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Difference Between British and American Culture

Renuka Savant Oct 23, 2020
What's soccer to one, is football to the other. What's jelly to one, is jam to the other. What's cookie to one, is biscuit for the other. So you understand what's exactly going on here, so here's some more on the difference in culture of the Brits and the Americans.
There is always that age-old thing about England and America being divided by a common language. You think that because we speak English and you speak English that you're bound to understand and like everything that we do. And of course you don't.
- Rowan Atkinson
These two countries have had bittersweet relations ever since their separation. The Americans never took to being 'colonialised' by the British, and successfully broke free from their shackles. Ever since, they've painstakingly carved a separate identity from their former colonists, only to be 'separated by a common language', in the words of G.B. Shaw.
Now, they drive on the opposite sides of the road, drink different beverages, follow different systems of measure, use switches that work the opposite way, and try to be as maniacally different as possible. Here, we're going to be looking at these very differences in a completely humo(u)rous light.

The Knights Versus the Yankees

Linguistically Speaking

Here is the most distinct point of difference between these 2 countries, which is English. With their tug-of-war across the pond, Britain and America have managed to rip this language into British and American English.
Americans love to replace every British 's' with a 'z', just as the British 'zed' becomes the American 'zee'. Americans also remain clueless about the British fondness for extra alphabets in their words. For instance, how Leicester is pronounced as Lester? Come to think of it, this topic may even spawn an entirely separate writeup altogether.

Getting Personal

It seems the gleaming, pearly smile is American birthright, as unaesthetic, pallid rows of teeth belong to Englishmen. A regular Briton's stiff upper lip always comes in the way whenever they try to be affable.
Here's a little gem from American humorist and poet Ogden Nash that exemplifies this -

Every Englishman is convinced of one thing, viz.: That to be an Englishman is to belong to the most exclusive club there is.
While the gregarious American sympathetically holds a candlelit vigil for a fellow American's misfortune, the British will simply make scrawny jokes at a fellow Brit's expense. Self-deprecation is almost a way of life for an average Britisher, whereas an American is someone who likes to view things through rose-tinted glasses.
Also, don't you think it's funny how a nice, warm cup of tea fixes everything in Great Britain, just like Oprah does in the United States?

A War of Words

Get over Shakespeare and Thoreau, we're down to the epic battle that separates these two nations on literary basis. British wizards against American vampires. Bellatrix against Victoria. Voldemort against James, etc.
So, this transatlantic war between two phenomenal bestsellers literally turned the literary world upside down, with the book sales figures and movie franchisees that followed. Ardent fans of either series swear uncompromised loyalty. Never before have we seen a Beatlemania like frenzy for the written word, and the attention is definitely welcome.
A word of caution, though, one look at Rob Pattinson's character in Twilight will make you want to take 50 points from Hufflepuff.

To Arm or Not to Arm

At the risk of breaking into touchy territory, if it weren't for guns, the Americans would still be British, wouldn't they?

And Finally, a Few Laughs

*This conversation between the American Pitbull and the British Bulldog are sourced from the hugely successful British TV drama, Downton Abbey.
British sense of humour lives, eats, and breathes irony. It thrives on sarcasm. And it remains unabashedly and unapologetically Pythonesque. The Brits revel in self-deprecation, and happily consider it to be a way of life.
Americans, on the other hand, like to keep things safe, and punctuate their humor with an apology, keeping all sensibilities intact. Well, most of the time. Until Homer Simpson arrives on the scene... and delivers the punch.

Lisa, if you don't like your job, you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way.
So you see, the British and the Americans differ at so many levels, and yet, are quite similar to one another. But these quirks lend a charming twist to this transatlantic cultural war, making it more delightful.