Top 16 Myths Americans Generally Believe about Britain

 

union flag

I’ll start this post out with a quick disclaimer – it’s meant all in good humor and may offend some. But if you understand the humor behind our previous post – The Top 15 Ways to Spot an Idiot American – then you’ll love this post.

Every country in the world has a set of stereotypes associated with it that outsiders generally believe on face value. Britain has quite a few – so in order to better Anglo-American relations, here’s a friendly guide for our fellow countrymen on some of the myths about Britain that aren’t true.

They All Speak with a Cockney Accent

Britain is a land of linguistic variation and if you’re only exposure to British English is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Mary Poppins, you’ll be quite surprised when you arrive and encounter and huge array in British accents, especially in London. Britain may be a small country, but their regions have history going back many centuries before we were a glimmer in Columbus’s eye, so their regional accents reflect this. You’d be amazed at how much an accent can shift from village to village!

They All Live in London

Britain is a HUGE place and London is only a small part of it. There are many Brits who’ve never actually been to London at all. And many Brits have a love/hate relationship with their beloved capital. That being said, Britain has many large cities – all as cool, if not cooler, than London. You should check them out.

They’re Sore about the Revolutionary War

It really doesn’t bother them. It may have 225 years ago. But it doesn’t anymore. They’re quite OK with America having gone off and been all American about things. On this similar subject, they are still coping with their loss of empire and still look back on the imperial days with pride – despite the historically recognized atrocities.

They’re Reserved and Unfriendly

Couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re about as reserved and unfriendly as the average stranger in the USA. It’s been our experience that our British friends have been very warm and welcoming to us.

They All Know the Queen

I can assure you they don’t. But it’s not uncommon to meet someone who has met the Queen – she’s known for her yearly large garden parties and being invited is considered a great honor. The Royal Family is as remote as you would expect it to be.

The Food Sucks

This is a long held misconceptions about Britain. The food, in general, does not suck. But then again it all depends on where you eat. You can’t expect much from a takeaway or a small deli – but Britain has most of the fast food places that America has as well as their own chain restaurants that serve decent food. Not to mention many world class chefs that are based in London and throughout the UK.

There’s No Ice Anywhere

On my first trip to England, I was quite surprised to get a drink with no ice in it. Honestly, that was the last time it happened to me. It was 10 years ago. It hasn’t been a problem since. You can expect to get ice in most drinks now.

It Rains All The Time

It rains about as much as it rains anywhere else. However, it COULD rain at any time. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be walking down the street in London, it’d start raining for a few minutes and then the sun would be shining in no time. Britain has a wet, maritime climate, but it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone thinks.

They All Have Bad Teeth

This may be the case with older generations in the UK – but generally British people have decent teeth. American style orthodontia is now in style in the UK. But really, what does it matter if they have bad teeth? That doesn’t indicate whether they’re good or bad people. It’s not an indicator of how civilized a person are if they all have straight teeth. Don’t judge someone if they’re teeth aren’t perfect.

They Hate Europe and are Xenophobic

They’re quite fond of Europe, especially Southern France and Spain. However, they have a very, shall we say, antagonistic view of mainland Europe, often rooted in stereotypes and good humor. Look, they’ve had a longer relationship with Europeans than we have – so they’re entitled to feel how they do. But there’s very little hate. Except maybe for the Germans.

They’re Happy to Fight in Our Wars

No, they’re not. In fact their participating in America’s last two pointless wars was VERY unpopular, but they participated anyway. They won’t make that mistake again.

They Love Tony Blair

Their  relationship with Tony Blair can be compared to a relationship with a beautiful woman that has a honeymoon period for a few years, then turns to pot and you eventually have to kick her out, even though she doesn’t want to go. I would not recommend talking about British politics with a Brit unless you are actually British, I can assure you, you really don’t understand it.

They Hate Americans but Love Our Money

Hate is a strong word. They certainly don’t hate us – they just don’t agree with some of the decisions we’ve made as a grown-up nation. However, they do love our money. But the pound is now worth more, so who’s laughing now?

They Hate All Immigrants

No, they hate ILLEGAL immigrants. There’s a huge distinction there. You’d be surprised how open Britain is to integrating foreigners into British society.

They’re All Manchester United Fans

While Manchester United is one of the most popular football clubs in the world, all Brits don’t have a love for it. However, it is popular but keep in mind, choosing one’s football team loyalties is a major life decision and they don’t take it lightly. You’re not really qualified to even talk about it until you’ve lived there for a few years and have chosen your team. So, put down that cheap Manchester United shirt in the market, you won’t impress anyone by wearing it.

We Saved Their Asses in World War II

We most certainly did not. Britain was bravely fighting off the Nazi’s for 3 years before we got around to joining the fight. They’re quite proud of their wartime history so generally it’s never a good idea to talk about it as if we did them a favor. As Basil Fawtly famously said: “Whatever you do, don’t mention the war.”

Do any of our British readers have any myths they’d like to dispel about their country? Please let us know in the comments!

Comments

  1. avatar says

    Hi thats a funny post, speicaly about that there is other places than london. Another interesting point is Americans can’t seem to get there head arround that wales and england are different countries but part of great britain

    • avatarJoe says

      Most Americans know that Wales, Scotland, and England are political divisions of the UK. And no, the USA did not break away from England. It was 13 colonies that broke away form Great Britain and became 13 free and independent states or 13 autonomous sovereigns.

      • avatarWelsh Ellie says

        Don’t tell the Welsh they are just a political division of the UK ….. we even have our own language and our national anthem is in our mother tongue…whether we speak Welsh on a daily basis or not …we can all sing in Welsh. ….and as for rugby..sssshhhh …its not just like American football.

        • avatarAran says

          But we are. We just don’t like to be reminded that most of the power is in Westminster. Wales is a country, and a constituent of the UK, but every time the economy takesa dip, petty nationalism rears its ugly head again. Shame we can’t seem to find pride in ourselves without blaming England for everything. I’ve got to admit that it does get up my nose when my Australian housemate always refers to me as ‘English’.

  2. avatarJon Melling says

    These are all great myths, most of which I am told about by my neighbors and friends here in Arizona!

    Here is another one that I came across when buying a car recently:

    ENGLAND IS LONDON! London is not England but is a major city in England! There are many other beautiful and scenic parts of the country away from London. WALES IS A TOWN IN ENGLAND. Wales is not in England, it is a Principality but is part of the United Kingdom; SCOTLAND IS NO LONGER PART OF THE UK! Scotland is not part of England but is part of the United Kingdom and has not seceded from the United Kingdom.

    Also just because I have a funny accent does not mean that I am Australian or South African!

    • avatarSusan says

      There should be an entire list of all the places British people are assumed to be from. People are trying to get more creative and exotic now. My husband is British (with a very non-regional British accent-he’s lived in several places in England, including London, Wales, Saudi-RAF dad). He definitely has been asked if he is Australian, and South African, however he was also labeled Jamaican & Canadian! wth??

      • avatarAgatha Bagwash says

        we lived in the US for two years. When we travelled outside New England, I was assumed to be a Bostonian. I never corrected people

    • avatarDavid says

      I’d just add that, not only is Scotland part of the UK, but a constituent country (yes, country is an applicable term with regards to this) of Great Britain.

      Please never describe Wales as a principality in the vicinity of a Welsh person, you’d be liable to get a very angry response.
      The ‘Prince Of Wales’ is largely a ceremonial title, there is nothing, constitutionally speaking to suggest that Wales functions as a principality.

      Even an English person (of which I am one), wouldnt even think to describe Wales as a principality…unless maybe jokingly, to get a rise out of our Welsh siblings.

      So as before, it is appropriate, and common practice to refer to Wales as a country.

      Regards

        • avatarPaul says

          With reference to Jonathon’s comment about Wales having a fundamentally different relationship to the UK than Scotland – not true. The only real difference, now, is that the Welsh assembly has fewer devolved powers than Scotland’s parliament. Yet it is in Wales and not Scotland where they have the two languages on all the road signs.

          On a side note, yes it is fun to joke and try to get a rise out of the Welsh, at parties I try to convince them that Wales is the West-West Midlands haha. It goes down as well as you would expect, but it is all just regional humour to me. I prefer the welsh and Scots to the English in the South East of the country. They are more on my wave-length than Londoners in particular.

          LONG LIVE THE UNION!!! PLEASE, SCOTLAND, VOTE TO STAY IN THE UK IN THIS COMING REFERENDOM. UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE WIMPER AND EUROPE DOMINATES US.

        • avatarBritish Bob says

          Btw thanks for telling Americans about our opinion on the war really gets under our skins when that is mentioned. Some like tony but half the nation don’t like him personally I didn’t think he was that good. Saying that we all support Man U is like saying all Americans like support the New York Yankees. Personally I’m a west ham support cause I’m loyal.

          • avatarAran says

            Seconded. Most Brits are not all that historically aware about the War, but anyone who has studied it will know that without Britain, the US and Russia all together, it would probably have been lost. We tend to do Russia out of credit on account of the hostilities that followed, but being told we were saved in WWII gets about the same reaction as telling an American that the French won their Revolution for them.

      • avatarHJ says

        Wales IS a Principality and no Welshman minds it being described as what it is.

        I’m part-Welsh and I can assure you of this.

        In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for this to be referred to in the name of Welsh businesses, for example, The Principality Building Society.

  3. avatarLisa says

    An important distinction to make about the “It rains all the time” stereotype is that this idea is perpetuated by the Brits themselves. They take great pleasure in whinging about the weather.

    Most Brits tend to believe they have the worst weather on the planet when in fact its very mild and pleasant compared to most parts of the United States. By far the most common question/comment I get when people meet me is “Oh, you must hate the weather here.” Most people I meet assume any other place must be paradise compared to Northern England.

  4. avatarSusan says

    My husband always says he’s from London (even though he has lived other places longer). Most people ask where specifically he is from in England to be conversational (or to appear “well travelled”) and he has found it just easier to say London as most people don’t know where any other place is…At times he even just throws in “yes, I AM from Australia!”… If he knows someone is from the UK or has travelled extensively in the UK then he goes into specifics. But all in all it’s much easier to say London as he has lived so many places in England and everyone knows where it is (which I wouldn’t doubt after so many “where are you from’s” by Americans they just find it easier to say London). I wonder if that is why everyone thinks every Englishman/woman is from London. LOL

    • avatarDerpy says

      Haha, yeah I always tell Americans I live in London. This is due to originating from a small town they will never have heard of which is close to London. It’s easier to say London than to explain.

  5. avatar says

    LOL The teeth one annoys me. I may see more beautiful teeth in USA as braces are much more common, but I also see more rotten teeth,…. as lack of dental care also seems more common. Along with Mountain Dew!

    Another one you missed…. everyone in UK waits 4 years to see a doctor and then dies of a broken arm. :-)

    The revolutionary war one is quite funny. My American husband tries to get me on that all the time The British are Coming! The British are Coming!
    I remind him we spent about 1 lesson learning about it in history at school. We had too many victorious wars and a rich history to learn about :-)

    • avatarChris says

      A WHOLE lesson!? That’s more than I ever got. Everything I’ve learnt about the American Revolution has been through US TV shows.

    • avatarErin says

      Re: “Bad Teeth”

      When I lived in England I was informed that the Brits do not put fluoride in their tap water like we do in the States, so that’s one reason for potentially less-than-perfect teeth. Also, many Americans want to mimic Hollywood celebrities, so they get their teeth whitened, straightened, capped or whatever else they can afford.

      All of that said, I didn’t notice much of a difference in teeth between younger folks in Britain and the U.S., so I would guess that orthodontia is equally important to more modern generations. In addition to it being a “generational” issue, I think it also depends upon the importance a community places on dental health (i.e. rural farming areas probably don’t consider it as important as urban, industrialized areas), and on an individual’s or family’s wealth (despite socialized healthcare).

      Also, in response to a Brit’s comment about how she sees “more rotten teeth in the US than the UK” — I don’t agree with that statement, but if she has indeed seen many Americans with rotten teeth, then she probably lives in one of the many urban areas in which addiction to methamphetamines is a huge problem. My grandfather, who grew up during the Great Depression and smoked heavily his entire life, was wearing dentures by the time I was born (it always creeped me out when he took them out!). I didn’t think there was a need for dentures anymore until an long-time friend of mine, who had claimed he had a tooth-and-gum disease, finally admitted to his addiction to meth, then had ALL of his teeth pulled (they were rotted black) and was fitted with dentures, until he could pay for a “real” set of teeth.

      • avatarmartyn notman says

        we do now fluorinate the water! have done for about 25 years actually. The reason most people dont have the perfect teeth of our american cousins is that getting hold of a dentist can be tricky if you live in a big city…waiting lists are common- and also because most people couldnt really care less if they have slightly wonky teeth.

    • avatarTroy Evangelista says

      “The British are coming!” is a myth about America that is worth debunking. That phrase was never said by Paul Revere, William Dawes, or Samuel Prescott (the three men who made “the midnight ride” on April 18th, 1775). It was also never said by Israel Bissell who similarly made the much longer ride from Boston to Philadelphia, alerting everyone to the outbreak of war. Up until that point, and even after it for many, everyone in the colonies were British citizens. Records from that time clearly indicate that even some of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States initially did not want to declare independence but were hopeful to find a way to convince King George III to treat colonists the same as British citizens back “home” in England. It wasn’t until the King declared the members of the “Continental Congress” traitors in 1776 that these same men drafted a “Declaration of Independence”.

  6. avatarEdward Green says

    I think a lot of Brits feel about teeth as most people feel about faces – that too symmetrical and perfect looks artificial.

    I am not sure it is a misconception so much, but Brits have a different approach to faith and religion. I am a Church of England (The Established State Church) Priest and in the community I live in probably 60-70% of people might describe themselves as ‘Church of England’ and come to me for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals, but I would expect to see them in Church no more than once or twice a year. Religion is often considered a taboo subject in polite conversation.

    • avatarAgatha Bagwash says

      My mother had to have false teeth, much to her chagrin. She saved up to go to an expensive dentist because she wanted teeth with tiny imperfections, like a slight gap etc. She didn’t want them to look like a row of China cups. Ironically, that’s the look Americans prefer

      • avatarPamela says

        I was born in Yorkshire but moved to Canada as a child. I do remember realizing that people in England did have poor dental hygiene compared to the level of teeth cleaning in Canada. I also know Brits of a certain age seem to wear dentures more than their Canadian counterparts. My sisters and I have excellent teeth which my mother maintained was the result of extra rationing for pregnant women during and after the war.

  7. avatarJo says

    Hehe great post,) i think i might have one of the WORST English accents (a Black Country accent) it’s not attractive believe me. And it’s true that the revolutionary war thing doesnt bother us. And you’re right, it could rain at almost any time (usually when i don’t have my brolly because it looked like it WOULDN’T rain…) The Manu one.. I decided which football team i would support while at primary school. Aged about 8. Quite late really! We all were divided pretty much between two teams. Man United if you were a rotten glory-hunter;-) or Aston Villa if you weren’t! And with the exeption of a few Walsall fans (and a Leeds FANATIC) we all chose between Villa or Manu and we were arch-enemies,) my brother supports Manu and I’m an Aston Villa fan although now i’m in my mid 20’s i must admit i’m not into football as much as i used to be (except for when England play) and yet i still hold a resentment for Man United that i can’t seem to shift! :-D very strange. Thank you for this wonderful site, keep it up xx

    • avatarMark says

      On the football team topic, most people who aren’t glory hunters support the local team. there are 92 professional english football teams 20 of which are in the premier league. to engage in a football based conversation can be risky as passions are high and most dont like it when americans call it soccer

  8. avatarJo says

    P.S on the subject of football i just watched England lose to France 2-1 :-( gutted. (saw it on telly i wasnt there) only a friendly match thankfully. Well…if its ever ‘friendly’ between us!

    • avatar says

      Not on your Nelly Paul mate, we Scots simply do not want to be governed from Westminster, we can govern ourselves and all the propaganda coming out of London saying Scotland wont cope financially is scare mongering because London and England knows that they will be in trouble financially if Scotland goes its own way. I do not like they way the English people are deceived by telling them Scotland sponges of the UK econamy, total lies and it makes Scots even more determined to go it alone. With all that being said Britain is a family and Scotland as an independant country will always back you up in a fight so long as it’s a just fight.

      • avatartitch says

        As far as I’m concerned Scotland can go gain their independence. Our prescription charges might go down again. I haven’t needed to buy medication for a while, it’s what, nearly £8? What do you pay in Scotland? Nothing. Because we pay for yours. Like your free uni education along with many other things. You moan about paying more than us but don’t realise you get more than us. We can’t have a say on how your country is ran, but you can on us. Do you think that’s fair? I don’t. So please, vote for independence. And as you say, we’ll always back each other up.

  9. avatarGreg says

    Nice list.
    Im from London myself so the first two are true about me lol.
    The Ice one was a bit weird, I think it depends how good the barmen are, they always have ice but they may forget to put it in. Just ask :).
    I like Tony Blair, although I moaned about when he was prime minister now he has gone a say he done a good job (Typical Londoner).

    Concerning the last one I honestly think most british people dont mind saying that America saved our “asses” in world war 2 because in truth they did.
    Its just that Americans who tend to say that act as if we were bent over waiting for the Germans which we all know is wrong.

    • avatarDave Errington says

      I do agree with your comments about having our ‘asses kicked’ etc. & being told that the U.S.A. joined us in fighting Nazi Germany. The truth of the matter is forgotten by our American Allies – Germany declared war on America, not vice versa. The U.S Government reused to join until that time.

    • avatarChris says

      The US wasn’t some super hero in WW2. They were the straw that broke the Nazi camel’s back though! The truth is that all of the Allies were vital to the war effort. We shouldn’t criticise the US’ contribution, but they shouldn’t overstate it either.

    • avatarRJK says

      I know my response is awfully old but the ice thing is sort of true… but only when it comes to coffee and tea. I’ve been to several coffee shops all over the UK, because I’m a hopeless addict and cannot go more than 24 hours without caffeine, and if you asked for an iced coffee you will get anything ranging from amusement to confusion to belligerence to “sorry, we don’t have ice”. The only exception to this so far has been a Starbucks in London.

    • avatartitch says

      America saved our asses? Like hell they did!! I’m one British person who does mind. I find it offensive to all those who contributed in beating the Nazi’s. Not forgetting that we went through the blitz and stopped them from invading us. Truth is (no offence to any Americans) America was jealous of our Empire and planned to invade Canada, knowing we could do nothing at the time had they gone through with it. It took them so long to get involved with the war because they wanted to see who was winning. That’s the truth. Yes they played their part and was a huge help when we needed weapons. In fact we not long finished paying them back.

      • avatarTovaristch says

        The US didn’t join the war because we had nothing to fight with. Our military had been gutted by the great depression. Our army was small and anemic, and our air and naval forces were obsolete. We did the best we could, as soon as we could, while fighting simultaneously in the Pacific. If the lion’s share of the victory over Germany goes to any country, it goes to Russia. The Red Army killed 3 out of every 4 Germans lost to the war, and they went it alone until the western allies landed at Sicily. Compared to the fight the Soviets gave Hitler, the west was doing little more than tickling his ass with a feather.

  10. avatarsazzrah says

    Gotta disagree about the fact we hate Germany. I think we have a more tenuous relationship with the French – but not in any serious political sense, just the national mood is that the French are the No.1 nation we love to hate way above the Germans – I hate to say it but we probably look less favourably on the Americans than the Germans too.

    I think generally we’re somewhat indifferent and possibly philosophical about the Germans and our wartime history. Whereas the French just get on our tits! Only thing greater about winning the 2012 Olympic bid was seeing the reaction to the news in Paris – glorious victory. xD

    • avatarStewart says

      Another sweeping generalisation. Most people I know don’t hate the French or the Germans. Nor do they hate Europe, although it is fair to say there are a growing number who are getting rather tired of the notion that England is Britain and that we all think the same way. We are a multinational state, with all the differences in attitudes and beliefs that implies.

  11. avatarAlexis says

    When my husband and I were living in America (I’m American, he’s English), I always found it really hillarious how upon finding out that my husband is English and from London, anyone who claimed to know someone from London would then ask him if he knew their friend. They would ask this is though London is a town of 5,000 and that damn-near everyone knows everyone. And I can’t even count how many people asked this stupid question. Hillarious and annoying at the same time.

    But I do have to say that a lot of the time the myth about all Brits being from London is perpetuated by the British! 9 times out of 10, when I’ve asked a Brit where they’re from they’ll say London. And about half the time, they’re FROM somewhere else, but they live in London. I’ve found this to be especially true among folks from the west-country who move to London, ditch their accent for a more mainstream one and then try to pretend as though they’re not from the west.

    • avatarFez says

      Alexis, i was once travelling in Italy and met a Greek woman. We were chatting and i happened to mention that i had grown up in Massachusetts. I actually grew up in a small rural town in the very western part of Massachusetts, but i never mentioned that.

      So she says ‘Oh, you live in Massachusetts? Maybe you know my cousin?’

      i pretty much thought, sure, i bet i do. But said ‘Maybe, what’s his name?’ She told me, and it turned out to be a guy i went to school with from primary school through university.

      So you never know, weird things do happen.

    • avatarLaurel says

      The England/London thing is a problem with any big city. If you say you’re from New York (state) the reaction you get is “Oh, I’ve been to New York, it’s a great city” Nevermind the fact that I actually live near Albany which is actually the state capital and several hours from “the city”. I think the same is true of Massachusetts, not everyone is from Boston and pahks their cah in hahvad yahd

    • avatar says

      I am from Liverpool and would never tell anyone I was from London. My football team is Liverpool, in the states people ask where I am from and then their comment is ‘O I’m English” never been near the place. On the bus there was one lady who was always commenting about her English background, like Henry V111 is a relative, another asked me where I was from and then told me he knew all accents and he knew I was from Arkansas! All the Brits like to joke about the weather, I have a lot of good answers for the American know it all. First time here I was told all about the way Americans went over to Britain and fought, they were really put out when I told them Americans never fought on British soil they went to Europe. Its fun to listen to them.

    • avatar says

      The best place to get Fish n Chips is in the Scottish part because we use Fish caught that same very day, the little seaside towns are best for it.

    • avatar says

      I understand your point, we have the same trouble with people thinking Scotland is in England. Ignorance has caused so much bloodshed throughout history. Get your facts straight guys before you get in trouble with the natives

  12. avatarStephen Humphreys says

    The stuff about Europe is slightly wrong.
    We hate the EU – *not* Europe.
    The EU is a political entity we (most of us) don’t want to be part of. Europe is a geographical area we have no choice in being a member of (we’re in the continent of Europe) and are ok with.

    A lot of us quite like Europe and travelling around it. The politicians sold us a lie years ago about setting up a free market. Now its got to a point that more and more laws are moved from the oldest democratic parliament in the world to a group of people who cannot submit non-fradulent accounts. I hope this make sense!

  13. avatarAlex says

    I stumbled on this site whilst browsing through Top Gear reviews. I’m a Brit, (from Wigan, a town in the North of England very close to Manchester) and I was suitably impressed by your list of myth-busting facts – they’re very astute!

    Regarding the “We’re all Man United fans” one, a little ‘fact’ that will get you some kudos over here is that people who live in Manchester usually DO NOT support Manchester United (or so the stereotype goes, anyway).

    In fact, it is much more likely to be Manchester City (also a top level football club). The running gag is something along the lines of “Where can you find a United fan? Anywhere but Manchester…”

    As other posters have said, we have a funny old relationship with Europe but I think you would have to look very hard to find any anti-German sentiments here nowadays; it just doesn’t exist.

    We do love to laugh at the strange ways of our French ‘cousins’ and they laugh just as much at our eccentric behaviour. Funnily enough this means that the UK and France get on rather well!

    Oh and about dental habits, I have slightly crooked teeth. I was offered a brace when younger and chose not to. It doesn’t bother me or alter my personality in anyway and I brush and floss regularly, so it is purely a cosmetic thing. Personally I find I take people with perfect, dazzling white teeth a little less seriously. You know, the ones that take it way too far…

    For the record, I’m a Wigan Athletic fan… :-)

  14. avatarDave says

    I promise not to post about things I know nothing about — Manchester United, or even American football — if you promise not to address topics like WWII, which fall into the same category for you. ;-)

    The fact is, by the fall of 1940, the British had already stopped the Germans from invading, and Britain would likely have stayed non-occupied by the Germans for the duration. So it’s possible we didn’t save them from the Germans (even if you discount our supplying Britain non-stop by sea from the beginning), but there’s no debating that we saved Britain and all of western Europe from being occupied by the Soviets. (Then again, London at times of year does seem like a Moscow suburb, but let’s face it — all those Russian girls are very easy on the eyes. So maybe it’s OK after all.)

    I absolutely love Britain and its people, I love living overseas, and I wasn’t even born in America, so take this simply for what it’s worth. WWII was indeed won by America, and the Brits I know have no doubts about that, even if you do.

    Dave

    • avatarIan says

      To an extent, both are wrong. The Russians took one hell of a hit, diverting Nazi resources to the Eastern front and losing millions of people in the process.

      It took the US, UK, and Russia to defeat the Axis powers and Japan. I guess the reason why Brits and Russians feel more strongly about it is because we were both attacked and bombed with heavy civilian casualties.

  15. avatarMichael says

    Jonathan,

    I agree with you 100%. Many Americans have ridiculous notions about the English. I have always had a fondness for all things British, so I know a thing or two about British history, culture, etc.

    However I will say that the 1st time I went to London I didn’t find the “Londoners” the most friendly, but they weren’t any different than the average New Yorker. And before any New Yorker gets offended I am a native New Yorker and many of us can be lets say “not so friendly”. But I loved London and can’t wait to return. I also loved Buckinghamshire.

    I have friends that are English and they also had notions about us that were pretty stereotypical. I guess we all have notions about cultures until we have personal experiences with them.

    Regards,
    Michael

    • avatar says

      Come to Scotland mate, we are the most down to earth race and will tell someone if they are being an a*****e. Stuck up people we cannot abide.

  16. avatarAndrew says

    I’m British (and proud to be so), and the most common false American myths about Britain I’ve heard are that everyone here knows the Queen, and that we all live in London. Allow me set state a few facts.

    The population of the United Kingdom is just over 60 million. The population of London (including the inner boroughs) is about 7 1/2 million.

    The ‘British Isles’ comprises of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The United Kingdom is comprised of the 4 countries; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. ‘Great Britain’ refers only to England, Wales and Scotland.

    Another myth I’ve heard people claim (although it might be an old one) is that Brits drink warm beer. I find this quite strange, and I’ll just say I’ve never seen anyone drink a beer that hasn’t been chilled.

    • avatarSue says

      Andrew, of course we drink warm beer! The bitter served via the handpumps is not chilled – perhaps you are thinking of the lager beer that is served in bottles or cans?

      • avatarHJ says

        It’s not warm (or shouldn’t be) – just cellar cool rather than chilled.

        Would you chill a bottle of claret? No, but you would drink it at cellar temperature. It’s exactly the same idea.

    • avatarBenny says

      I’m American (not so proud to be so) I really don’t care about any wars. They were before my time it didn’t have anything to do with me. I would like to kick my ancestor in the seat for moving over here. I’d like to kick the next one in line too for not going back! I don’t follow any football American or what ever. They don’t interest me! I know everyone can’t know the Queen over there. Can you imagine. She’d probably kill over from exhaustion.

      Your schools are better than ours. I love cold weather and not so much sun so your climate would be perfect for me. Your petro is quite expensive though. But your cars get better gas mileage. The people are friendlier. I’d say if I was to move or buy a vacation home over there it would probably be in Streetly, Sutton Coldfield.

      It’s true that most Americans drink their beer ice cold. Pansies only drink it that cold.

      • avatar says

        I am from Glasgow, Scotland (fyi neither of which is in England) but lived in Sutton Coldfield for 6 months and quite frankly i just wanted back home to my own people.

      • avatarBarbara says

        Actually, if you think WW II doesn’t matter to you or affect you in anyway, your school and your parents have failed you greatly. Hitler wanted to take over the world, Franco,Stalin, Tojo and Mussolini were monsters, 6 million + people were slaughtered, and a hell of a lot of people died so you can live the way you do today. I think someone needs a visit to the Holocaust Museum. My kids are 18 and 22 and they are very aware of US as well as world history.

        • avatarTovaristch says

          Benny’s comment is very typical. The average American under the age of about 40 couldn’t tell you what century WWII was fought during, what countries fought, why they fought, or who won. Many Americans, including college-degreed, would not be able to find the United States on an unlabeled map of the world. This is not an exaggeration. Collectively, we are a very self-absorbed and ignorant people.

  17. avatarChronos says

    I’ve drunk plenty of Beer that hasn’t been chilled (much) as it has other qualities, , , taste.
    The Man U thing is a strange thing. There are Man U fans in Manchester, My brother in law is one of them but there are many more elsewhere, happily most are weak minded spotty little herberts in playgrounds and will if under the influence of any decent parent grow out of it. Whilst it may be excuseable to support a team you will hardly ever see if you were unlucky enough to be born in a town/city with no football team.( These people if brought up properly should really pick some underdog to support) For anyone else however, supporting a team because they are successful is akin those who were in favour of “The New Germany” in the late thirties. a sign of foppery, base cowardice and is DAMNED UNBRITISH! any man who doesn’t support his local team, or no team at all, is unworthy of the title.

  18. avatarfgbnm says

    A small point, if you’re British, your football team should NEVER be a choice. It should be inherited from your family or you should support your local team. Manchester United are therefore hated by many accross the country, since they have the largest contingent of modern armchair supporters. For you Yanks I suppose it is a choice, but as the article says, buy a Man U shirt if you don’t mind being loved and hated in equl measure.

  19. avatarIain says

    The WW2 one is the most irritating one I hear from Americans. The Wehrmacht was possibly the strongest army in the world (to that date) and it took the combined forces of the three world superpowers of the time (USA, Soviet Union & the British Empire) along with all their allies just to stop them. I don’t know how team games are played in the USA, but here when a game is over and a player walks round saying they “saved the team’s asses” he’s generally not very popular with the rest of the team.

    Personally I love the Germans and the French, despite having lost family members in both world wars. It’s not personal, and a lot of Brits do feel a deep kinship with Europeans because we’ve operated on the same world stage so long, and share a common “old world” psyche.

    I can tell you off the top of my head a few facts about most American states, but most Brits probably couldn’t. So I wouldn’t feel bad about not knowing where our minor towns and cities are located. Countries is probably something you should know though.

    I never supported a football team. I come from a cricket county, and we always saw football as something you played in the winter to keep fit rather than a real sport :P

    We fought in the last two American wars because America asked us to, not because we particularly wanted to. Afghanistan especially was a sense of “they hurt our friend, we have to help”. That attitude is still held by many, but was unfortunately tarnished by the opportunism in invading Iraq.

    Finally on the revolutionary war- the UK abandoned the 13 colonies way back when because we didn’t have the men to force them to stay in the empire, and (at the time) our holdings in the west indies were far more important. Later as America developed into a valuable trading partner, we came to view them as we would any other world power where British interests lie. Nowadays, I doubt anyone really thinks about it. What they call the “white colonies”- North America/Australia/NZ – are like seeds of British culture which developed independently and thus enriched the world as a whole, and we’re not resentful of their achievements at all. It’s nice that we all try to stick together even now.

    best,

    • avatarBob the Brit says

      I like the article except for one thing –the US DID save their asses in WWII. Thats why Churchill said “the new world will help the old world” he knew that the situation was getting bad. It was the US and Russia (30 million russion troops died fighitng the nazis) who saved the british. sorry mates deal with it.

      • avatarHJ says

        It’s true that Britain never would have had the army resources to defeat the axis powers on its own (Britain had a population of 45 million versus Germany 70m plus Italy also around 45m). However, the same is almost certainly true of any other individual allied power. Remember that the Russians received a huge amount of materiel support from Britain.

        However, in other respects, Britain was well able to match or exceed Germany. We had the world’s most sophisticated integrated air defence system and better aircraft. We were also a – the – world naval superpower. No other country (including the US) even came close in naval power – this is often forgotten.

        The American contribution was huge, of course, and meant that ultimately there could only be one outcome. Even more significant than American soldiers in Europe was the US’s sheer production capacity. But the US on its own could not have beaten the Nazis – most troops on D-Day were British, most bombs dropped on Germany were British, German cryptographic systems were broken by Britain (not forgetting the initial vital Polish contribution), the cavity magnetron was British and even the atomic bomb, although a true international collaboration, only came about as a result of the British MAUD report (that showed it was feasible).

        Britain and the US were allies – and neither could have beaten the Nazis without the other. Neither would the USSR have been able to do it on its own.

        • avatarBaggins says

          Thank you for clarifying the WWII relationship between UK and US….To those in US who say “we saved the war for Britain”, I agree that without the manufacturing strength of the US, and their ability to be on the other side of the world and have both the time and resources to enter the war conveniently. However, the US emerged as the new world superpower and Britain, well, didn’t. Rationing was still a part of daily life in the 50’s for Britain, while the US was busy creating the new empire of consumerism. How uneven the scale….US entered the war, thus ending great depression, without a homeground battle, unscathed, and richest country in the world. Britain, however the economy went from bad to worse, endured Battle of Britain, the Blitz, make do and mend and keep smiling. I love and respect all of you Brits, and wish with all my heart I was born in the UK, not the US.

          Keep smiling!

          • avatarDave Cramb says

            FYI the US did not help Britain in the war, we paid for everything we had of the Americans, under the “Lend Lease” scheme. it took us until the 1990’s to pay that debt off. There are still hundreds of US bases in Britain on 99 year leases. Part of the terms of this assistance was that we dismantle our empire, starting with India, the “Jewel”, meaning that it would leave the US as the sole, un damaged Superpower, after the war. Having said this, it is true that mainland Europe could not have been liberated without the huge resources, both in manpower and equipment, that the US had at its disposal. We owe a hugh debt of thanks to all those servicemen who served, and fell, fighting for our freedom, whether they were from the US, the Commonwealth, or were Free forces from occupied Europe.

      • avatar says

        The US would have been horrifically defeated in WWII had they just charged in, guns blazing. It was the British tacticians that even made D-Day remotely possible. Lookup operation ‘overlord’ – made possible only by ‘operation bodyguard’. Americans didn’t have much grasp on the idea of Deception before that.

      • avatarBonnie says

        No, the US didn’t win the war. It was a team effort even though the US stood around watching until the last minute. What irks me the most is an American looking down his nose saying,”We saved their asses!” I wonder what might have happened if America came in earlier. And before you shake your head thinking I’m saying this because the British are in denial, I’m American. This viewpoint on the war is (unfortunately) typical of Americans.

        America did some great things in the war and certainly played a large part in the outcome. But Britain did some amazing things without a lot of help, even if it was just surviving for all those years it took us to join in.

        All I can say is, read about the war. You’ll find out some amazing things (like rationing on some items didn’t end until the mid-50s!).

      • avatar says

        Winston Churchill had the foresight to see Hitlers plan to take over the world (including America) he warned the Americans many times that they were at risk of being attacked and America sat on their a***s twirling their fingers not knowing what to do whilste us brits kept fighting. If we Brits gave up fighting and the Nazis succeeded in taking the whole of Europe it would have made them invincable and America would have crumbled once the Nazis reached the shores of america

        • avatarKPOM says

          Not really. We’d have just fought a 50 year Cold War against Germany rather than a 45-year Cold War against the USSR. We’d still have developed the A-bomb first. Unfortunately we’d probably have had to use it more than twice.

          • avatarRhobet Simmons says

            It was a lot of factors that created the horror of the A-bomb, not least of which was German scientists working in America!

            It does not matter who had what, when; the fact remains that it was a team effort (including the USSR) to defeat the Nazis.

  20. avatarHannah says

    I’m American and I didn’t believe any of those things. (I am one of the few who doesn’t though…)

    Hooray for being a well educated teenager!

  21. avatarZak says

    Cool post, I’m English and have never understood where some of these came from. The bad teeth for example, its not something I’v ever really noticed.

    Having no ice is a new one on me, I’ve yet to go to a bar that dosen’t have ice tbh.

    Everyone living in London makes me laugh a little, especially when you consider how strong the whole North/South divide is (not in a hostile way but its definitely there).

    It has always annoyed me when people say “we saved your asses in the war”, not only is it a gross oversimplification but its usually a comment made by teenagers who where born decades after the war ended.

    The civil war thing is something I noticed as well, I never had any lessons on it in school, I can understand why its a big deal in American history but its simply never been considered an issue over here.

    I have no issue with Americans, lets be honest we have just as many stereotypes about you guys than you do about us. Its the way life is.

  22. avatarDavid says

    I would disagree with one point made, i know of no english under 60 who look back on the empire with pride. those of the boomer generation with some kind of guilt and younger people something in the past that probably wasn’t the best idea. comments are made about screwing parts of the world up.

    • avatar says

      Purely anecdotal. I know many, inclusive of myself, who are still proud of the achievements of the Empire, and of the Commonwealth.

    • avatar says

      I am proud of the Empire, for me it was not about Conquest of the world, these Countries we took, we civilised, and every citizen of the Commonwealth has the right to come live in Britain.

  23. avatarOaklander says

    “They Hate All Immigrants

    No, they hate ILLEGAL immigrants. There’s a huge distinction there. You’d be surprised how open Britain is to integrating foreigners into British society.”

    Unfortunately, this is not true:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12362464

    By the way, the recent decision by the government to scrap Tier 1 visas was a reflection of this general dislike of immigration.

    • avatarA'Tuin says

      The Brits don’t dislike immigration per se. What they have problem with is a country that is becoming increasingly unable to house the population it already has, is becoming increasingly unable to provide employment for the population it already has, and increasingly unable to maintain the welfare services for the population it already has.

      With a long documented history of immigration, from the Romans onwards, and an even longer one before that, we are a country that has grown and thrived because of immigration. Brits who claim to be so proud of their “Anglo-Saxon” heritage would do well to remember that the Angles and the Saxons were immigrants as well.

  24. avatarEmma says

    As a Brit I always carry an umbrella. My dad tells a cracking story about when his own father first moved to England from Guyana. It was summer, the weather was fantastic, hot and sunny so he went out in a cotton shirt, the weather of course changed and he got drenched and very cold. In fact the same thing happened to me when an aunt took me to the cinema when I was a child. It was great weather when we went to the cinema, but pouring with rain when we left.
    As for British dislike of immigration, that’s the vocal Daily Mail reading public who, quite frankly, are a bunch of scared cretins, most people really don’t care. As long as they are here legally, are law abiding and pay their taxes, I couldn’t care less where a person was from.

  25. avatarOliver Chettle says

    The point about the Empire isn’t right at all. Most British people avoid thinking about it. It is far less of a presence in contemporary British culture than it is in most of the ex-colonies. Just about the only people who do think about it are immigrants from the ex-colonies, and self-hating white liberal academics.

  26. avatarmoboy78 says

    I’d like to point out that WW1 would have lasted longer if us Americans hadn’t come in. Heck, the Germans may have won!

  27. avatarRon says

    I thought I was the biggest Anglophile, I love finding this website!

    I got the chance to go to London for 10 days last Christmas. I had waited my whole life to go, and just listen to the conversations in the street and with the shopkeepers. I was shocked to find Indians running my hotel, Polish family running the restaurant around the corner, French guys running a gift shop, Greeks running another, all of them with thick accents having just arrived in the last year (I asked them). I’m not a xenophobe, I guess I was living in a fantasy that everyone there would be born British. I expected, the cast of My Fair Lady and Gavin and Stacy to populate the city. Silly me! It’s like a Brit coming to America and thinking we are all going to be wearing cowboy hats and have gun racks in our pick-up trucks… Yehaw! : )

    The myth I SEE here in America is that the British are impossible to understand. I only know of 2 people who will watch anything British, all my other friends say they can’t understand what’s being said. I have even seen Brits interviewed on TV and them putting captions on the screen. The people speaking sound more like Tony Blair than a cabbie in Hackney. CRAZY!

  28. avatarKat says

    What a brilliant site! I’m British with lots of anglophile friends from all over the world but I think the myths are global and not just found in the US.

    The one about bad teeth was hysterical and global, I have to say I think the big issue there is I don’t know anybody here (UK) that would judge someone by the state of their teeth!! Its pretty low on the list of important personal qualities and attributes and anybody who has the nerve to make a personal remark about something as superficial as that really aren’t worth knowing!

    The weather is a social equalizer in Britain, it annoys and amuses everybody, so for a Brit to start a conversation about it is generally a good sign and an opener for further conversation (in other words – I like you, lets talk!), it is unpredictable and the usual advice is to plan your day by doing the opposite of what the weather forecast advises, every weather report differs from the other over here!

    I’ve never lived in London, I’m from ‘oop nawth’ yet every American I’ve met has asked me “what’s it like living in London?”! I agree it is easier to say you’re from there as you end up explaining for half an hour the geography of the UK! To me the best thing about London is the sightseeing but the people can be really rude and arrogant, its a city of business and go-getters in some stupid rat race so if you want to avoid that I’d scope around because as a whole Brits are very welcoming to visitors, I’m selling York here – come to York!!
    There is a misconception about immigrants and again it depends literally in which pin prick on the map you are in. There are a small minority (thankfully small) that are bigotted and close minded but luckily they are a dying breed and most comments made about nationality are done in tongue and cheek humour. Really anybody who pays taxes and earns a living are welcome with open arms, i think asylum seekers have had a bad press and been classed as being illegal, I’ve worked with asylum seekers and to learn they have had to literally flee their country for their lives is a big lesson in tolerance that a few people here have still to learn. Illegal immigrants are resented as they recieve benefits worth more than pensioners get. And to close I think war is a subject that is accepted in jest and conversation, and the best way to kill a monster is to laugh at it, one of my Grandad’s pet sayings as a soldier was literally ‘ Americans coming here thinking they can take our women’ even during the event there was a healthy level of humour attached to it and I know he respected the American/Allies infantry he fought with and vice versa. Recent events are different as the general concensus is that Iraq was illegal and should never have been allowed to happen, basically lessons from WW2 were totally ignored and in this day and age war should be a thing firmly in the past. Brits can handle jokes about ourselves and our culture/history, because you can be sure we’ll have a comeback in the air quicker than you can say ‘Gee double-yuh’!

  29. avatarMullet says

    Definitely agree we don’t hate Europe, and as a previous poster mentioned we prefer to hate the EU. This is perpetuated by the tabloid press, which 99% of the time prints ill-informed stories about dictating the shape of bananas and other bureaucracy.

    The single burning issue for Brits is the belief we are a small nation with no room or money left. The flood of low skilled workers from new EU member states in the East of Europe has made this view popular. They are far from illegal immigrants, and perfectly entitled to be here, which is deeply resented against a backdrop of huge youth/general unemployment. This is causing problems for our working classes and skilled manual workers, and straining our public finances. Our location in the far North-West of Europe, the NHS, and a very accommodating benefit system have also made us the ‘promised land’ for asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and beyond (Iraq and Afghanistan to name but two – the result of wars nobody wanted here). It’s become a political weapon for the right wing political parties to exploit, and it’s not uncommon to find otherwise respectable Brits repeating very unsavoury rhetoric about Europe and immigrants in general, legal or otherwise. There has been noticeable growth for racist parties in the UK over the last decade.

    I think it’s probably fair to say it’s many British people’s aspiration to leave the UK for Europe or Australia/NZ for a better lifestyle. I’m leaving for France this year, and although people may ask why I’m at this website at all, I find it fascinating that people would love the lifestyle in England. Anecdotally, most of my friends and colleagues would leave tomorrow given the chance – it’s a common view (in Greater London & South East England especially) that the UK is unbearably crowded, expensive, work-centric, materialistic, and suffering from a general decline in family cohesion, public services, and general living standards. Our young and old are incredibly isolated and marginalised by enormous house prices and lack of family/community support respectively. It’s a nation in terminal decline I’m afraid. Sorry for the long and depressing post! ;).

    • avatarJanet says

      Yeah Mullet, it was long and depressing. I think you’d better go if that’s how you feel. I live in the North of England and I don’t know of anyone who’s raring to leave. I lived in Australia as a teenager and believe me, the grass isn’t greener. In fact it’s definately er browner……

    • avatarPete says

      Mullet. I am guessing that you are young enough to leave and to work abroad. I did in the 70s for some 20 years worked in 5 countries and visited 32, and had the best time of my life, but many people are now battering the walls down (figuratively) to enter the UK, for thanks to the generous benefits, (who else would allow a Muslim to preach hatred against the country he is living in, and who pays him benefits for him and his family)? This was the case under the Labour Government and eventually spent and wasted so much that it made the recession we have had, worse than it could have been. Have a great time if you go, it must be harder now to find work.

  30. avatarFred says

    Good post!

    Just a couple of comments though… Americans really do have this view that other countries envy the US$. That may be true in Cambodia and Bolivia, but the Brits really don’t care. Plus, the British Pound has typically been worth over $1.50 for the past few decades… I always thought of the US$ as inferior due to its lesser value.

  31. avatarCharlotte says

    Great article! I’m British and have spent a lot of time over the years chatting to folks in the US online. The best ‘Myth’ I ever had to put right came from a chap in Long Island. He honestly thought that Nottingham (where I live) was imaginary, invented by Disney for the Robin Hood film.

    • avatarMinerva says

      Laugh? I nearly fell off the sofa…………….never mind Nottingham being imaginary, what would the guy make of the fact that I live down the road from Sherwood Forest?????
      Perhaps Americans think that if we exist at all we all wear green tights (er…pantyhose???), rob people & live in trees!

    • avatar says

      After reading Robin Hood, in the old English at * years old, I became interested in finding out about where it was and it was my lifelong dream to someday visit there. That won’t happen for reasons I won’t go into, but I did make myself learn the difference between England, the UK, and Great Britain. My knowledge of the geography is a little fuzzy, but at least if i want to find out things nowdays there’s google maps. Any I love my beer at warmer temperatures and a couple of my favorites are Black and Tan and Newcastle.

  32. avatarDavid says

    Great list, particularly the thing about the Revolutionary War. Although when I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath I did meet quite a few cabbies who loved to ask me how things were in “the colonies.” :)

  33. avatarRJKL says

    Here is what I (as an American) have noticed:
    – We tend to use “British” and “English” interchangeably (I’m guilty of this myself because all of the Brits I know are English, so it’s an easy trap to fall into).
    – It is rarely recognized that there are more than one, maybe two, British accents. Yes, we know about Scotland, but to us, they aren’t “British” (see #1). When pushed, we might acknowledge that the Beatles spoke a little funny ;)
    – We have no idea what Wales is. Most probably think it’s a town or county, possibly in England, maybe in Ireland. Or maybe it’s imaginary, like Nottingham (that comment really made my day, by the way!)
    – Because of how large and spread out our country is, our attitudes over distance are like night and day. I was insufferably teased by a Lancastrian friend of mine because, due to their proximity, I thought Bolton was a suburb of Manchester ;)
    – We do not get football. I think the whole clinging to Manchester United thing is our attempt to make it look like we understand what the fuss is about. We don’t.
    – We are absolutely astounded when a Brit can do a passable American accent. Hugh Laurie has been spoken about in hushed tones since it came out that he’s not actually from here ;)
    – When we want something to be considered fancy or superior, we use the British term or spelling. Examples: Duvet (in nice hotels), trousers, centre, theatre, and so forth. This is especially true in the South, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, even though I grew up there.

    Personally, the biggest “myth” I held that was dispelled for me was more that I was just incredibly surprised how different the accents were in towns I considered fairly close together. Again, that distance thing.
    And I never understood why people think British food is bad. Gimme a can of fizzy Vimto and cottage pie and I’m a happy Yank XD

    • avatarBlind-Stag says

      As a proud Boltonian, you can come here anytime. Any man who likes fizzy vimto is alright in my book!

    • avatarThistlefur says

      Thank you, RJKL, for a very insightful and spot-on assessment of views from this side of the pond! Particularly the two points about being astonished with Hugh Laurie and the use of British spelling to indicate superior quality. The best way to market anything with credibility in the US is to use a spokesperson with a British accent. ;)

      And I miss British food with a passion!

  34. avatarSue says

    Interesting article about which a couple of things struck a chord: I can still remember meeting an American couple in Norway when I was 10 who thought my family was Scottish because we came from the North of England. They actually argued with my parents about it!

    I would add another myth though. Unless I am mistaken, I think that Americans believe we have embraced the metric system. We haven’t!! Imperial measurements are still used by young and old alike. We have resisted metric for years and now it is more or less forgotten or at best ignored.

    Also, we call your Revolutionary War the “American War of Independence” but not very often, as it’s not something that we ever think about.

    • avatarMilkeebar says

      I wouldn’t say we Brits haven’t embraced the metric system but instead have kind of a mix of metric & imperial eg, we buy bottles of drink in ml/litres but drink milk & order beers in pints.
      If it’s hot we say the temp in Fahrenheit but if it’s cold we use centigrade (cor it’s a sweltering 90 degrees, brrrr it’s -3).
      This, to be fair, is probably quite confusing to any non-natives.

      • avatarDebbie says

        I absolutely agree with this. Weight? Stones, pounds and ounces. No idea what my weight is in kg. Height? Feet and inches. I’ve only just got used to recipes in metric, but still prefer pounds and ounces any day. I do exactly the same with temperatures too! :D

  35. avatarThe Cream of Manchester says

    Loving the list.

    You’re very right, we absolutely couldn’t give a monkey’s about the American Independence thing. (Although, it would be nice to watch an Alien invasion film where the Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramids of Giza, Taj Mahal and Big Ben don’t get melted in a montage scene before a loving, misunderstood, downhome dad from the midwest saves the world (with help from the US President flying a fighter jet into a spaceship)) anyhoo.

    To our American friends:

    Re: Teeth – they aren’t supposed to glow electric blue in a nightclub. They’ll only draw attention to the dandruff on your black shirt. While,admittedly, they needn’t look like the Manhattan skyline, a bit of variety is quite nice. Non? (see, we even like the French, and their teeth are hewn from mahogany)

    Rain is good. It makes this a green and pleasant land (apart from Doncaster), it never lasts too long, gave us the glorious lake district, and gives us lots of rainbows to “ooh” at. Although, in honesty, its hard to remember this when you’re waiting for a bus in a downpour and you’re missing the beginning of Corrie.

    When in the UK, never, ever, ever even form the word “soccer” in your mind, let alone drop it into conversation with a British person. It’s just wrong. The word you’re scrabbling for is “Football”.

    And as for the Manchester Utd thing. There’s an old hackneyed cliche that most Man Utd fans aren’t from Manchester. Actually, its true. Manchester Utd FOOTBALL (See what I did there? ;) ) Club are followed the world over, so it would be hard for one city to match the population of the globe. However, United are insanely popular in their home city. You may hear some luddites say “Utd don’t even play in Manchester, they play in the city of Salford” (Itself wrong, they play in the Borough of Trafford).

    This is akin to saying Buckingham Palace and Big Ben aren’t in London. (By the way, they aren’t, they’re in the city of Westminster) ie: meaningless pedantry. You should mock these people.

    You may hear the debate about whether Manchester or Birmingham is the UK’s second city. Both theories are incorrect. Mancunians are happy to confirm that London is the nation’s second city. Birmingham is somewhere lower down the list. :)

    Britsh food is often fabulous. Just avoid the chains. Although the Sausage & Egg McMuffin was the greatest gift America ever gave us (including finally turning up (3 years too late) in WWII, but we shan’t dwell on that)

    nb: what’s with the kryptonite-green Mint Jelly/(o) with roast lamb. Is it supplied by Colgate? Grim. No, really, grim. You need some nice vinegary mint sauce…mmmmm. Try it while you’re here.

    To achieve successful acceptance by the British, its wise not too to say (as was said to me by a lady from Boston, Mass in all innocence and numerous tortured vowels) “Don’t you speak funny?”

    Response: “No, love. I’m English and I’m speaking English. Its you who speaks funny.”

    Remember these and the holy grail of befriending a British person:

    “No, honestly, it’s my round”

    And you’ll not go wrong.

    Much love and welcome to Blighty, whenever you come

    • avatar says

      I absolutely love this comment and as a born and bred Manc – apart from a few years in the capital – I totally ‘get’ what you”re on about, Cream of Manchester!

      Very funny – and of course Manchester ranks No. 1 in England. If you have any doubts – watch Corrie then watch East Enders – no contest.

      Oh – and though they’re not strictly from Manchester can we appropriate black puddings for the purposes of this post? I’ve never had one since I was force fed them by my mother as a child ‘they’ll give you lots of iron!!’ – but I seem to remember they are a sort of superior, albeit comical looking – black balls anyone? – sausage.

      Some divine truths.

      Man United! Man United! – that speaks for itself.
      Manchester musicians are cool – Magazine, Oasis, The Smiths, Elbow, Simply Red, New Order – innit!
      There’s nowt like Manchester, nowhere.

      Great topic, great site

  36. avatarMark says

    I was stationed in the UK back in the 1980s and although I liked the idea of living there, I ended up LOVING the UK..I lived 30 miles from my duty station and lived like a Brit as much as I could..(except for my ‘huge refrigerator”)

    I made some mistakes, but I made up for them by buying rounds at the local..

    One thing, Americans assume that other nations know nothing about the US, assuming that other nationals have the same lack of knowledge that Americans do when traveling abroad. Nothing could be further from the truth, so an American really needs to explain very little unless ASKED…

    Just my 2 cents..

    Mark– California

  37. avatarCharlotte says

    I think the main thing that annoys me most, which pretty much everyone who’s never lived in any British country does is refer to us as ‘British’. It’s going to be pretty rare to find anyone British as that involves having English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh heritage. So Typically people are only going to be one, or slightly mixed (I’m half English, half Scottish).

    The whole London thing amuses me too. I was once trying to explain to someone whereabouts I lived, and basically had to end up saying about 100 miles from London to the left. Now though, I just say I’m right at the bottom on the coast and central, they tend to just leave it at that then.

    Also, I don’t think there’s any difference between our teeth. I was born with an underbite and recently someone my boyfriend knows from Virginia was telling me about the operation that she had and I will soon have to go through to correct it as she had the same problem. So really there doesn’t seem to be any difference.

    One thing I did love that she said she’d read is that if she was to wear trainers majority of people would make fun of her, when majority of people wear them over here anyway.

  38. avatarPat says

    If you want to blend in, speak quiertly and avoid Red and large white trainer: ) I was recently inroduced as coming from England in London….Having lived a long time, perceptions change with time but the early remarks stay with you and smart.
    When I first came I was told “Everybody in the world wants to come here”. At that time, this was certainly false. My parents were horrified when I left.
    About teeth, my own and other friends’ are on average in far better condition than Americans’. This myth is due to people who have serious issues thinking of it like the colour of eyes, nothing to lose sleep over. A hugely popular TV star (Esther Rantzen) had very prominent teeth. After she has surgery, all her personality seemed to have left with the teeth!
    You know when you’ve said something wrong in either country when the conversation freezes-as it does with me when somebody mentions the war. I was THERE… Being bombed nightly, friends’ fathers not coming home…Americans did not figure at all in our version of the War. However as the years pass, alterations of the truth by Hollywood has changed the truth worldwide and made us bit players-and we believe it now.!My argument is that Germany may have got to the USA if we hadn’t been their shield, as France was for us. This seriously needs overhaul, like our wonderful work in the Commonwealth,(the education, railways, medicine) now politically besmirched.
    Then there’s the myth that all the world is sitting in comfort while the US has to provide their military protection. Against whom? Nobody in Europe fears invasion these days, neither do we want to invade !
    Another change – besides ice..(why would we need refrigerators when we rarely had hot weather in the past?) is immigration. First resisted, then embraced , then resented when too many came in. I believe Europe is very hospitable and had come to terms with it, until it became politically astute to invent Islam as the biggest threat to humanity. So far the UK has bravely fought this idea, or had at last visit.
    Lastly, the Revolution: While everyone loves to be Irish, German,Italian, along with their ethnic foods, what about the Brits?? Sadly, they and their food ARE American…so they are invisible. I try to get across that the first heroes and settlers were first or second generation Brits, and surely were still torn in allegiances. THAT’S who we were…

  39. avatarTrojan Horus says

    As a Brit who thinks Germany is a wonderful, enviable, first world country we should all be emulating, I can’t agree with the notion we hate Germans… That idea went South several decades ago. I’d frankly rather live in Italy or Germany than UK or US. What’s interesting about Germany’s success is that it is largely based on the ideas Roosevelt wanted to see implemented in the US, but was thwarted in so doing. It’s a shining beacon of what America would have been like if it had continued to elect Presidents like Roosevelt rather than advocates for Corporatism like Reagan and Bush Jnr who oversaw the dessication of labor protections, the mass export of jobs to China and the increasing disparity in wealthiest getting richer at the expense of the poorest.

  40. avatarGeorge says

    I have to warn our American friends about the binge drinking. If you are from the USA you probably associate this kind of behaviour with Homer Simpson, but here it’s been part of the culture since before Britain became part of the Roman Empire about 2000 years ago. The Romans used to complain about the Britons getting drunk and behaving in a lively manner after work and the situation hasn’t changed since then. The ‘Demon Drink’ has a strong hold here and has done for millenia (but that can be tremendous fun!)

  41. avatarHJ says

    Yes, it is ridiculous to claim that anyone in Britain ‘hates’ Germans – nothing could be further from the truth.

    There is a bit of lingering historical suspicion (which, you have to admit, is understandable) but I have never come across anyone who hates either Germany or Germans, or even expresses dislike.

  42. avatarAshley says

    No one hates the Germans, unless they are sharing a hotel with them!!!! Bloody nightmare.

    Putting towels on sunbeds by the pool at 6am then dont rock up until after lunch, push in at the buffet for meals as they dont seem to be able to queue, and always look disgustingly tanned (that may just be jealousy since i inherited pale irish skin) :P

  43. avatarDLK says

    You can upset Britons by printing the Union Flag back-to-front! (See your opening heading). Will you change it? I doubt it. (The last 3 words were added to help you decide how upset I am, which shows I haven’t lost my sense of humour). Note HUMOUR not HUMOR, it is English after all!

  44. avatarMia says

    Not that I believed these, but did get a chuckle. Is there a quid pro quo in Britain (a list of common myths about Americans) that we can also dispute and dispel? Like I don’t know how to make a proper cup of tea?…

  45. avatarJim says

    Jonathan, saw you tonight on the BBC, so visited your site. Very nice it is too! I was in the States recently and was asked “do you guys all drink warm beer in England”? Well no, it’s not warm, but it’s not ice cold either. If you’re coming to the UK, and visit a pub, ask if they sell real ale and try a pint of that. It generally isn’t chilled, whereas the “cask beers” (generally poured by tap and not “pulled” through a pump by hand) are cold. There is a feeling that ultra cold beer kills the flavour. However, it’s hard to beat a pint of cold lager or cider on a warm summer’s day.

    • avatarPete says

      The REAL ALE sold in many pubs is a traditional beer and its taste is best when served at a certain temperature, about 53degF. On a hot day then chilled lager or cider may be preferable, although I don’t recommend British or even Australian lager, but German, Dutch, Belgium or Czech. I am 66 years old and have travelled extensively in Europe, so I know of what I speak.

  46. avatarLeonard Williams says

    Americas geographic isolation accounts for much of the misunderstanding of other places. The world is smaller now, with instant media, and perceptions will change. Maybe it will help ease the discomfort if you keep in mind that America is so large that Americans have many misconceptions about other places in America. Also, in my fifty years in the US I cannot remember an anyone saying a negative thing about Britain. We like you guys.

  47. avatarJenn says

    Sorry, but I was there last year visiting family and still had problems getting ice in my drinks. 10 years and that hasn’t changed.

    • avatarDebbie says

      I worked as a barmaid in my early twenties (thirty years ago) and there was always ice, but we were always told to ask if it was wanted – not everyone likes their drinks ‘watered down’.

  48. avatarAndrew Ulavicius says

    Jenn, you should actually be ASKED if you want ice in your drink, before it’s poured, as many people don’t. And quite often the drink in question is cold enough as it is. I usually pre-empt a problem by saying whether I want ice or not, when ordering. By the way, have you ever bought a large coke at MacDonald’s and then taken out all the ice? Not so large then, is it? Despite the looks I get, I always insist on no ice when in MacDonald’s now.

    Andrew

  49. avatar says

    I have to disagree – many Brits I’ve met did not consider the last two “American” (they weren’t American wars at all – it was a coalition) wars pointless.

    I agree with all the rest.

  50. avatarXymers says

    What a fun post! Definitely made me chuckle.
    One myth that I hear from people in the U.S. is that the English drink only tea, never coffee. Another is that the average Brit enjoys high tea every day.

    • avatarMinerva says

      By ‘High Tea’……do you mean ‘Afternoon Tea?

      High Tea is largely a ‘working class’ (or nursery, because by ‘Dinnertime’ children would normally be abed) repast as after a hard day of graft on very little food, they couldn’t last until ‘Dinner’ (served quite late by social convention). High Tea usually involves a ‘hot’ item that is quite filling…………by contrast Afternoon Tea is a meal of delicate morsels designed to prevent hot-house flowers collapsing from starvation, & served 1/2 way between the very substantial meals of Luncheon & Dinner (usually any time from 3 to 4:30pm…..never later than that). Afternoon Tea usually involves a light flavoured Tea infusion, taken with either milk or lemon, & to eat, very small sandwiches, tiny cakes (meant to be consumed elegantly in just 2 bites) & maybe a small fancy item (minute choux buns etc).

      Our overseas cousins often mix the two terms up & some of the bigger hotels in our major cities have altered their menus to accommodate this confusion.
      I hope this clarification helps any of you that are wishing to enjoy this very English tradition on a visit to our shores.

  51. avatarLauren says

    Great list!

    Have been to America many times, and i love it there. such a wonderful place. But i have been asked many times, where im from because they don’t understand my accent. I’m from Newcastle, ive been asked if im Australian, Irish and South African. And when i tell them where in England i’m from, they shake their heads and i just say ‘its in the north, nearer Scotland’ its funny but it doesnt offend me. We talk fast and it can be hard to understand my accent.

    Most people who support Man U are not from Manchester, I find a lot of them Scottish. Most true Brits support the clubs their families support, where they are from because it truely means something to them. its more than just a game.

    We don’t hate Europe, in fact Europe is very handy to have when we want to nip off for a bit of guaranteed sunshine. What we do hate is the EU. It tells us what laws we have to abide by, and who can come and live in our country and where our money should be spent. this is something we don’t like. We are a proud country and we don’t need other nations deciding these thinsg for us.

    We don’t hate Germany either, we have a rivalry, definatley, if there’s a football match we love to beat them (we don’t very often beat them) but its all in good humour, except when they are stealing the sunbeds on holiday. We have that same rivalry with the French too.

    It doesn’t rain all the time, but you can expect 4 seasons in one day, its unpredictable, thats why most Brits never leave the house without an umbrella even on a boiling hot summers day, because it could turn so quickly.

    We didn’t want to go to war, but we did and its done and we are proud of our brave soilders and we just want to do the best job we can and get all our troops back home as soon as we can.

    We don’t all have bad teeth either, we may not have all had braces, but everyones teeth don’t have to be perfectly straight and exactly the same, if they arent straight it doesnt mean they are bad. it makes people different.

    I was once in a taxi in Las Vegas and the taxi driver turned around and said we should be thanking him and his country for ‘saving us’ in WW2. I had never been so offended. The cost this country suffered to win WW2 will something America will never understand. I don’t deny the fact that we couldnt have won it if the US hadn’t of helped us, and provided us with the goods we needed. We stood alone fighting against the wolrds most evil superpower for three years and the war effectively brought the whole country to its knee’s. But we carried on and with the help of the US, the USSR and the French resistence. THE ALLIES defeated Hitler and Nazi Germany. Its something this country is immensely proud of, and whilst still in living memory, the sacrifice the people of Britain made, should not be belittled by Americans saying we were ‘saved’ nobody ‘saved’ us. We fought for our country and our way of life. I know a lot of Americans don’t think this way, but even jokes about it are something i just cant stand to hear.

    having said that I love America, I can’t wait to go back soon. And i love Britian too, rule Britannia.

  52. avatarLauren says

    also, we do love your money, but only because the pound is so much stronger than the dollar and we get more for our money! its all so cheap over there!

    And, we really aren’t bothered about the American revolution, in fact i think we are rather glad, you americans do great rollercoasters, films, food etc. We are quite happy for you to do your own thing. We love how big and brashy it all is. and we enjoy marvelling in the size and extravagance of things. We also like coming home and living our quiet laid back lifestyles,l with 5 weeks holiday a year i might add, something that the US does not get to enjoy.

    • avatarkim says

      Totally agree with you… lived in us for 30 yrs moved there when I was 12 with dad’s company…. Iam so over the usa… I am just ready to go home… soon I hope

  53. avatarSusie says

    A few extras!
    1. We do not struggle through FOG every day
    2. We do not all wear bowler hats
    3. The food is great – all different ethnicities and loads of Michelin stars (and you dream of hamburgers?)
    4. High tea is beans-on-toast originating with the factory workers decades ago. It no longer exists. Afternoon tea is cucumber sandwiches and tiny cakes with a cup of tea. Get it right Hyatt!
    5. We shower, have inside toilets (yes, I have been asked!), shop in Gap, drink coffee and water – but not walking along the street.
    5 ‘Quite’ in English-English is not the same as ‘quite’ in American-English…(quite nice means ‘not great’ to us)
    6. Our washing machines may not be enormous but they are much more efficient technologically, don’t rip the clothes apart, use less water and can do a 15 minute wash….

  54. avatarPhil Knight says

    I’ve got no problem with being called “British”, and I’ve never heard of anyone objecting to being so described until I read the omments here. It’s the only accurate way of describing me – I was born and raised in England, but my great grandfather was Welsh and only learned to speak English as a teenager (and then went on to join a famous Scottish regiment). With the exception of Northern Ireland I’ve family all over the shop.

    You really *won’t* be offending many people by callng them British, unless they’re some kind of kilt-wearing maniac, a moronic skinhead, or a rather dim Morris dancer.

    We don’t all know the Queen – I’ve only met her twice.

    Oh, and it’s proably no the place to argue it out, but of the last two wars, the Iraq one was dodgy, but Afghanistan absolutely needed to be sorted out, and after 9-11 a lot of Brits were more than happy to help. Iraq? I’m not so sure. but what the hell, that’s all behind us now.

    re:WW2, Soviet expansionism. I think it’s very improbable that the Soviet Union would have wanted to or been able to invade the British Isles. The old Iron Curtain buffer zone was probably the limit of Stalin’s ambitions in Western Europe. He was an evil maniac, but he wasn’t barking mad or suicidal.

    The people I know are generally aware of and very grateful for US help in WW2 (there were more Brits and Canadians on D-Day than Americans) but there are reasons why it wasn’t essential. Firstly, Hitler never understood that you don’t win modern wars on the battlefield, you win them in the factories. Stalin knew that. Secondly, Heisenberg just wasn’t very good at nuclear physics. Thirdly, at Bletchley, we were reading all their signals.

    Without the US, I reckon the war would have taken a couple more years, and left a lot more people dead. But the Axis powers were never going to win.

    Now the Marshall Plan, that’s the real heroic effort. “We” would have won the war without help, but by God it was America that won the peace.

    • avatar says

      same Im Northern Irish and Im very proud to be British then some people have the cheek to say Im not “British” um strange that one saying as i was born in the United Kingdom (which Northern Ireland is part of course) I’m a British Citizen with a British Passport and my parents are both British (one from Northern Ireland one from England) and my family roots are from all over the UK im very much British and Proud of it

  55. avatarHugh says

    First, the Americans saved absolutely no ones asses, the Russians (and more specifically, the Russian weather mixed with German stupidity) saved nearly everyone’s asses in WWII.

    Second, we love most of Europe, but we seem to have a certain football related war with a certain country where Deutsch is the national language – so any Americans coming over here to England, don’t go “Oh, those Germans, excellent soccer players!” in casual conversation (and never use the word “soccer”, ever).

    Third, remember that our Rugby is NOTHING like your Football – so don’t try to draw parrallels other than the prolate spheroid shaped ball and the massive pile of mesomorphs in the middle of a pitch fighting for it.

    Fourth, be wary of using American slang and pronounciation. The word “predacessor” (or however you spell it) is pronounced “pree-da-ses-orr” as opposed to “pred-a-ses-orr” mostly (I personally use the American way). “Al-loo-min-um) is “Al-loo-min-ee-um” here and so on (“tit-a-ni-um” is “tite-a-nee-um”).

    Fith, over here schooling is different, so don’t say things like “freshman” or “junior” because most people have not a clue what they mean, same with “homecoming” or “NCAA” or any of that kind of thing. “Band” is “Music” here, “Gym” is “PE” and “Sports” is usually “Games”. Track and field is known as athletics and theres more (such as the infamous soccer/football clash).

    Finally, Essex girls are NOT the same as California girls!

  56. avatarDave McKewan says

    The one I get quite a bit, once people work out that I’m not really from Aussie, New Zealand, Canada or New Jersey (yes, really, I was asked if I was from New Jersey. Ah, bless…) is they wonder if I know their uncle, brother friend, from some place that I’ve never been to (London boy, born and raised, didn’t do ‘countryside’ unless I was forced to).

    Come on people, the Uk has about 60 million people in it. No, I don’t know your uncle, brother, friend……

  57. avatarIndia says

    Many of these are SO true! Heard one of my fellow Americans refer to all British/Scot/Welsh/Irish accents as “The King’s English.” I had to point out to her that she wasn’t really paying attention if she couldn’t hear the difference! But to be honest, many people from the US (not ALL) ARE rather under-educated and unaware of what’s going on in the rest of the world. It’s why I love the Internet and the BBC. We tend to get only news about the US and if the media does report on “World News” it has to be a disaster or something really huge. I have to make an effort to find out what’s going on in the U.K, and other places. Our news media just doesn’t seem to care.

  58. avatar says

    hi-ho, englishman in America here.. I remain amused whilst with American friends here in California and ordering desert in an British restaurant I ask if ‘Spotted Dick’ is being served, after all huff’s, red-faces are blown over- i explain it is a favourite english desert consisting of suet pudding and raisins (Spots) usually served with yummy custard. Enjoy :) john

  59. avatarDavid Richardson says

    Great post – agree with pretty much all of the stereotypes (and the real truths). I like America, have been several times and will be honeymooning there in a few months.

    Here are a couple of points to make if there are any of our American cousins reading this. Would be interested is reading your thoughts. Read with good old british tongue in cheek :) :

    – We dont have ice in everything because we dont need it when we live in a climate that must average about 55 degrees throughout the year. In Florida in 110 degrees yes, over here no. Its just not needed all the time.

    – Warm beer? Must be a total myth, I drink regularly and cant remember drinking warm lager. If this refers to proper beer aka ale, bitter etc then yes sometimes this is not chilled. But refer to my first point about ice and typical temperatures….’Not chilled’ is very different from ‘warm.’

    – Dont call football ‘soccer’ when over here. You play what you call football (we call American football). We have been playing football in organised leagues since your country was still in its nappy…as the term suggests football is played with a ball and kicked with the feet, hence its called football :-)

    – We love your money? Not sure really what this is all about. does it refer to the tourist dollar? In which case all countries benefit from this, and every country loves tourest income.

    – The patronising myth that everyone speaks like a cockey (londoner) or speaks that horrible ‘Queens English’ (think Hugh Grant or saying “pass the tea old boy” in a regal tone) is largely attributable to Hollywood movies – any British character seems to be steryotyped as on of these two accents. The english post mortem / surgeon guy in CSI with the eccentric bow tie and steryotyped accent is a great example.

    – I have a degree in Geography. Regarding our weather, all you need to know about our changable mild maritime climate is the very true cliche that it is “predictably unpredicable.”

    – Im Welsh but I am British. Im a Brit, period. We are Britain unless you are particularly racist or nationlist (or big football or rugby match occurring between home nations). Seperate countries? Hardly – do you need to show a passort when you go over the English / Welsh border? Course not. An American hearig a scottish accent and saying ‘are you english?’ is as patronising as mistaking an american accent for a canadian one. Something us brits do I acknolowdge but they are very similar….but surely you can hear a scottish accent is much different from an english one?!

    – An American (or anyone else really for that matter) thinking England is in London (?? WTF?) or thinking that Wales is in or is a part of England is a bit like thinking that the north pole can be found in west virginia. Its not a steryotype, in fact im not sure what it it is…..its just simply an exhibition of a complete lack of understanding of the fundamentals of Geography / general non-technical world knowledge.

    Peace out already! (??)

  60. avatarSomebody says

    I am British. There is one that is close to the truth. The one that says it rains all the time is nearly true. It rains a lot here but it’s not raining right now. Also, where I live we do speak with a posh accent.

    HOW NOW BROWN COW.

    When I see you again, I will jolly well look forward to it.

  61. avatar says

    I am not British nor American, I have lived in both countries, and I love both. This says quite a few truths…

    The beer IS warm — well, not really warm, but not as cold as I would have like it. But it is the same in the US. Ice cold beer is hard to find. Perhaps because I am from a warm country, but I drink ice cold beer.

    It is not that everyone says they’re from London, but let’s face it, Geography is not one of America’s strongest points – generally speaking, please let’s not take offence here… :-)

    The British – as the Americans – have a very clear notion of “personal space”. But once they know you, they are warm and caring – and the best of friends, with a great sense of loyalty.

    One thing that you didn’t mention and I noticed while living in London was the calendar… They’re fixated on dates! Some people “schedule” lunch with friends 3 months later! I thought that was too funny, in a “cute” sort of way. As I said, I do love the UK

    • avatarHJ says

      Why would you want to drink British beers ice cold?

      That would be like drinking red wine ice cold – it would ruin it.

    • avatar says

      Ice cold beer tastes like water. Slightly chilled English and Scottish ales are loaded with wonderful hops and maltiness. Beer in the US (excluding micro-brewers who know better) is ice cold because you wouldn’t WANT to taste it!

  62. avatar says

    read all your comments with interest but i have one point to make and that is will you americans recognise the fact that being british means being of one of four
    main nationalities ie english, scottish, welsh and northern irish. Along with manx, cornish and cumbrian.

    Apart from the above comment americans are always welcome to visit our britain
    and sample our differing cultures which are thousands of years old.

    Remember also that you americans of brit descent are also heirs of these cultures.

  63. avatarJason says

    As a Brit, I’d like to dissolve the myth that we all drink tea. While some people drink tea and coffee, both drinks are about as popular here as they are in America.

  64. avatarSarasInParis says

    What a wonderful discussion. Just as varied as the individuals we are.

    The Queen comment is odd to me. Why would everyone know the Queen? Being American, I can tell you with great confidence that, relatively speaking, very few Americans have ever met, much less “know,” the President.

    As for WWII, why must we be so vulgar about taking credit for victory? I, for one, am grateful that the allies defeated the worst regime in history. It was a group effort and had America stayed out of it, she would be the worse for it.

    I appreciate that the UK continues to join the US in global endeavors. However, I think most individuals realize a great deal of us disagreed with the u-turn we took to Iraq. Just because our troops followed orders doesn’t mean any of us has to agree with it.

    I’m glad that the UK and US continue to be such strong allies. I suspect we will always have this bond. I’ve often heard it said that we are one country divided by a common language.

    My burning question is: How did Americans lose their English accents? Until the 17th century, we (those of English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish descent) must have spoken with the same accent. Why did moving to the colonies flatten the way we speak?

    I love London and can’t wait to visit the rest of the United Kingdom.

    • avatarJohn Bonehill says

      Hello Sarah, I`ve lived in the States on & off for 38 yrs., & as with a lot of ex-pats I`m probably more ‘English’ now (‘Are you being served’) sort of thing than if I had stayed in Blighty. My brother knows the Queen as he works for ‘The Firm’ @ Windsor castle, & previously @ Buck House, but what I wanted to tell was about my old dentist there. I remember that he had false upper teeth, which were as crooked as Donald Rumsfeld, he had them made to match his original ‘English teeth! lol.

    • avatarTovaristch says

      From what I’ve read, Americans did not lose their accents, you gained yours. The contemporary American accent is the accent of Britain during the 18th century. Our accent is actually much older than yours, with yours developing into what it is now at some point after we broke away. The accent of the American southeast, is supposedly the closest to the British accent of the late 18th century. Minus the long drawl that begins to develop towards Mississippi.

  65. avatarAndrew says

    I think one of the main things to remember is that the UK is much bigger than just London!. It’s diverse all over the place and there are other cities and wonderful majestic scenery to explore. I do think that many Americans think firstly of London when thinking of the UK, but it’s understandable as London is a big world city. It’s almost like when you think of France, you think of Paris as the first thing usually.

    When I think of America I think of New York and L.A. but I know there is a lot more than just big cities to visit.

  66. avatarChris says

    I stumbled on this and have to say I love the article and its nice to see the British sense of humour showing through in some of the comments!

    @sarahinparis, The general theory is that the Home Counties English accent (I’m using this as I’m guessing thats what you mean by an English accent) from about 1550 to about 1760 sounded more like the modern American accent than it did to modern Home Counties English.
    The posh English accent came about because of the hats soldiers of the time used to wear, similar to the bearskins the Household divisions wear today. The chin strap restricts the movement of the mouth when talking and gave rise to what most British people would call a ‘posh’ accent, as they passed it on to their children. I hope thats helped a bit :)

    Also, about calling us Brits, ‘Brits’ is a term I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Welsh, English, Scottish or Northern Irish person use. It tends to be only used by Aussies or Americans. If we do refer to oursleves like that we usually use ‘British’
    I refer to myself as Kentish, English and British depending on the situation (or form I have to fill in)

    And yes England isn’t London. you’ll find a great deal of people in the counties surrounding London (Home Counties) have a sort of low level resentment at the fact London keeps chewing at our edges! :)

  67. avatar says

    If you are fired you “get the sack”. Being made redundant is not the same as being fired. You are made redundant if your job no longer exists, you are fired if you get the job wrong!
    I can top the myth about England being in London or whatever. I have to admit it was a long time ago but when I went to school in New Mexico a schoolfriend said something to me about when I went home to Germany. I explained I was from England, not Germany, upon which she said “Well, it’s all the same place, isn’t it”. Obviously hadn’t studied WWII in her history classes!

  68. avatarKat says

    I like the one about meeting the Queen XD
    I’m English and my American cousins are convinced that I have had tea with the Queen :)

  69. avatarDoug says

    The only thing that grates me about Americans is their perspective on history. Indeed, as far the American War of Independence is concerned the US historiography surrounding it is horrifically black and white and terribly biased. The same can be said for the War of 1812, WW1 and WW2.

    The British Army was not an evil tyrannical church burning demon spawn as Mel Gibson (Anglophobic idiot that he is) would like you to think. It was incredibly soft on the Rebel Americans, which is arguably why it had to pull out. General Howe, who soundly beat Washington at Brandywine Creek, had an American wife and was an Ameriphile by most accounts.

    As for WW2, by the time the US entered the war the British had already decisively defeated the Germans at the Battle of Britain and Battle of El Alamein. Additionally, the Russians had halted the Germans and were then on the offensive (Kursk). American help did however save many lives and shorten the war considerably. Not forgetting the Pacific, the US certainly provided the bulk of men and materials there. Saying that, the British Indian14th Army (under General Slim) handed the Japanese their largest land defeat in the most horrendous conditions – infact having done my thesis on this, I’d say they were the worst conditions of any theatre of the war. It is no thanks to Hollywood that the British war effort in the Far East is largely forgotten in popular history/memory.

    WW1 needs no explanation, the French and British were primarily responsible for the defeat of the Germans, Austrians and Turks. The entry of the US effectively broke the resolve of the German Army but by this time the British had already managed, with a lasp gasp, to stop the German Spring Offensive.

    As for the War of 1812, it is little known amongst Americans I have met that the US Army, under the auspices of the War Hawks in Congress, launched 6 invasions of Upper and Lower Canada; all of which were defeated. New Orleans dominates the US perspective of this conflict but it was the most inconsequential battle of the entire war. Indeed, many Americans think that the British were trying to reconquer their lost colonies… they had neither the resources or the desire to do this. All the British Government wanted to do was hold the Americans in cheque and take a few bargaining chips at the same time while the French Empire under Napoleon was defeated.

    Other than the skewered view of history, I am very fond of Americans and have quite a number of family who are American.

  70. avatarJoe says

    just to mention the union flag (its only the union jack when flown at sea) is upside down in the picture
    when looking in the top left quarter the diagonal red should be at the bottom the white strip
    and no-one really looks at American history here in british schools, apart from when they interfere in other people’s wars
    did you know that woodrow wilson, one of the big three at the treaty of versailles in 1919, was suggesting stuff to help europe, where he had never been and knew little about?

  71. avatarAaron says

    Nice list, I’ve been interested in the culture and history of England all my life as their is a large amount of English heritage in my family. Being from New England in the states I visited London in 2004 and i can say that it is a fabulous city. I plan to live in England some day and can’t wait to revisit Other parts of Britain. Interesting about how the accent came about. I agree with the weather myth, during my stay in London it was sunny all week. Its sad that American TV has such a stereotypical view of England at times. All it takes is one visit across the pond and those stereotypes and myths are destroyed!

    • avatarRJK says

      I hope you have a LOT of money, because other than marrying a Brit that’s the only way you’ll get in (and even that they’re trying to make very difficult).

      That said, I agree with everything you said. The entire time I was in London, there was one brief (about 15 minutes) thunderstorm and it was bright and sunny the rest of the time. I also spent two weeks in various parts of northern Britain (Manchester, Lake District, Conwy and Llandudno in Wales, Edinburgh, Blackpool, Carlisle, etc.) and it rained the whole time I was in Edinburgh but that was it. As someone else said, though, I think this myth has been perpetuated by natives themselves… grumbling about the weather is a British national sport, after all ;)

  72. avatarKB says

    I’m going to have to argue that America did not win WWII, although they did supply Britain they were well paid for it and if you look at the statistical information, despite everyones dislike of Russia they were more influential in defeating Germany than any other counrty. The battles fought on the eastern front were significantly bigger and took out more German troops than the western front.
    Love the article especially the reminder that the UK is made up of four countries not one! Though will state in Scotland I have heard Wales referred to as both a country and a principality and did not get even a mention of American war of Independence throughout the whole of my history classes

  73. avatarHassan says

    This is false for sure. It doesn’t rain alot in Britain? Are you crazy!? It rains like hell there. Also, they ARE more reserved and they do talk quieter for sure. They also think that we are ghetto and casual (which they take as trashy) which is also all true. I have cousins in Britain and visit so that is where I know the info from.

    • avatarRJK says

      Perhaps it’s a perspective thing. My fiance (he’s from around Manchester, I’m from around Chicago) complains about the rain in northern England, but we chat or Skype every moment we’re awake and it rarely actually seems to be raining… at the very least, it doesn’t rain there any more than it does in Chicago (and far less than when I lived in Florida, especially during hurricane season!) In the times I’ve gone to visit him, it’s rained three, maybe four, times.
      They talk more quietly? Um, I would say that’s true sometimes… but only because Americans are very loud (that stereotype about us is absolutely true) in comparison. And reserved? Oh, goodness. Maybe where your cousins are, but certainly in very few places I’ve been in the UK were the people that reserved!!! They are a bit prudish about discussing sex, sure… something that makes me giggle every time given the stereotype of Americans all being repressed Puritans ;) But besides that, they drink, swear, and carouse with the best of ‘em ;)

  74. avatarAlex MacPhee says

    This entertaining thread is probably not the place to be analysing the last world wars, but one should be cautious in making arguments that ‘America didn’t win the war’ and that ‘they were well paid for it’. Whilst it’s true that Hitler had enormous losses on the eastern front (occupying something like 80% of the crack Panzer divisions), the war on the western front was no picnic : the US suffered more military deaths during the war than the United Kingdom, and almost double the number killed in France. As to being “well paid”, I’m not sure what that means unless you have a dollar rate per corpse ; and the US forgave British war debts at a rate of, as I recall, something like 2 cents in the dollar. Little wonder, perhaps, that Winston Churchill described the Marshall Plan for European recovers as “the most unselfish act … in history.”

    This is, nevertheless, a thoroughly entertaining thread, and undoubtedly says more about relations between our countries than all the media publications put together.

  75. avatarLily says

    I must argue about native Brits being “friendly”. For the most part, that is not true, especially the further north you get. The people are extremely rude and generally dislike Americans. Very racist.

    • avatarSea says

      There are as many types of Brit as there are leaves on a tree, starts in the sky, you have been unfortunate. On the whole Northerners tend to be more friendly, but are also more reserved, which can be misconstrued as unfriendliness.
      I’m sorry you met unfriendly Brits.

    • avatarBrit says

      Oh dear. People in the North of England are friendly, far more so than those in London and the south. Go down to the far south, the south coast areas, and you will find the rudest, most arrogant, most snobbish and most shallow Brits in our islands.

      People in the North are much more genuine; they are not obsessed with money like the southerners and you seem to be mistaking Northern bluntness with honesty.

      As for Americans, I’ve worked with them and seen them abroad. Most of the ones I’ve worked with, although they have been to university and all the rest, haven’t been very bright but have been full of arrogance and a misplaced assumption of their own superiority. They have been insincere, shallow and frankly full of shit.

      On now to the economy. If it hadn’t been for your Reagan and our Thatcher, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today. Reagan was an idiotic ex B movie actor with despicable views, while Thatcher was a snobbish, not very bright and very spiteful woman. Their idiocy in economics led them to embrace the failed and discredited ideas of Friedman and the Chicago School of economics, which have led to the export of millions of skilled jobs, the creation of regional wastelands and have made Britain into the second most unequal country in the West (Beaten only by America). That, plus the meltdown of the Western economy, is the poisonous legecy of these two political idiots. That and the disgusting idiot and coward George W Bush who dragged Britain into two of your disgusting wars, wars fought for Israel.

      As for the second world war, far from you winning it it was won on the Russian Front; my dad was in it and he remembers the Americans; slovenly, poor fighters and ill disciplined. They were fortunate that by the time they saw face to face combat with the Germans the German strength had been considerably weakened on the Eastern Front. The depleted German battalions which all too often comprised inexperienced young soldiers gave you a very hard time; their crack regiments, or what was left of them, were in the East, fighting what was a much bigger and deadlier war. I read with disgust the whinge above that the Yanks lost soldiers in WW2. YOu know nothing. The Russians lost 30 million, the Germans over 8 million. You want to learn some history and you don’t learn that from the crap produced by Hollywood.

      The UK has becomne far too Americanised; in its language, its food, what people watch on TV, even our speech. We are forced into your disgusting wars because of a) the 1940 protocols and b) Thatcher’s signing up to Trident. We want no part of them.

      • avatarMike says

        You are a self opiniated idiot and I am embarrassed to be a Brit over your purile comments.
        I am from the North of England and through being in the RAF, Police, have worked in all areas of the UK.
        I currently live in the South-West of England and they are the most friendliest people I have ever met.
        Do not generalise for your sorry existence in my name!!
        All Americans reading this, please note that the comments from the delusional individual, to whose comments I reply, do NOT represent me or my beloved country.
        To add to this as a footnote, I am a staunch Manchester United fan (do not use the term Manu – is is wholly derogatory) from Manchester – born and bred.
        Have a nice day ;-)

        • avatarRJK says

          No need to apologize. Most of us have long since learned this isn’t how most Brits feel. Funny thing is, I actually agree in some regards (Bush is a blight on our history, Thatcher’s legacy makes me afraid for when we finally get our own first female leader, and I do feel the UK is becoming too Americanized) but the rhetoric gives the impression of someone who has more passion (or dare I say hatred) than experience or facts.

          As a Chicagoan engaged to a Manc… sorry to say, I have found strangers in the northern part of England to be less friendly (not just honest – I’m a Navy brat and quite used to that) and more racist and anti-immigrant than in places I’ve been further south. The ones I know personally are a little less so, but I myself (as a Yank) have been on the receiving end of some of that anti-immigrant mentality (and my old man and I don’t even plan on moving back there for several years!)

          I still love it to tears, though.

  76. avatarSea says

    Found this post through my friend’s blog. http://oosintheloo.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/generic-view-by-americans/
    I found the post funny. Me? Am I British, I prefer to think of myself as British rather than “English”? But have been told by several of my non-British friends that I can not possibly be a full Brit…I am, but when our football supporters cause trouble abroad, and it is only a small proportion that do, who would admit to being from the same ethnic background as them?
    The author of the blog is also an anglophile, and I think is visiting…to “sunny Morecambe” , next year. And yes…we have our own climate here, with silly rainstorms, but you can usuaully see them crossing the bay.

  77. avatarSarah says

    There are some legends that hold true in the UK though…

    Diana is the only true peoples princess.

    Thatcher is a controversial topic. As is the EU. Not Europe though… Although it is probably interesting to note- things like hating the French or the Germans tends to be a generational thing- older generations who remember the war and how things were tend to bare more of a grudge than the the younger generations.
    On another note there’s around 16 million Americans who permanently live in the UK- Brits don’t hate Americans as much as they make out- and vice versa. I live near Cambridge and there are large communities of Americans and Canadians there, generally people do get on and have things in common! There is a reason why Brits and Americans have a special relationship afterall!
    Any perceived racism or misconceptions Brits have about Americans generally stems from either politics, media perceptions or just general humour.

    Brits generally are sticklers for grammar, language and details.

    Brits moan about things an awful lot…as well as wait for things a lot.

    Drinking alcohol and football go hand in hand… yet Brits can be fans of other typically ‘British’ sports- like tennis, rugby, cricket… there is a proportion of people who prefer rugby to football… yet there is also a proportion of people who like both.

    Britain is a quirky place in general- there are people and communities with their own quirks and style-There’s national identity- ‘British’, ‘Irish’, ‘Scotish’, ‘Welsh’ etc and Local identity ‘Brummie’, ‘Londoner’, ‘Manc’, ‘Scouse’ etc
    Many large places/areas in the UK have their own look and people have their own reasons to be proud/not so proud of where they’re from… i.e. Essex Girls & their fashion/slang and Scousers in PJs and Rollers, Staines and Ali G etc

    I would say also… Britain and Brits aren’t as stereotypically posh, polite, or bashful as people seem to think…I think Americans are far more polite and moralistic than Brits are in general… Brits can be crude, rude and angry! The UK is home to the birth of punk afterall ;)

    • avatarSue says

      Dear Sarah
      No, not 16 million Americans living in the UK. That cannot be correct.
      Your perception of Diana does not fit with mine. Many people thought at the time, and still do, that she was a fairly ordinary girl placed in a difficult situation but she didn’t have to marry Charles, did she? I’m not surprised she devoted herself to charitable causes but she had sod all else to do. I can promise you that she was spoilt with a nasty temper and unlike Charles she was unfaithful with many different lovers (a fair few married, like Camilla was at the time).
      Punk rock had, according to Wiki, its roots in the US, UK and Oz, not just the UK.

  78. avatarCharlotte says

    I’m sorry to inform some of you but the United Kingdom have a brilliant health service, much better than the Americans. It’s all these USA adverts trying to make the English folk look bad; when they are only trying to get money off you. And some of the people commenting, really you have no idea what the UK is at like. It’s a very down-to-earth money making country – who had the LARGEST empire this planet has ever seen.

  79. avatarSteve says

    I’m from Northern Ireland, which is a real chuckle when explaining this little corner of the UK to Americans. Being Northern Irish gives me duel British/Irish nationality and so I carry two passports but when asked my nationality I always state British. Being Northern Irish makes it especially confusing for Americans when you say you’re British and then when they ask what part and I say Northern Ireland. On the rare occasions when I’ve been asked to explain it’s great fun to dive into the whole, well England is a country in Great Britian, which also includes Scotland and Wales but NOT Northern Ireland. However Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is why Northern Ireland is the only one of the four home countries whose name actually appears on the British passport :). Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain because it’s on the island of Ireland, which is the second largest island of the British Isles but the Republic of Ireland, which is also in Ireland, is not part of the United Kingdom. My cousin is from the Isle of Man which is even more fun still.

  80. avatarKatherine says

    Actually, according to the OECD, British people have the best teeth in the world. We don’t tend to be as aesthetically obsessed as the Americans but I for one have very straight, white teeth. We just don’t tend to do anything to them if there’s nothing wrong with them. Also, I’ve got a Teesside accent from North East England and people really don’t get it. My friends are all Geordies and they say things such as cannae instead of can’t so you get some tourists that just give up asking for directions.

  81. avatarRob Smith says

    I heard from wealthy Scotish gentleman that he only lives for day to separate from Britain. There is something deep in genes what divides two nations. Scotish people are different and surprisingly to myself, they are warmer than British, hate to say more human in some aspects. Yes, greed is part of whole story, but to same extent with Brits. I’m not American, but I appreciate American openess generally and find Great Britain somehow dying country.

    • avatarSue says

      Latest figures – only 37% of Scottish (please note correct spelling) favour independence.
      When you say Scots are warmer than the British, I assume you mean the English. You don’t seem to have a grasp on the topic you wish to comment about – do keep up. Dying? Did you watch the Olympics???

  82. avatarDenise says

    Wow, do some still believe any of that?
    It always amazes me how there are Brits that can’t understand each other & it isn’t all cockney. I love the food over there & I have always been treated very well by the Brits. Love them peoples! (I have heard from Scots who are dying to split from England & from Brits that would like to see them go) lol!

    • avatarSue says

      Denise, do you know what “Brits” means? It means English, Welsh and Scottish. So in this context your comment makes no sense.

  83. avatarRon says

    A word of warning, never wear a Manchester United shirt if you visit Liverpool (an almost independent state on the west coast of England). Americans are of course welcome back into the city from where most of their forefathers left Europe on their way to massacre the natives of the far distant land in the west.

  84. avatarDuane says

    One myth that I’ve had to deal with as a teacher here in America is that students often think Britain has no military and that the US defends them as well as France and Germany. I think they get this idea from their parents.

    • avatarChristine says

      Honey, I have no idea what school you’ve been teaching at, but it embarrasses me to say that the U.S. is my country. I, myself, have never thought such rediculous things, and anyone who has should be shot where they stand. Great Britain is full of people just like the Americans, only better because you guys are pure bloods and Americans are mix-breeds. We are the muts. Both countries are full of pride and bravery, and shouldn’t be angry or condscending towards each other. We are, after all, related in a way. We should be kind, and not throwing daggers(not stating that you were). I happen to love my British Cousins a great deal, and if I had the ability, anytime my family was being attacked I’d race to them in a minute, and offer assistance where I could. I just don’t understand why people must hate each other. We live on this planet together, the least anyone could do is strive to get along. Oh we’ll have our disagreements and arguements, because we were raised in different cultures and with different ideals. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends., and learn to be cordial with each other. I hope I haven’t put you to sleep with my wishes and thoughts. It just angers me when people hate each other or say bad things. It takes more energy out of a person to hate then it does to be nice. Thank you for reading this. I hope you have many blessings and live a happy life.

  85. avatar says

    I was never under the impression that Tony Blair was beloved by one and all.

    I have run into some people who are convinced “We won The War” in the sense that we did it all by ourselves. I don’t get upset by this because I have been forced to accept the fact that Americans are Butt Stupid when it comes to history, our own or anyone elses.

    Part of that is the school system, and I’m not referring to the so-called “culture wars” that a certain segment of the population here in America likes to run on about. Simply put, it’s not given enough space in the typical grade school system.

    This is my opinion, I hasten to add. I’m not out gore anyones ox, grind my ax or get myself hoisted on my own petard. (God forbid)

    I don’t expect Americans to know that The Queen has a “Royal Crown Attendant” whos job it is to hold the crown when Her Majesty gets her hair done.

    But I am shocked that more Americans don’t know that most Germans wear helmets with pointy incense burners on their tops or that all French persons wear black berets and smoke REALLY nasty cigarettes. (I know, I’ve actually smoked them…a long time ago. It was very bohemian and artistic.)

  86. avatarHannah says

    I’ll only address the’Bad Teeth’ one as it annoys me the most. We don’t have bad teeth we just don’t particularly favour the ‘Hollywood smiles’ which are extremely white and perfectly straight as it looks artificial. I have never needed fillings or even braces (but that’s just because my teeth were never crooked) but braces are extremely common and generally almost every child/teenager has worn them. However my teeth aren’t dazzling white either. They are natural and just because teeth are slightly off the colour white that doesn’t mean my teeth are bad. Perfectly white teeth doesn’t necessarily mean healthy teeth.

  87. avatarBlaine says

    I think you’ll find we do hate immigrants regardless of whether they’re here legally or not. And yes, we do hate Americans.

    • avatarChristine says

      But I don’t hate you. I think you guys rock! I have never thought I was better than anyone. No I’m am not a daft cow or a simpering foolish woman. I just see no reason in hating someone or thinking I’m better. Takes too much energy to do that lol. Someday I hope too visit and tour places in Great Britain. Maybe, if you wouldn’t mind, you could tell me of some places that are beautiful and full of history. What better person to say then someone not American, or knows of the area. I hope I haven’t offended you. I’m not very good with words. If I have I offer my sincerest apologies, it was not my intention. I hope after this that you hate one less American. It so hurts me to know if someone hates me. Rock on guys! Hope to kick it in your neck of the woods again someday!

    • avatarChristine Gail Hartsock Burrill Johnson says

      Hey Blaine, forget it. I did sound like a simpering asshole, but the thing is I’ve never thought I was better than anyone. Everyone is better in their own way(no that is not meant to be taken as an insult, it is a compliment). I do love the accents(yeah, I know, you guys don’t have accents, we do). But yours is better. Whenever I hear someone with a british accent, I’m sorry, I just have to talk to them because I’ve always thought that it was beautiful, and I envied people that had it. We americans have a non-exciting or non-romantic accent. So I’m sorry if you hate us, but their are some who love you guys, and envy you. I was a young child when I lived in Belgium, but my father took us to different places, and I loved it there. I found everyone to be fascinating(not like a bug under a microscope). I found you to be fascinating on a magical sense, and when it was time for us to move back to the states-well, I didn’t want to leave. Yes I know, Belgium is not part of Great Britain, but I met people from their, and I always thought they were wonderful people. (Yes I know, I talk too much) I wasn’t kidding when I said it bothers me if someone hates me. To be truthful, it hurts me when someone hates me, and for some strange reason. I can’t stop myself from trying to make amends. Never mind lol I am a simpering daft cow lol. Oh well, I guess we can’t all be intelligent. Guess I should have furthered my education. Oh well, water under the bridge. Well, I won’t bore you anymore with the mindless rambling of a feathery twit lol sorry, can’t help myself. I’m a writter so I don’t get out much. Well, I hope I’ve changed your mind about one American, but now you probably hate me because I have more hot air then a blimp. Oh well, at least I can say I gave it my best. Well, I hope life is filled with happiness and many blessing for you. Good day.

  88. avatarChristine says

    You guys are brilliant! When I meet someone from Great Britain I never boast about anything. I just love to here you guys talk. I absolutely love your accents! But I guess looking at it from your point of view I’m the one with the accent. But I can tell you there’s a difference. Yours has a beautiful lilt to it, where as mine is droll and boring-a very flat accent, indeed. I use to live in Belgium, and felt more at home there then my own country, but I didn’t say that lol. My favorite part is that you guys don’t push your way of doing things on others and I think that’s admirable. We shouldn’t change peoples cultures or way of handling things. And I don’t believe in talking about sports, past wars, or government politics when I’m in another country. And I never judge a person by their looks. It is their actions and personality that let me know if they are a kind and generous person or a fraud. Well, I’ve blathered on enough. Keep a stiff-upper-lip. At least some of us don’t think we are better than you. :-)

  89. avatarStokieDonna says

    @Christine 26 Oct thank you for the comment most appreciated, I have made a lot of American friends who I love dearly great respect from them and vice versa. And with accents some can be crazy to hear esp mine (LOL) but we all hear differently.

  90. avatarOlivia Andrews says

    I certainly recommend coming to Hampshire! We are always open to newcomers! We also have by far the greatest walks and we’re by the coast too, you would one small ticket fee in Southampton away from paradise! (The Isle of Wight)

  91. avatar says

    What a strange misconception the USA has of us but I guess the rest of the World must look on us in the same way as if we live in some ruritanean time warp. Its not all just about royalty and pomp and circumstance we have some of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes and seascapes to be found anywhere in the World, we are after all Gods green and pleasant land.

  92. avatarDave Bagnall says

    Man Utd fans don’t come from Manchester – they tend to be Glory Hunters, basically fans who support a quality team and bask in their glory without any real roots or loyalty. Most people in Manchester support Manchester City – Now Arsenal, that’s a proper team – gawd blimey, gawd blimey, apples and pears etc etc.

  93. avatarChrissyNT says

    Hey look – wtf is all this about soccer? Talk about misconceptions……..The USA is fantastic on the world stage. Thank God for what they do – protecting the western way of life and our democratic society. Whats been done to them in the last few years – their embassies, cities, and military personnel is a frickin outrage. I love em, they stand up for whats right, someones got to do it. Respect to the USA

  94. avatarMardenski says

    A couple of do’s and dont’s for any US visitors to this green and pleasant land (I know I’m going over heavily trodden ground but hey-ho) :

    Do’s :

    1) Look at an atlas before coming to find out where we are (and while you’re there have a look out for some other countries, you’ll find it quite illuminating).

    2) Do understand that our ‘hatred’ of the French is qualified in that we disrespect the Frogs as much as they disrespect Les Rosbifs. Their arrogance (especially from successive leaders) gets our goat but generally they’re ok (I have to say this as an Arsenal fan as our manager and half the team are French). The whole German thing is false except where football is concerned.

    Don’t :

    1) NEVER EVER EVER EVER call it soccer. That will hack us off more than anything. Here are a few acronyms to show you that it is football not soccer – FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) / UEFA (Union of European Football Associations / FA and the home of football (Football Association). We laid down the rules in 1863 when you guys were killing each other so I think we’re allowed to decide the name.

    2) We whinge about the weather as it’s out national pastime but don’t COMPLAIN loudly about how it’s always raining. Firstly it doesn’t and secondly we live in a temperate climtae so what do you expect.

    3) The food is not rubbish. Sure we don’t deep fry everything (including sticks of butter) but that doesn’t mean our cuisine is bad. When even our pubs are receiving Michelin stars then I think you need to take note. Funniest but also insulting thing I’ve seen was on a TV programme a few years ago and a family from the US on holiday here went to dinner each night at Pizza Hut as they were convinced (how?) that all UK restaurants served hedgehogs and squirrels etc.

    4) Don’t assume that we know the royal family. A well-worn thread but I have to put a personal spin on it. Was in Florida in March 2011 and was asked whether I was going to the wedding (that of William and Katherine).

    Last thing to say is that this is not a tirade as I love the States and its people it’s just that some of you need to gen up about the rest of the world. But please do come over, we’d love to see and try to embrace some of our local sayings / slang and then confuse your friends when you get back home.

  95. avatarWK says

    I know from experience in dealing with Brits that they know next to nothing about the American Revolution. You’d think they’d teach more about it; it’s considered an important turning point in Western Civilization because it was the first major successful revolution against a European empire, and it demonstrated to others that the British could be beat. Since the British had the most respectable military record (they made a habit of beating the snot out of the Spanish and French in the big wars of the era), the people in Spanish and French colonies were doubly encouraged. One could easily argue that the decline of the British Empire (and all other European empires) began with the American Revolution.

    By contrast I know that I learned about every war the British ever had, and I doubt they could list any American wars that Britain wasn’t involved in. Also, when I was there I was referred to as a colonist more than once, and not in a sarcastic or humourous way either; just seemingly matter-of-fact.

    Also, their weather is absolutely pleasant, but it definitely rains more often and consistantly throughout the year than it does where I live. We have torrential Springs that they would be shocked by, Winters that are about as cold as and somewhat dryer than theirs (maybe just a little warmer), Autumns that almost as wet as our Springs, and Summers that even on the mildest years are substantially hotter and dryer than most Brits have ever experienced in their lives.

    And on the world wars: Brits view themselves as heroes, we view ourselves as heros, Russians view themselves as heros…even the French view themselves as heros because of their underground. The truth is quite simple: we’re all right. The allied victories were a combined effort of great heroism. The British and Soviets stopped the Nazi advance in its tracks on both fronts, the French underground (and the underground of other, smaller countries) didn’t do anything quite as impressive but still helped quite a bit to harry the enemy. The United States cleaned the Japanese out of the Pacific largely single-handedly (not to downplay the parts played by the British and Soviets) and provided enough industry and man-power to (combined with the British surge) mount an invasion. The invasion on the Western front forced more Nazi efforts to be diverted, allowing the Soviets to push back on the Eastern front and in time force Hitler into a vicelike grip between the Allies. The little guys played their parts too, but the Brits, Soviets, and Americans were the most powerful and therefore most important.

  96. avatarWill says

    It would do a lot of American’s a lot of good to take note of the last one. Nothing grinds our gears quite like some ill-educated Yank saying they ‘bailed us out of the war’. You didn’t bail anyone out, you joined the war because you were bombed at Pearl Harbour, simple as. No one can ever know for sure what would have happened if you hadn’t have joined the war, that doesn’t mean you can start thinking your opinion is fact.

  97. avatarkenzie says

    If you hate the EU so much all you have to do is say the word and i am sure my country will gladly declare war. No joke

  98. avatarBill smith says

    They don’t know general geography of uk they think everyone lives near London. I live in somerset and it is more than 100 miles from London! But as I was born in London I just say that as it is easier to understand to them!!!

  99. avatarVickie says

    I love English history, especially the Middle Ages. My husband and I were in London several years ago and planned to return soon. My hope was to spend a few days in London, then travel by train to Scotland, making as many stops as we could along the way. But, after reading some of the comments here, I wonder if I want to go somewhere that I am not wanted. Do most British people really hate Americans so much?

    • avatar says

      I feel you Vickie, but it just seems like the reverse is happing here, stereotyping Americans. Everyone has their own perception, I would say enjoy yourself and do you. One thing we all have in common is the desire to believe we are the best no matter which side of the pond we spring from.

    • avatarMinerva says

      Get away with you kid, the opinions of a few twerps shouldn’t prevent you coming to see us. The only way you will know for sure that we are all appalling American-haters is to come over & jab us with a sharp stick…………..that should do it!
      Truth is, if you did jab us with said stick, we are more than likely to apologise you to death for having got in the way!

      If you are persuaded to come however, please be sure to bring wads of dosh (money!)….we like your country’s dosh…a lot! (apparently).

    • avatarDavid Martin says

      Vickie, Go, enjoy the British people and culture. I have never felt that I was not welcome. I’ve been through Scotland on vacation and several other cities in England on business and vacation, Leeds, Manchester, Brighton and of course London. Just be open and ask questions and a bit humble.

  100. avatarBracey says

    You’s can all argue until you’re all blue in the face. The fact of the matter is a typical Yank and a typical Brit would get on just fine and have a right laugh.

  101. avatarKPOM says

    There should be a similar piece about British myths about the US. First of all, the rest of the country is NOTHING like NYC. And there is more to the country than NYC, Disney, and Hollywood, where it seems most every British tourist has been to. Brits don’t seem to “get” the concept of states, either. Yes, they all have different laws. They are like mini-countries. Heck, many of them are bigger than most European countries and have larger, more diverse economies. Also, not all of us have guns. Not all of us are bible thumpers, either.

  102. avatarJohn Bull says

    Here’s my gripes about the States. Nobody mentioned the over officiousness of the American in uniform? (american airports- no thanks)… How about the gross invention of the eat as much as you want restaurant? The false niceness endured when shopping in most places? The expectation to be paid for nothing (tipping). And the youth who have been raised with a hopelessly superior attitude. (Met quite a few of them when travelling the world).
    Not a big fan of Americas love of putting people to death for one off crimes, nor locking them up forever for crimes committed below the age of 18 (or even 16)

    On the plus side they created Las Vegas, and the current incumbents forefathers created a successful nation by most peoples standards (what will it be like in 200 years with the hispanic invasion?)

    My view on immigration is that the UK is split, probably overall in favour against the unending influx of alien people. But against a background of namecalling and politically correct propaganda being fed to the masses (particularly the youth) its perhaps not surprising that the matter is not properly debated.

    Heres to a continued happy relationship between the two nations. Cheers.

    • avatar says

      Actually Tipping isn’t being paid for doing nothing. In the USA, it’s how servers are paid, they are often paid $2 an hour (the federal minimum wage for people who work for tips – the logic is their income is made by tips, which is ridiculous). If you don’t tip, the server doesn’t get paid. It’s a ridiculous system that most of us hate, but will never change.

  103. avatarCamie says

    This is a really lame, divisive list. I’m married an Essex man and I’ve never thought any of these things about the British.

    And to John Bull:

    Americans generally just want you to enjoy their country and be comfortable (what you call “false niceness”). If you can’t handle that, then it’s really your problem, isn’t it?

    You don’t have to go to all-you-can-eat restaurants here—I don’t, and they’re really not all that common in the United States. You make them sound as if they’re an epidemic.

    I get my fair share of hassle at Heathrow by men and women in uniform. It’s just how it is on both sides of the pond, deal with it.

    We’re considered shouty when we visit Britain, but I’ve witnessed my share of rude behavior from British tourists here in the States, especially in Las Vegas. And “the youth who have been raised with a hopelessly superior attitude”—honey, you must either never take public transport in your own country, or you don’t leave the house. The attitude extends across the Atlantic.

    Tipping is a very nice American custom. I enjoy tipping when the service is good—even in Britain. Either take the tip, or don’t.

    You criticise our criminal justice system, yet I’ve found in my experience that punishment in Britain does not fit the crime. Both sides could use some work. That goes for abuse of the dole as well.

    My point is, you really need to ease yourself down from your high horse. In all my years of living in both the States and England, I’ve noticed that we’re really not all that different, and no side is better than the other. Honestly, just get over yourself.

    • avatarPete says

      IMO anyone who visits Las Vegas and stays for more than a day has no class, so expect ‘trailer trash’ as you call them over in the US.

  104. avatarJosh says

    Common misconception from the list that you got wrong…

    BRITS HATE THE GERMANS
    ‘Hate’ is a very strong word, and even then most Brits have a lot of respect for Germany today. In fact, many Brits would probably consider Germany to be their closest ally or ‘friend’ within Europe and the two countries have close ties both politically and within general opinion.

    Outside of that, opinions on France and Spain are far likelier to vary between people.

  105. avatarMilkeebar says

    Maybe the US TV companies should allow programs from other countries to be shown as they are & not re-made.
    If a US show is good it will be shown in the UK & we will pick up slang terms/ cultural references or just accept we may not understand the odd sentence/word.
    If a UK show is good it will be re-made for an American audience.
    Americans aren’t stupid, trust them to understand or find out about the things they don’t.

    • avatarDavid Martin says

      I agree! Every time a a show is brought to this country they think they have to remake it. We have BBC America now but that is so americanized that it’s really not British television. The only shows that I can think of that are not “redone” in some way are “The Graham Norton show”, “Top Gear” and “Doctor Who” . I see better British television on PBS!!! getting so tired of “Star Trek” and ” Kitchen Nightmares” (The americanized version). Even if they would show older BBC shows it would be 100% better than the mundane junk they are currently showing.

  106. avatarfrank castle says

    Uh, okay, if you say so, but I don’t think I’ve met anyone since the 70’s who thinks any of these things. At least those who’ve had an education of any kind. I would think that if you’d like to blame someone for the bad teeth thing, blame Mike Myers, who is Canadian. What People mostly think about Britain is that if there’s a good TV show there, it will eventually be cheap version of it on American TV.

  107. avatarEllie says

    So I’m a true Brit, however I’ve been to the US on holiday allot. In regards to the London Assumption, some people didn’t even know where Birmingham was! I was amazed at this a it is our second largest city. Also, in regards to you comments on dental care, in most cases Britain actually has better teeth due to braces being free from the NHS. You’re right in you’re comments about us not being bitter about the Independance war. I think that we mostly just joke about it in the way of flying the Union Jack on the 4th July and calling those who celebrate it traitors. We do enjoy complaining about the weather and the lack of difference between summer and the rest of the year. We don’t HATE Americans, everyone just doesn’t like them that much an enjoys taking the mic out of them. What people mostly dislike is the way you have changed the English language and are often unaware of Britain. We are a very proud country and most people are nation proud against America.

    • avatarDavid Martin says

      I’ve had the mic taken out of me a few times at a pub. I didn’t mind one bit. It’s all in good fun and really funny. I just figured I was fair game being the only Yank in the place. The nice thing was one pub, I stopped back in two days later they remembered my name and I was a good sport about it.

  108. avatar says

    I can think of 3 common misconceptions about Americans we have in Britain.

    I All Americans are fat.

    2 All Americans are arrogant.

    3 All Americans are stupid.

    Well I spent nearly 2 months in 2010 cycling in America and I can honestly say they are all false.

  109. avatarAndrew speed says

    The teeth thing always gets me?
    There is a difference between teeth that are healthy and teeth that have been cosmetically enhanced.
    While lots of my American friends have healthy looking smiles I also know quite a few that have giant slabs of ultra white fake looking implants. To me this looks especially awful on older people.
    I realised this a few years ago when after working in the US for some time I was getting a little self conscious as my teeth aren’t ultra white and when I came home I discussed the possibility of either getting my teeth whitened or some other procedure. Despite the obviously large profit to my dentist he refused to even entertain the idea saying that my teeth were healthy and the colour was natural not a stain.

  110. avataralysb says

    I don’t think the British do look back on our empire with pride. Most people are (a)aware of the atrocities and (b)think it was a waste of money! My grandfather served in British India and my father was definitely anti-imperial, while my uncle was a member of the Indian Civil Service and my aunt always used to say that they were well aware of being the occupying power and were not opposed to Independence at all.

  111. avatarCamila Laurie says

    The English aren’t quite fond of France. This kind of hate between England and France will not be forgotten, we’ve been rivals for about nine centuries! And when we tried to clear the Nazis off their country, they just did nothing to save their own government. So don’t say we have a special little love for them. That’s not true.

    • avatarPete says

      They first blamed us for deserting them when we fled Dunkirk, to regroup with the Americans and Canadians to eventually clear France and the rest of Europe of the Nazis. And De Gaulle never admitted that half of France was obedient to Nazi rule.

  112. avatarTammy says

    You’re all welcome to my home town of shrewsbury (England) got everything you need. Castle, abbey (both almost 1000 years old). Even one of our mcdonalds is in a medieval hall! Birth place of Darwin, his old school is now the towns library, so free to visit (look closely at the walls and you can see graffiti from his era). Just off the welsh border, so many Norman castles in surrounding area. Just across the border you start to travel into the hills and mountains of Wales. I’m not particularly well travelled but surely you would be pushed to find a more dramatic landscape. All welcome, bring plenty of money cause its your round mon x

  113. avatarsues says

    I would just like to clear up a small point. Many (most) Americans refer to the “British Accent”. There is NO such thing as the British accent. Britain is made up of three distinct countries: England, and people born in this country are referred to as English; Scotland, people born in this country are referred to as Scottish; and Wales – people born in this country are referred to as Welsh. Each of these countries have very distinct accents, including local dialects; for instance, there is no way you could mistake a Scots accent for an English accent. The United Kingdom comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So, there we have it, convoluted it is and I can understand how misunderstandings occur, but I felt this issue needed to be cleared up.

    • avatarTovaristch says

      I would challenge any of the Brits here to discern a Mississippi accent from a South Carolina one, and would never expect them to be able to. To us, it’s as plain as day. To you it would all just be a Southern accent. To our ears, you all have British accents. We really have no need or desire to investigate further. What we do hear, is posh versus cockney.

    • avatarDavid Martin says

      And there is no way you could mistake a Glaswegian accent from the rest of Scotland and the UK. Cannot for the life of me get my ear tuned to the wegee accent. The rest of the UK not a problem really just give me a tick to tune my ears. and I’ll keep up in a conversation.

  114. avatarMrs Know All says

    I’ve had to laugh at both the American and the English stereotypes. People moan about stereotypes, but they are what they are, for a reason… mainly true! I’m English, married to an American, living in the US and I do get wound out from time to time when people tend to talk down to me as if I am a reserved, slightly idiotic, quirky English woman, only for them to find that actually us English women have incredibly strong back bones and we will say exactly what we think, without thought of offense. To us, the truth is the truth.

    Onto WW2. That’s another thing that grates on my last nerve, but it’s been covered a couple of dozen times before so I won’t go into it again.

    However, on the plus side, I have a young American grandson, the lifestyle is different, often nice, sometimes hard, because I do tend to get more homesick the older I get. But for the most part, Americans have been very welcoming, I just miss the English (not BRITISH)… ENGLISH sense of humour. Rule Britannia and all that.

  115. avatar says

    I was fortunate enough to live in England for two years. York, not London to be exact. I have to say while most of what you say is true in this article I have to completely disagree with the statements on the rain and the food. I suppose it would be more correct to say you never see the sun in England as opposed to it’s always raining. I found that it’s nearly always dark out or it’s raining except for those few times a week during the summer months when you got super lucky. The food, I think it’s safe to say the British have ethnic food down to a science and it’s incredible. The British/pub cuisine however is greatly lacking in my opinion. That all being said, I adore England and would move back in a heartbeat if they would let me. Only this time I’d bring plenty of umbrellas and daylight bulbs.

    • avatarDavid Martin says

      I love pub grub! A proper shepards pie and a pint, that’s lunch!!! I will agree about the ethnic food as well. If you get an urge for just about anything you can find it!

  116. avatarEl says

    We don’t ‘hate’ anyone! Most of our insults are either meant affectionately, for humour (especially the stereotypes about other European countries- like we’d joke about the French but it’s very rare that anyone would actually be rude to a French visitor) or just for the sake of making conversation; displaying strong emotion is not generally the done thing here. If we genuinely hate something, most of us’d have to be pretty drunk to talk about it with a stranger or acquaintance. You should probably take more offence if someone is over the top with compliments ;)

  117. avatarGareth says

    What a great site, I’m Welsh and I lived near Chicago for three years, amugust countless stories I was asked on occasions where I was from and got told there was no such place as “whales” or where is “whales”…I got asked if I knew someone from the U.K which this American once met on a train to Washington D.C, one idiot I worked with kept talking to me in a very bad east London accent, I guess he thought he was being funny….even my name “Gareth” was strange to them.

  118. avatarRoss says

    I am from Scotland and I hate the fact that Americans think that all Scottish people wear kilts and eat haggis all day and I have spoken to a person from America and until I told him he never even thought that I was Scottish. Yes it is true that I am from the Tayside/Angus area were the typical “Scottish” accent is not very common so I could sort of understand why he never thought about me being Scottish.

  119. avatarBethan says

    I wonder how many Americans know that America was named after a Richard Ameryk a Welshman, and the welsh where there before the vikings?? all true google it…lol

  120. avatar says

    Very happy to have read your article on the weekend of our Independence celebration! I never have believed any of those silly myths you wrote about. I guess I was brought up right! :) and “Heavens to Betsy!” – “Pleased as punch” that I am Maltese,Canadian, English,Irish,Scottish,German and Viking in ancestry !

  121. avatartitch says

    Very funny and true. The funniest I’ve heard is we can never leave the house because it always rains here! Someone who obviously thinks you’ll melt if you step outside in the rain. My favourite has to be people in the north of England speak the way they do because many, many years ago people working in factories never had ear plugs so went deaf and their kids copied the way they spoke. Giving them a different accent to those in the south who all apparently speak with a cockney accent. As for europe, I hate the corrupt euro MP’s running my country, not europe itself.

  122. avatarDavid Martin says

    Back in 2004 when I visited england for the first time I was standing in the American Chapel in St. Paul’s an very nice older gentleman ( a Pensioner) was there and we struck up a conversation. On thing that always stayed with me was the very nice comment about the the Americans arriving in WWII. To paraphrase him, ” I was certainly glad to see the Americans come into the war. We were getting well worn.”

  123. avatarsues says

    “They’re quite fond of Europe, especially Southern France and Spain. However, they have a very, shall we say, antagonistic view of mainland Europe, often rooted in stereotypes and good humor. Look, they’ve had a longer relationship with Europeans than we have – so they’re entitled to feel how they do. But there’s very little hate. Except maybe for the Germans”

    Firstly, our country is European: what we DON’T like are all the silly rules that the European Community keep coming up with. Sometimes, it seems to me anyway, the UK are the only ones who abide by these stupid rules.
    Secondly not all countries of Europe belong to the EU, but it DOESN’T mean they are not part of Europe.

  124. avatarbob stevens says

    On a visit to Tuscon, Arizona in the seventies ,summertime, my old mum (born 1914) an original eastender, went for a walk,wearing a fur coat and carrying an umbrella, because as she explained to two state troopers, ” you just never know when the weather will change”.

Leave a Reply