My stories often have both American and British characters and points of view. Having grown up in Britain and lived in North America for 9 years I always think I’ve got handle this, but my editor catches my boobs(:)) all the time. Here are some examples of the subtle and not so subtle differences between the two languages.
I’m always cold and like to keep my characters nice and cozy so I put them in lovely warm jumpers.
North Americans tend to wear sweaters
Marks and Spencer’s, naturally :)
In North America knickers are panties (I really hate it when female characters wear underpants, for me underpants are what my dad wears).
Pants are also knickers in the UK. Also, if something is 'pants' it's crap.
In North America pants are trousers.
I used to blush when people admired my pants over here, but not as fiercely as when someone commentated on my fanny. In the UK your fanny is your vagina. Seriously people, not something we uptight Brits discuss at parties.
These foxed me for a long time. In the UK a vest is an undershirt for those extra cold days. In North America a vest is a waistcoat.
Getting off with someone.
In the UK it usually means you scored a kiss or maybe walked someone home. In North America ‘getting off’ means something a little more...orgasmic.
In the UK a bum is a pair of fleshy globes of loveliness that you sit on. In North American a bum is a homeless person.
In the Midlands (UK) everyone calls everyone else ‘Cock’. Even my mom calls me cock. “Alright, Cock?” Embarrassing? You bet.
In North America you’ll get a punch in the mouth for calling someone a cock.
In the UK a flat (and flatmate) is the same as an apartment (with a roommate/housemate because apartmentmate just doesn't work). I don't know why it is called a flat. Stupid because it isn't flat, it is 3-D.
Being full of spunk in the UK is totally different to being full of spunk in North America. Not sure I want to go there. Gulp.
Differences in language affect me every day. I’m always telling the kids to get up on the pavement (sidewalk) rather than walk on the road (pavement), and when we’re doing homework we need a good rubber (eraser) to take care of mistakes. And we put the rubbish in the bin, baby, none of that trashcan garbage :)
So what's your favorite British/US expression? What makes you giggle?