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  • (upbeat music)

  • - Hello everyone and welcome back to English With Lucy.

  • Today I'm going to talk to you about 20 idioms,

  • which have different versions

  • in American English and in British English.

  • You need to be really careful with these

  • because you risk being misunderstood

  • if you use the wrong version in the wrong country.

  • Or actually that would mean you would be understood,

  • 'cause that's a double negative.

  • Anyway, I'm going to tell you

  • the British version of the idiom,

  • and then I'm going to tell you

  • the American version of the idiom.

  • I'm going to give you the definition,

  • and I'm going to give you an example.

  • So get you notebooks out,

  • and write these down.

  • Before we get started,

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  • Right, let's get on with the lesson.

  • Now I have curated a list of 20 idioms

  • which mean the same things,

  • but have different versions

  • in British English and American English.

  • They're all fairly common,

  • and you can use most of them in everyday conversation,

  • and you homework for today

  • is to write in the comments

  • any other idioms that you know

  • that might be different in different countries

  • and different parts of the world.

  • Right, number one.

  • In Britain, we say, to throw a spanner in the works.

  • To throw a spanner in the works.

  • But in American English,

  • they say, to throw a monkey wrench in the works,

  • or sometimes, just to throw a wrench in the works.

  • It's basically different

  • because what Americans call a monkey wrench,

  • we call a spanner.

  • And this idiom basically mean to do something

  • that prevents a plan or activity from succeeding.

  • For example, the intern threw a spanner in the works,

  • by ghosting the client on Tinder.

  • This actually happened to someone I know.

  • They met someone on Tinder,

  • never replied to their messages,

  • and turns out they're a big client for their company.

  • It didn't go well.

  • They threw a spanner in the works.

  • Number two.

  • As we say in British English,

  • to blow you own trumpet.

  • To blow your own trumpet.

  • But in American English,

  • they say to toot your own horn.

  • To toot your own horn.

  • This means to boast,

  • or to praise your own abilities and achievements.

  • For example, I don't mean to blow my own trumpet,

  • but I read the oxford dictionary three times

  • before the age of five.

  • That is a lie, I did not.

  • Number three.

  • In Britain we say,

  • to sweep something under the carpet.

  • To sweep something under the carpet.

  • But in America they say,

  • to sweep something under the rug.

  • To sweep something under the rug.

  • This means to deny or ignore something

  • that is embarrassing or might damage your reputation.

  • A lot of politicians like to sweep things under the carpet.

  • For example, as one of the most

  • controversial YouTube on the platform,

  • I have swept many scandals under the carpet.

  • Number four.

  • In British English we say, peaks and troughs.

  • Peaks and troughs.

  • But in American English they say, peaks and valleys.

  • Peaks and valleys.

  • This means to avoid something at all costs,

  • or to refuse to associate with something.

  • Woops, I said the wrong one.

  • This is the mixture of good and bad things in life.

  • For example having lovely sponsors like Skillshare

  • helps my business through the peaks and troughs of the year.

  • Number five.

  • In Britain we would say, to not touch something

  • with a bargepole.

  • To not touch something with a bargepole.

  • In American English they would simply say,

  • to not touch something with a ten-foot pole.

  • To not touch something with a ten-foot pole.

  • This simply means to avoid something at all costs,

  • or to refuse to associate with something.

  • For example, my father would not

  • touch trifle with a bargepole.

  • He absolutely hates trifle.

  • He's very good at pretending to like things,

  • but I've never seen him pretend to like a trifle.

  • It's that dessert which is like,

  • cake, jam, jelly, custard, cream, ugh.

  • I would eat it but,

  • I wouldn't choose it.

  • Right, number six.

  • This is a sort of superstitious one.

  • In British English it's touch wood.

  • Touch wood.

  • In American English, it's knock on wood.

  • Knock on wood.

  • And it's a phrase that's used

  • just after mentioning a way in which

  • you've been lucky in the past.

  • And it's said to prevent bad luck.

  • So an example would be,

  • I am not a great driver,

  • but I've never been in a serious car crash.

  • Touch wood.

  • I'm saying touch wood to prevent myself

  • from being in a serious car crash.

  • I actually need to touch wood now.

  • (knocking)

  • Okay.

  • I'm not superstitious I'm just...

  • I'm just British.

  • Number seven.

  • British English we would say, to flog a dead horse.

  • To flog a dead horse.

  • In American English they would say,

  • to beat a dead horse.

  • To beat a dead horse.

  • This simply means to waste energy

  • on something that has no chance of succeeding.

  • For example, you're flogging a dead horse

  • by trying to make my dad eat trifle.

  • He's not gonna do it.

  • You're not going to succeed.

  • Number eight.

  • Now I will admit that sometimes I use the American version.

  • And you do have to bear that in mind with these idioms,

  • because in Britain we consume so many American sitcoms,

  • tv programmes and movies,

  • that their vocabulary does bleed into our vocabulary.

  • But in Britain traditionally,

  • we would say to take something with a grain of salt.

  • To take something with a grain of salt.

  • When in America, they would say,

  • to take something with a pinch of salt.

  • To take something with a pinch of salt.

  • And this means to view something with scepticism

  • or to not take something literally.

  • For example, if I offer you a tequila,

  • you should take it with a pinch of salt

  • and a slice of lemon.

  • Just joking.

  • That's proof, that you should take everything I say

  • with a grain of salt.

  • Number nine.

  • In British English, we would say swings and roundabouts.

  • Swings and roundabouts.

  • In American English they would simply say, ups and downs.

  • Ups and downs.

  • These idioms are used to describe situations

  • where there are as many gains as there are losses.

  • For example, in the UK,

  • we pay high taxes, but it's all swings and roundabouts,

  • because we have a great National Health Service.

  • Number 10.

  • Another one where I might actually say the American one,

  • because the Americanisms have bled into Britain.

  • But the British idiom is skeletons in the cupboard.

  • Skeletons in the cupboard.

  • Whilst in American English,

  • they say skeletons in the closet.

  • Skeletons in the closet.

  • And we don't actually use the word closet,

  • which means wardrobe in British English,

  • but I would use the word closet for this specific idiom.

  • And a skeleton in the closet is a secret

  • that would cause embarrassment if known.

  • For example, I could never run for prime minister,

  • because I have ar too many skeletons in my closet.

  • Number 11.

  • Oo this one is so British.

  • The British version is so British.

  • To have a go at someone.

  • To have a go at someone.

  • We use this all the time.

  • If there's one that you remember,

  • remember this one.

  • The American version is to tear into someone.

  • To tear into someone.

  • It means to attack someone with either force or language.

  • For example, true story.

  • A teacher once had a go at me for faking an illness

  • when I was genuinely very unwell.

  • Number 12.

  • In British English we say a storm in a teacup.

  • A storm in a teacup.

  • In American English, they say a tempest in a teapot.

  • A tempest in a teapot.

  • That sound much more posh.

  • Teacup, teapot, much more tea.

  • This means great outrage or excitement

  • over a trivial matter.

  • For example, I don't think the apocalypse is coming.

  • I think it's big old storm in a teacup.

  • Number 13.

  • In British English we say a drop in the ocean.

  • A drop in the ocean.

  • And in American English they say, a drop in the bucket.

  • A drop in the bucket.

  • It means a very small or insignificant amount

  • compared to the amount needed.

  • For example, I saved 33 pence by doing my shopping online,

  • which is a drop in the ocean

  • compare to what I need to save for a house deposit.

  • That's what I trying to save for at the moment,

  • and it's not easy.

  • Number 14.

  • This is a personal favourite.

  • I just really like it.

  • And I actually love the American version.

  • But saying makes me cringe.