You say - I say


New Member
pygmalion said:
lawyer = solicitor
We say lawyer also, but there is a "qualification"/distinction that needs to be made as the legal profession is split here. The rules have changed slightly so the information I am giving here may be slightly out of date.

Solicitor = a lawyer who up until recently could not appear in court on behalf of his/her client. Yes, he/she would be in the courtroom, but could not speak to the judge :oops: (I am suddenly feeling embarassed for a system that I have not control over and all of a sudden seems very "old fashioned" :oops: ). He/she could only talk through the barrister.

I don't know the exact changes but the rules were changing so that solicitors were supposed to be able to represent their client in court, for certain types of cases - I think just the minor ones.

Barrister = lawyer who is "briefed"/"instructed" (which basically means hired!) by the solicitor to represent the client in court. They tend to be very expensive, charge by the hour etc etc and wear the black capes/gowns and white wigs you may have seen on television/english movies

When doing the legal training the student has to decide whether he/she wants to become a barrister/solicitor but at the end of the day, they are both lawyers.

For instance, with respect to say OJ Simpson or Michael Jackson (the only two cases I have seen on television and therefore could try and give you some sort of comparison) - Johnny Cochrane would probably have been the barrister (lead counsel) and the others, solicitors.

In terms of salary, it used to be the case that junior/trainee solicitors earnt more than their equivalents as barristers. I believe this was mainly because solicitors had more corporate clients. However, once a barrister has earned a reputation, he/she could go on to earn more than a solicitor, unless that solicitor was especially renowned in their field.

So basically, US lawyers do both the "office" and "court" work whereas here, due to the split, solicitors do the "office" work and if the case goes to trial, then a barrister is instructed (hired) and he/she then does the talking in court.



Well-Known Member
Yikes! It took me a billion years to find this thread. :x

What is tomato sauce, in UK speak?

In the US, tomato sauce is pure tomatoes, that have been peeled and simmered slowly, until they're at a consistency you can pour -- they're thick, but pourable, and usually contain only tomatoes, no seasonings. It's used in cooking, and usually sold in a can.

Ketchup is also mainly simmered tomatoes, but also contains sugar, salt, and lots of other spices. It has a mild flavor, and is used as a condiment on things like French fries (chips) and burgers. It's sold in a medium-sized plastic bottle.

I believe in UK-speak, ketchup is "sauce." So what do you call tomato sauce that you cook with?


Well-Known Member
bordertangoman said:
blancmange is a cold dessert that sets in the fridge; like jelly (Jello -US)
made with milk and flavouring and a setting agent- cornflour.
Hmm. Interesting.

I guess UK cornflour = US cornstarch (The things you learn in these threads. 8) :D )

My first and only introduction to blancmange was seeing a giant one chase people around on an old BBC episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Hilarious.


New Member
pygmalion said:
Hmm. Interesting.

I guess UK cornflour = US cornstarch (The things you learn in these threads. 8) :D )

My first and only introduction to blancmange was seeing a giant one chase people around on an old BBC episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Hilarious.
:doh: :lol: Yes, Monty Python and the various "Carry On" movies were very good.


Well-Known Member
Pacion said:
Hmmm, so what do you call the buildings where musicals/live performances are held? How do you differentiate between theatre to see a movie and theatre to see a play/musical?
In the U.S. these days, live theater is largely confined to a few large cities, so generally when most people say "theater" they mean a movie theater. The only exception to this would probably be New York, which is the epicenter of U.S. live theater. A lot of other cities do often have small venues where plays are presented by local groups (often on college campuses). Such a venue is generally called a "playhouse".

I think I read somewhere that theaters were converted to cinemas, which is why the use of the word theatre has remained.
I can recall that an old theater in my town, where our parents used to take us to Saturday matinees, had a stage area behind its movie screen. It was a regular game for the young kids to try to sneak into that area without getting caught by the ushers. I recall that there were old stage lights and stuff back there that apparently hadn't been used in decades. There was a big old lighting console in the wings that had a bunch of the old rheostat-type lighting dimmers with gigantic handles that sort of looked like car gear shifts. They didn't work, of course, but kids had great fun getting back there and moving them back and forth.

The theater went out of business in the mid-'70s and the building just sat there for years. In 1982, while I was in college, one day a potential buyer wanted to inspect the building. An agent took them in, and apparently they went into the stage area and turned on some of the lights. A few hours later, the building burned down. :x


Well-Known Member
Okay, one more:

One that threw me off for a long time is the British use of the phrase "public school", which means the exact opposite of what it means in the U.S.

Here's a few engineering ones:

US -- UK
ground (in the electrical sense) -- earth
tube -- valve
afterburner -- reheat

It also intrigues me that both the spelling and the pronounciation of "aluminum" is different in Britian:

aluminum -- "uh-LUUM-uh-num"

aluminium -- "al-u-MIN-ee-um"

Also, I think there are still people in Britian who use the German word "wolfram" to mean tungsten (the metallic element that light-bulb filaments are made of).


Well-Known Member
Along the lines of theaters being converted into cinemas, I think the old Fox cinema in downtown Fullerton, Calif., was recently declared a historical landmark and saved from demolition. 15 years ago we went for lunch to the Italian restaurant right behind the theatre. Apparently the cinema is a converted live theater in which they had constructed a wall for the screen at the front of the stage. I think that some of the restaurant seating was up on the stage and the owners had set up the area under that stage (think of stages having trap doors) as a dungeon with mannikins dressed up humorously as the prisoners (I think one was a gorilla in a prisoner's suit).

There was an old, old theater one block north of the traffic circle in downtown Orange, Calif., that seems to have been there forever (or at least since very early in the 20th century, I think). I went there a couple times for movies around 1970 and was surprised to see the old organ there from, I surmised, the silent-movie days. Then in the mid-70's it converted back to a live theater and for the past 15 years or so it's been a church.

Back to the thread topic:
A US trash can is a UK "dust bin", I think.

I noticed that "knocking up" has already been mentioned.

Some of the British food names seem awfully strange. There's a British grocery vendor at our local Scotish Highland Games and while looking at the desert mixes we saw one for "spotted dick". We didn't want to ask.

Many years ago when I was a language major (German), a girl at school spent her childhood in England and was talking about the names they had for things, but I don't remember what they were. Like for what we in the US would call "bangs" (girl's hair in front combed straight down and cut in a straight line just above the eyebrows), sneakers ("tennis" shoes), and various articles of young girls' clothing that I don't even know the names of in the US.


Well-Known Member
Differences in pronounciation. I remember hearing one British actor saying "si-mul-TAN-eous" (with a short "i"), instead of the US "SI-multaneous" (long "i").

And when Nicaragua was in the news a lot, National Public Radio used BBC sources a lot, so I heard something like "Nicuragrura" a lot. Rather grated, because the US pretty much follows Spanish pronunciation, besides which I also speak some Spanish.
a british friend was spending holidays in Ny, staying with me home
and we were about to go shopping, and then she got all furious and mad, she was looking for her JUMPER...!!!!

it took me a while to realize that a jumer is a SWEATER.:D

windshield- windscreen
license plate-number plate


New Member
i don't live in UK or US or Oz,
but i remember a distinction from school, that i still can't remember which is correct:

second floor = first storey (?) or second storey = first floor?


Well-Known Member
yola said:
i don't live in UK or US or Oz,
but i remember a distinction from school, that i still can't remember:

second floor = first storey (?) or second storey = first floor?
That may be more of a European thing vs the US way. I know that in Germany, you have the ground floor, then you go up to the first story, etc, whereas in the US the ground floor is the first story and you go up to the second story. I think I saw the same thing in France as in Germany. I didn't ride any elevators in Belgium and I forget what I saw in Switzerland, but I think it was the same as in Germany. Those were the only countries I have visited, so I'm just assuming that the rest of Europe is the same.
jello - jelly
the letter z ('zee') - the letter zed
the letter h ('aitch') - the letter haitch
panties - pants
bar - pub
pool - billiards

Also, a pronunciation thing that threw me off once... I asked my brittish roommate what time he wanted to head out and I heard "off pist nine". When he saw my confused look, he said very slowly "nine thirty".

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