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21st Sep 2016

American writes a huge list of everything weird and funny about British people

We're not really this odd, are we?

Ben Kenyon

Isn’t Britain brilliant?

Anyone born on these ancient, Sceptred Isles will no doubt get all proud and misty-eyed when thinking about good old Blighty.

You’re probably listening to ‘God Save the Queen’ in your head right now as you read this, aren’t you? Or that rousing tune from the Hovis advert?

We invented the English language, we had an Empire on which the sun never set and we gave the world the steam engine, the lawnmower and the chocolate bar. And our football is the only true football.

We like cups of tea, crosswords, bacon sandwiches, darts, Ant and Dec, cricket, talking about the weather and, of course, we like our beer by the pints…and there’s absolutely nothing quaint, weird or quirky about us.

Or so we thought.

One American woman, who worked in London for 10 months, has written a compendious list of all the bizarre things about British people and British culture for Vogue Magazine. You can read the full list here, but we thought we’d throw together the best ones.

  • British people do not use umbrellas, even though it rains every day.
  • Everyone says sorry for everything; it’s often best to start any request or inquiry with “sorry . . .”


  • If you’re walking and you have something you maybe want to throw away at any point in the near future (coffee cup, tissue), you should toss it the second you see a bin (garbage can) because there won’t be another one, ever.
  • Crisps means potato chips and they have bizarre flavors like Bolognese and roast chicken (yes, roast chicken is an actual potato chip flavor here).
  • English people wear winter coats starting on October 1 . . .
    Christmas also starts on October 1 . . .
    Also, they wouldn’t say October 1; they’d say, 1 October.

game of thrones winter is coming white walkers winter is here the nights king

  • Military time is very popular. If someone says to meet at 18:30, you will have to get out your calculator to deduce that they’d like to meet at 6:30 p.m.
  • GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time, but nobody knows what that means.
  • British people do not say “cheers” and tap glasses when drinking with friends. It’s apparently embarrassing and “American” to do so. They do, however, say “cheers” many times a day, but it means “thank you and goodbye”.

reactions wine cheers betty white toasting

  • If you have a “cider black” (aka a snakebite) at a pub you might think you got roofied, but you didn’t.
  • Don’t try to order any fancy drinks at a pub, just play it cool, order “a pint” and drink whatever is in there.
  • Eggs are inexplicably not refrigerated and are often hidden in a regular food aisle.

cheers simon pegg shaun of the dead pint all blow over

  • A shopping bag is not automatically included in your purchase at a store; if you miss the question “would you like a bag?” you will have to awkwardly carry your items out in your hands and act like you planned that.
  • British people love talking about the weather. This is not a stereotype; it’s a fact.
  • Do not speak ill of the tube system. The British people love their public transportation—”transport”, if you will—even those who don’t actually use it.

mustache spoof hot fuzz british comedy cop movie

  • Gogglebox is another very popular TV show where you watch people watching TV.
  • If you are meeting someone on the “first floor” you will need to go up a level because first floor means second floor in this country.
  • If a bicyclist puts out their hand, they are indicating which way they’d like to turn; they do not want a high five. (My bad. This is probably true in America, too.)


  • If you order a “lemonade”, you’ll get a Sprite and there’s literally nothing you can do about it. I still don’t know how to get an actual “lemonade” in this country.
  • Don’t even bother talking about herbs with anyone because every single one is pronounced differently. Basil is one thing, but wait until you hear a Brit pronounce oregano.
  • The coins are not sized by worth; the twopence is inexplicably huge while 20 pence is very small. Best to hold out your change in your hand when paying and pretend you don’t speak English.

british funny flag fucking sexual

  • The Queen’s birthday is celebrated several times a year and there is very bad traffic and lots of drinking.
  • Bank Holidays happen several times a year, but no one actually knows what the holiday is in celebration of. Incidentally, if you say “Happy Bank Holiday” to an English person, they will not know how to respond; it is not the equivalent of “Happy Fourth of July!”

queen family look uk british

We never had any idea we were so strange and idiosyncratic.

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