Stories from our international boarding schools

UK and US: English word variations

While the English language is spoken in both America and England, there are some subtle differences which can be a bit confusing if you’re not a native speaker. Lucky for you, we’ve chosen some of the most common variations so you’ll know your stuff no matter which continent you end up on.


UK: Chips

US: French fries

In the UK you might enjoy a nice plate of chips, but in the US you’d call them French fries instead!

UK: Crisps

US: Potato chips

Chips in the US are what the British call crisps.

UK: Aubergine

US: Eggplant

This purple fruit is known as aubergine in the UK, but is called something completely different in the US: eggplant.


UK: Trainers

US: Sneakers

Going out for a jog? In the UK you’d need your trainers, but in the US you’d be reaching for your sneakers.

UK: Jumper

US: Sweater

In America, you’d wrap up in a sweater when the weather gets cold. In the UK, you’d find a good, thick jumper.

UK: Waistcoat

US: Vest

A waistcoat is traditionally worn by men at weddings, but in the US it’s called a vest.


UK: Football

US: Soccer

The UK is football mad, but in the US, it’s soccer all the way.

UK: Pitch

US: Field

In the UK, you’d play football on a pitch. In the US, you’d play soccer on a field.

UK: Kit

US: Uniform

Sports teams in the UK dress in matching kit which is called uniform in the US.


UK: Timetable

US: Schedule

Students in the UK find their lessons on a timetable, whereas American students would use a schedule.

UK: Rubber

US: Eraser

Made a mistake? In the UK you’d need a rubber, but in the US you’d use an eraser.

UK: Full stop

US: Period

This sentence ends in a full stop (UK). This sentence ends in a period (US).


UK: Lorry

US: Truck

A lorry in the UK is a truck in the US.

UK: Pavement

US: Sidewalk

Pedestrians walks on the sidewalk in the US and the pavement in the UK. Interestingly, pavement in the US means road.

UK: Motorway

US: Highway

The US has 164,000 miles of highway. The UK has only 2,173 miles of motorway.

Think you know your chips from your crisps? At EF Academy, our students don’t just learn the language, they live it. Study abroad and transform your high school experience.

US or UK? Choose your campus nowGo!

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