It sometimes feels like us Brits and our American cousins travelled different roads when it comes to vocabulary, despite speaking the same language. So today, we’re diving into the bonkers world of American English versus British English.

Here are 10 prime examples of weird and wonderful word swaps that might just make your head spin:

  1. Apartment vs. Flat – Let’s start with your humble abode. Americans live in apartments, while Brits prefer flats. But home is where the heart is, no matter where you are.
  1. Cookie vs. Biscuit – You’re in for a treat, whether you’re munching on a chocolate chip cookie in the USA or dunking a sweet biscuit in your tea in the UK.
  1. Elevator vs. Lift – Need a ride to a higher or lower floor? You’ll look for an elevator in the States, while in Britain a lift will take you there.
  1. Gasoline vs. Petrol: You’ll be filling it up with gasoline in the US or petrol in the UK when your car’s running low. All the same, both will get you on your way.
  1. Sidewalk vs. Pavement: Take a stroll on the sidewalk in the States or the pavement in the UK. No matter what you call it, it’s all about the journey not the destination.
  1. Fries vs. Chips: Craving something crispy? Americans love their fries, while the British savour chips. Both are perfect with ketchup, mayonnaise, or salt and vinegar.
  1. Trash vs. Rubbish: When it’s time to clean up, you toss your trash in the US or put the rubbish out in the UK. Just remember to keep your surroundings tidy, no matter which term you use.
  1. Soccer vs. Football: The beautiful game, right? The excitement is universal, regardless of its name. Americans call it soccer, while the British cheer for football.
  1. Candy vs. Sweets: Got a sweet tooth? You’re in for a sugary delight, whether you’re in the mood for candy in America or sweets in the UK.
  1. Diaper vs. Nappy: For the little ones, Americans change diapers, while Brits opt for nappies. But either way, it’s all about keeping babies comfy.

So, where did this diversification come from? It’s a blend of history, culture, and linguistic evolution. You see, English absorbed influences from various regions as it spread across the globe, resulting in unique vocabulary in different places.


At La Academia, our EFL (English as a foreign language) Team make it fun and informative for English language learners navigating these differences. So, check our EFL courses. Embrace the diversity. Watch some British and American TV shows. And practice, practice, practice! You’ll soon be chatting like a local on both sides of the pond.