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Important differences between American and European English



Most of the differences between American and European English are merely incidental — maybe interesting as a curiosity, or helpful in refinement of usage. But some are important.


European American
Day, month, year Month, day, year The nomenclature for dates is different.
Fag Cigarette In American, "fag" is an abbreviated form of "faggot," a bigotted reference to a gay man.
Pissed Drunk "Pissed off" means the same in Europe as it does in the U.S. — angry.

"Pissed," on its own, means "drunken." "On the piss" means "drinking."

See also "taking the piss."...

Ride [n. or v.] F*ck In European English, you would get a "lift" in somebody else's car.

Don't use the word "ride" at all, unless you're sure you know how the listener will hear it.

Sorry "Excuse me" or "Excuse me?" (In pedestrian traffic, or in conversation.) May be more prevalent in Ireland.
• There are also some terms that most people would understand, but that sound odd in the European ear:

Bathroom The use of the American term for a place where there's no bathtub or shower-stall can seem odd. The term "restroom" travels well, for those who don't want to ask for the "toilet."
Gas A misnomer, as abbreviation for the term "gasoline." Europeans call the liquid petroleum fuel "petrol," whereas "gas" refers to natural gas. In Ireland, "gas" is also an adjective.
Cellphone Based upon the engineers' description of service coverage areas, the American term has no organic significance for the average user. In Europe, the more-logical term "mobile telephone," or simply "mobile," is customary. Unlikely to cause important confusion, but possibly awkward.

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