27 Things Non-Brits Find Strange About The UK

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1. Asking someone to “come along” just to be polite.

“Asking someone if they want to come along to something just to be polite. People don’t usually do that in Norway so when I first started studying abroad in the UK I’d just assume they really did want me to come along. It lead to some rather awkward misunderstandings. Like the time I had lunch with a friend of mine, her boyfriend and her parents. In retrospect, it was obvious that she was just being polite, but she said “you’re welcome to come along” and I though yay, free lunch.

I’ve learned to distinguish now but it took some time getting used to it.”


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2. The ways we say Goodbye.

“I work in the UK and am on the phone a lot and almost everyone says goodbye three ways before they hang up: “cheers, thanks, bye!””

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3. Our pet names.

“Saying “hey ya” to anyone, or even sometimes calling them “love”, “dear” or sweetheart”. It’s normal in the UK, but in french (my mother tongue), it would be completely inappropriate, if not disrespectful.”


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4. English sayings to Americans.

“I’m English, but lived with a few non English people so I have a good idea of what they don’t understand / find funny:

  • You alright? – It’s an informal introduction and most English would reply, “yeah, you?”. However … Americans see this as bizarre and take it literally. They think you’re asking if they’re upset, dying, etc … It’s quite funny to see their faces when you ask it for the first time.
  • Getting pissed – “I’m so pissed”. He’s not angry, he’s drunk! The context is quite important for this one.

Ps, fuck, swear I had some more.”


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5. Alright and You alright?

“But it’s even worse than that. Once non-Brits have gotten used to “You alright?”, giving the appropriate response of “Yeah, fine” they then have to get used to “Alright” without the questioning intonation, meaning “Hello”.”

“Between two Brits:

“Alright” “Hey”

Between a Brit and non-Brit:

“Alright” “Yeahh…fine?””


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6. “What are you like…”

“please explain the English question “what are ya like?””


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7. British parliament.

“Heckling the people in Parliament amazed me.”

“it’s hilarious, every time one politician gets in a particularly good burn, all this fellow politicians go “eeeeeeeeeeeeey” at the opposition, and I’v heard them resorting to “yo momma” jokes on occasion.”


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8. What the hell is wrong with beans for breakfast?

“Beans for breakfast.”


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9. Having two taps.

“I cannot TELL you how many public restrooms I went into in England (even in modern buildings) that had this setup.

In the US the ONLY setup like that I have ever seen was in a disused bathroom in a building that was maybe 70 years old.”


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10. Squash and cordial.

“I get it now, but I didn’t understand why someone asked me if I wanted orange juice, then handed me a glass or water. In the US, we have juice from concentrate, but we tend to mix up a whole pitcher at a time, not glass by glass.

Source: American living in UK”


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11. Lightbulbs and switches in the UK.

“Why, why are there 37 kinds of light bulbs? So many shapes, so many sockets. I even brought the bulb with me to the store and brought the wrong one.

Why do I have to press three buttons to turn anything on? You have turn it on at the socket (there’s an on-off switch for the whole outlet on the wall), then power up the machine, then press a button to make the machine do its thing. Even my TV, the power button does not turn it on. I have to press power, and then channel up, as if pressing the power button was not enough indication that I want to power it on.”


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12. It confuses us as well…

“Remember guys, UK doesn’t just mean England…”


“As a Scotsman, thank you for this. It’s one thing that really annoys me about people from outside of the UK. Some of them don’t realise that being British doesn’t make me English.”


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13. Accents.

“I think it’s weird how there’s so many different accents. Here in Canada, most people speak relatively the same and we’re HUGE.”

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14. Deep fried Mars bars anyone?

“Ok, I’m going to poke some fun at the Scottish who seem to be a little ignored in this thread.
What’s with all the deep frying everything? Last time I was up in Edinburgh they had deep fried pizza in the chippy, deep fried haggis as well, though that was alright.”

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15. C U Next Tuesday.

“Using cunt when joking. Some of the shit you say would get us maimed in US.”

“Also the police don’t ticket you for driving on the wrong side of the road.”


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16. Brits and binge drinking.

“Going “on the piss” and getting blackout drunk as a regular weekly thing. Yes, this is a problem in the US too and no, not all Brits partake. It’s a generalization. But there is a unique binge drinking culture there that can’t be denied.”


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17. The way we name our pastries.

“Names of pastries! Is a bun savoury or sweet? A roll? A scone can be both? What’s the difference between a biscuit and a cookie, because I definitely bought a pack of so-called “cookies” in London.”


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18. Mind the gap!

“While being in London, I heard “Mind the gap” probably more often than any other English words together. Why do the people there need to be reminded to be careful when entering/exiting a subway every 5 minutes?”

“I live in Germany and afaik the only announcements made here are about which direction to exit the train, either left or right. – Actually, London was the first city I’ve been outside Germany where I went by train THAT much so I never really noticed it somewhere else.”


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19. Chip butties.

“Chip butties. WTF Scotland? How are you not all obese?”

You mean WTF UK?


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20. Our fascination with the weather.

” The weather is also really interesting not so much because the sun is great when it’s shining but so much so because anyone could go on and on about the weather. Source: I was a foreign student.”


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21. Tax is included in the price of things.

“Tax is included in the price on the shelf. What the fuck? This would make America so much less confusing”


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22. Pants VS Trousers.

“Calling underwear “pants”. I remember a Brit telling me an embarrassing story of how he had to walk into a store “in his pants” and I just couldn’t help but think “What’s wrong with that?!””


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23. Dinner VS Tea.

“Calling dinner “tea”.

“What do you want for tea?”



24. Page 3.

“Tits on page 3. Open the paper to see what’s happening in the world and bam, boobs. Not necessarily a bad thing but weird.”


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25. Electric hot water systems.

” Electric hot water systems that you have to turn on before showering. It was literally a week in an Edinburgh winter before I figured this out”


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26. Bonfire night.

“I got an email the other day about fireworks being for sale, I thought that was really weird!

And everything shuts really early on a Sunday!”


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27. Old people in care homes.

“Care homes for the elderly. I come from an Asian society and we are mostly to do with taking care of the elderly and living as a nuclear family. To see the amount of elderly in care homes was really striking for me and my family. We have homes for the elderly but almost all of the elderly in there, are there because their children died or were abusive. It was definitely strange to see that the elderly here chose to live in a home. We’re used to it now but it took a bit of getting used to.”


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