British English vs. American English: Vocabulary


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This is a story about the daily life of New York Nate, who lives in the United States; and London Laura, who lives in England. As you can see, they have very similar lives… but the vocabulary words they use are very different!

New York Nate lives in an apartment, and London Laura lives in a flat.

British English American English - Apartment - Flat
Every morning, when getting dressed, New York Nate puts on a pair of pants – whereas London Laura puts on a pair of trousers. Both New York Nate and London Laura have babies, but New York Nate needs to change the baby’s diaper, and London Laura needs to change the baby’s nappy.

British English American English
When it’s time to go to work, New York Nate takes the subway and London Laura takes the underground (which is also called the tube).

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British English American English

After getting off at the right stop, New York Nate walks along the sidewalk and London Laura walks along the pavement to reach their offices.

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British English American English Sidewalk Pavement

New York Nate works on the first floor of the building, and London Laura works on the ground floor. This means neither of them needs to take the elevator (for New York Nate) or the lift (for London Laura).

British English American English Elevator Lift
At work, both Nate and Laura need to send some important documents to a client – but New York Nate sends them by mail and London Laura sends them by post.

During the day, New York Nate snacks on cookies, french fries, and potato chips. London Laura eats the same things, but she calls them biscuits, chips, and crisps.

British English American English
This isn’t a very healthy diet, is it? Both Nate and Laura get stomachaches, so on the way home from work New York Nate stops at the drugstore or pharmacy and London Laura stops at the chemist’s shop to pick up some medicine.

After work, Nate and Laura go shopping. They drive to the mall, and New York Nate puts his car in the parking lot, whereas London Laura puts hers in the car park.

British English American English Parking Lot
Both of them buy a lot of stuff, so New York Nate puts his purchases in the trunk, and London Laura puts hers in the boot.

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British English American English Trunk Boot

On the way home, New York Nate stops to fill up the car with gas – and London Laura fills up her car with petrol. At the station, New York Nate sees a truck, and London Laura sees a lorry.

Photo: Stahlkocher
British English American English Truck Lorry

They both get home late, and New York Nate needs to take out the garbage or trash; London Laura also needs to take out the rubbish. It’s dark outside, so New York Nate takes a flashlight, and London Laura takes a torch.

British English American English
It’s been a long day, and New York Nate thinks he’s going to go crazy; London Laura thinks she might go mad.

British English American English Crazy Mad

It must be time for a vacation for New York Nate… and a holiday for London Laura!

British English American English Vacation Holiday

Except where specified, all images are from

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