English isn’t English In America

englishI like to think that in the course of 7 years, (yep, 7… time sure flies when you’re having ….whatever this is…….) that I’ve assimilated to American life. Most days, I know what I’m doing, can find what I want and speak to many and varied folks with nary a hint of bother. 

But still, sometimes this language I call English, which is my native and only tongue, lets me know I’m not in Kansas anymore, oh wait, sure I am… I’m not in England anymore, or Australia to be precise, as I never been to England, although I have relatives and my mum is….. oh sorry, squirrel.

Where was I? Oh, Non English, yes, so over the last 7 years of getting my shit together in American culture, I still have moments where, although I’m conversing NOT conversating in a shared language, the meaning is totally misconstrued.

Take for example (ie) the simple act of making coffee for a friend: This really happened, I’m not making it up as an example … The name is changed to protect my embarrassment…….k?

Me: Hey Don, the King is still in the shower, can I make you a coffee?

Don: sure!

Making coffee like a good little wifey host for Don..

Me: Hey Don, do you have sugar?

Don: Um, Do I have sugar? I have sugar at home, oh do you mean on me? no …

Me: WTF???? In your coffee, do you have sugar in your coffee? (confused face)

Don: OH, do you mean do I take sugar? Yes 2 please (i forget now but 2 is considered polite) whatevs it’s my reenactment

Me: Ah, take sugar, so we’re being literal here. You have a bath at home but it doesn’t mean you take one every day…. Ok America I feel you….

Yeah that last bit after the ‘take sugar’ may have been in my head but you can see my dilemma.

We Aussies say have a bath, have sugar, how are you going?….. when I say how are you going to someone, they think I’m literally asking their mode of transportation and then I remind myself to go all Joey on them and say “how you doin'”…

It’s a confusing thing.. I’m working on it…

Listen….don’t even get me started on the difference in what we call things….here’s a few just for kicks….




thong=flip flops


power point=power outlet


chilli flakes=crushed red peppers




Oh, FYI if you ever speak to the English don’t tell them you sit on your fanny! A fanny is NOT the same as it is here…….you’re telling them you sit on your vajayjay.


Yeah tis…..and rooting for your team, in Australia, sure makes you the most popular girl with said team… but somewhat of a slut….

*I won’t mention the spelling, I mentioned the spelling once but I think I got away with it….. :)


Oh and Dan…… did you see what I did there? 😛

This particular post may have been brought to you by too much coffee on too little sleep……just sayin

Comments 22

  1. John Chapman

    After being married to an American for 14 years we still keep coming across expressions which mean different things on different sides of the Atlantic. No one has yet mentioned that in the UK you would use a rubber to remove a pencil line – use an eraser in the States because rubber means condom. ‘I’ll knock you up’ in the UK means you will wake someone up (in the distant past miners could not afford alarm clocks so the mine owners employed a man with a long pole to knock on the bedroom windows and wake them). In the US the expression means to make pregnant. In the UK you might buy a ‘pastie’ at a bakers – a savoury pastry. In the US a ‘pastie’ is a tassel worn on a stripper’s nipple. The latest expression we discovered is saying ‘That’s down to me’. It draws blank looks in the US but in the UK it means ‘I’m responsible for that.’

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  2. Yvonne

    So you’re from Australia Molley. I love Australia. We went there in 2010 and the time of our lives. And a few confusions: we werein our relative’s garden, and she had a big thing for swatting flies. I said something about there being a lot of “Blue Bottles” buzzing about. She looked very puzzled. Apparently that’s not a big ugly fly in Oz, but a fish. I have forgotten what you call the flies, but it was funny to think of lots of fish flying around her garden.
    Yvonne recently posted…Giving Thanks, Hurting and HealingMy Profile

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