During the discussion that followed my recent interview on Cindy's Country Corner, Cindy asked me, "Graham, I have heard that most Brits love their fish and chips! And, you obviously do! So, here’s my question. Are the chips more like french fries, home fries, potato chips or none of the above?"
I thought most American people knew what British "chips" were, but it is not the first time I have been asked this question, so I thought I would clarify this. British chips are American french fries (I hope we have got past the embarrassing term "freedom fries" now), but unlike most fries, which are usually quite thin, British chips are generally fatter.
What Americans call potato chips, Brits call crisps.
For the benefit of my non-American friends, home fries are par-cooked potatoes, diced or otherwise cut into chunks, then shallow-fried.
There are so many of these little differences, I think an entire series is warranted. Let us go on for a while:
What we Brits call pants, Americans call underwear. In Britain, the word underwear is often used to describe any undergarments, such as underpants, bras, undershirts (US undershirts are UK vests, while a US vest is what a Brit would call a waistcoat). An American calls them pants, while a Brit calls them trousers. My four-year-old daughter always bursts into fits of giggling when I tell her about pants and trousers and so on.
While we are on the subject of anatomy and accessories, if you have not already checked it out, you might enjoy an earlier post here, Don't say 'fannypack' around me.
Finally (for now anyway), you might enjoy The Very Best of British - The American's Guide to Speaking British, a website which is full of these little differences and makes a very entertaining read.
Confused? Do you have some more differences or questions about language differences? Please post a comment and let me know.