programs and movies that their vocabulary does bleed into our vocabulary. But, in Britain traditionally we would say to take something with a grain of salt. To take something with a grain of salt. When in America they would say to take something with a pinch of salt. To take something with a pinch of salt. And this means to view something with skepticism or to not take something literally. For example, if I offer you a tequila, you should take it with a pinch of salt. And a slice of lemon. Just joking that’s proof that you should take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Number nine, in British English, we would say swings and roundabouts. Swings and roundabouts. in American English, they would simply say. Ups and downs. Ups and downs. These idioms are used to describe situations where there are as many gains as there are losses. For example, in the UK we pay high taxes, but, it’s all swings and roundabouts. Because we have a great national health service.

Number 10, another one, where I might actually say the American one, because ,the Americanisms have bled into Britain. But, the British idiom is skeletons in the cupboard. Skeletons in the cupboard. Whilst in American English they say skeletons in the closet. Skeletons in the closet. And we don’t actually use the word closet. Which means wardrobe in British English. But, I would use the word closet for the specific idiom and a skeleton in the closet is a secret that would cause embarrassment. If known for example, I could never run for prime minister. Because I have far too many skeletons in my closet.

Number 11, oh this one is British. The British version is. So, British to have a go at someone. To have a go at someone we use this all the time, if there’s one that you remember. Remember this one, the American version is, to tear into someone. To tear into someone. It means to attack someone with either force or language. For example, true story, a teacher once had a go at me for faking an illness when I was genuinely very unwell.

Number 12, in British English, we say a storm in a teacup. A storm in a teacup. In American English, they say a tempest in a teapot. a tempest in a teapot. This sounds much more posh teacup. Teapot much more tea. this means great outrage or excitement over a trivial matter. For example, I don’t think the apocalypse is coming. I think it’s a big old storm and a teacup.

number 13, in British English, we say a drop in the ocean. a drop in the ocean. and in American English, they say a drop in the bucket. A drop in the bucket. It means a very small or insignificant amount compared to the amount needed. for example, I saved 33 pence by doing my shopping online, which is a drop in the ocean. compared to what I need to save for a house deposit. that’s what I’m trying to say for at the moment, and it’s not easy.

Number 14, this is a personal favourite. I just really like it and I actually love the American Version. they’re saying it makes me cringe. The British version is hard cheese. Hard cheese. the American version and I find it very, very hard to say this without sounding so ridiculous.

So, bear with me. The American version is, tough titty. Tough titty. I wonder if I can say it without smiling, tough titty. No, I can’t. this is used to express somewhat sarcastic sympathy over a petty or trivial matter for. Example, you missed your exam, because, you stayed up watching bird box. hard cheese mate.

Number 50 another super British one. that we use so frequently to bang on about something. To bang on about something. In American English they would say to rant and rave about something. to rant and rave about something. this means to talk about something for a long time. Especially in a way that is boring to others. For example, I know I bang on about Skillshare. But, it really is a fantastic service.

Number 16, in British English it’s to call a spade. A spade to call a spade a spade in American English to call it as one sees it. to call it as one sees it. this simply means to speak honestly and describe something as it really is. for example, my mother calls a spade, a spade. if I’m being out of order. which I sometimes am. she will put me right and she always does.

Number 17, in British English we say to cram. to cram, which isn’t strictly an idiom. but, the American version is in American English they say, to hit the books. To hit the books. And this means to study intensively over a short period of time. usually right before an exam. for example, I relied heavily on cramming, throughout my university degree. I wouldn’t recommend it. but, I did get a first-class degree. So, make of that what you will.

Number 18, in British English, to get itchy feet. To get itchy feet. In American English they say to seek new pastures. to seek new pastures. This means to start to want to travel or to do something different with your life. For example after fourteen years of schooling I got itchy feet, and started to plan my move to Spain.

Number 19, in British English, we say to go pear-shaped. To go pear-shaped. in American English they say to go south. to go south. this means, to go wrong or to go badly. For example, the party was great, but, after they handed out two kilo shots. It started to go a bit pear-shaped. Our final idiom of the lesson and I’ve saved the best till last, because, this is what I love to do. In British English, we say to queue up. To queue up. but, in American English they say to wait in line. To wait in line. simply means to take one’s place in a queue. for example as a Brit, I can honestly say there is nothing I enjoy more than queuing up and silently judging those who try to break the queue rules. Oh, I love it and hate it at the same time. Anyway moving on. that’s it for today’s lesson.

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