Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 8 IDIOMS Brits and Americans Say Differently

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Do you have a skeleton in your closet? Are you always knocking on wood? Do you always

toot your own horn? What's going on here guys? I have no idea! So in a minute I'm going to

teach you eight idioms that Brits and Americans say differently. I can't wait for this one

guys, so let's get going.

Welcome to Eat Sleep Dream English, if you haven't met me before

my name is Tom and I teach fresh modern British English so that you can take your English

to the next level and achieve your life goals whatever they may be. Now let's get straight

to number one. Now in British English if we want to say that we wanted to avoid bad luck

we would say 'touch wood'. Now in American English it's to 'knock on wood'. Now the idea

is the same, we are saying it so that we can avoid bad luck but we are using slightly different

verbs. So say you are sending a birthday card to someone, to a friend and someone says to

you 'Do you think it will arrive on time?' You could say 'touch wood'. Touch wood like

you hope to avoid bad luck. You hope to get good luck so you'd say touch wood. In American

English knock on wood. So an expression to say you are hoping for good luck or to avoid

bad luck. Now in British English if you have an embarrassing secret in the past we would

say that you had a skeleton in the cupboard. So the skeleton is the embarrassing thing.

The embarrassing story or the embarrassing event and obviously the cupboard, that's where

you put it when you hide it so no one finds it. So in British English we have a skeleton

in your cupboard. In American English it's in the closet. So a skeleton in the closet.

Same meaning just a slightly different place to keep your skeleton. 'I could never run

for Prime Minister because I have too many skeletons in my cupboard.' Yeah, that's probably

true but I think that's probably true for most people, right? We all have a few skeletons

in our cupboards or in our closets. So a skeleton in the cupboard in British English, a skeleton

in the closet in American English. Number three is a brilliant one. In British English

if you want to talk about your achievements, if you want to boast, if you want to say how

great you are we would say to blow your own trumpet. That's right, you blow your own trumpet,

you talk about how great you are. In American English, I believe it's to toot your own horn.

Now perhaps there is some flexibility here. Maybe we now say toot your own horn or to

blow your own horn or to toot your own trumpet. It's probably become quite mixed but I thought

it was an interesting one and a great idiom to know. Guys I don't want to blow my own

trumpet but I did say that this would happen. So there you are saying you know i don't want

to say how right I was but I'm going to anyway. So to blow your own trumpet or to toot your

own horn. If you want to talk about high periods and low periods especially in terms of numbers

then we would say peaks and troughs. Peaks being the high periods, troughs being the

low periods. In American English they would say peaks and valleys. Think about a mountain

or a mountainous landscape, you have your peak is the top of the mountain and you've

got the valley which is the low land. So very similar, peaks and troughs, peaks and valleys,

they both have the same meaning. So for example 'This year has been full of peaks and troughs

for the business'. So there have been some very high points for the business and some

very low points. In my favourite film the Big Lebowski they talk about strikes and gutters.

The same idea. The good things and the bad things. You can play about with it, I'm sure

there are a few other phrases you can use to talk about the high points and the low

points. So as I say it could be about numbers or it could be about emotions or just happy

times and sad times, good times and bad times. Any contrast you want to make you can use

this phrase, peaks and troughs. In British English if you don't completely believe something

because you think it might not be true you could take it with a grain of salt. In American

English that would be to take it with a pinch of salt. Again very similar, to be honest

I probably use both, I don't even know which one I use. So for example 'Did you hear Andy

wants to move to Australia?' 'I'm taking it with a grain of salt.' So I'm not fully believing

it, maybe because I know Andy and I just don't think he'll move there. Or maybe I have other

information that suggest he won't go but yeah I'm not fully convinced that he will do this.

So it's a good response to information that you don't fully believe. In British English

if you think that there is unnecessary anger about something that isn't that important

you could say it's a storm in a teacup. In American English it's a tempest in a teacup.

I quite like that. A tempest in a teacup. Because a tempest is essentially a storm,

another word for a storm so the same idea but different word. So for example 'I've heard

that there was an argument in the board room today but I think it was just a storm in a

teacup.' So I think there was just a lot of anger but it wasn't about anything important,

it was a misunderstanding or something like that. But yeah not that important. In British

English if something is a problem and it's going to stop something else from happening

we would say to put a spanner in the works. A spanner is a tool, the spanner here is the

problem and it's stopping whatever is supposed to happen. So for example maybe you are supposed

to be going camping and then you suddenly look at the weather and you are like 'ahh

have you seen the weather?' 'The rain is going to put a spanner in the works.' So the rain

is going to create a problem for your camping trip. In American English it would be to throw

a wrench into the situation or to throw a monkey wrench in to the situation. Now it

doesn't mean the situation is completely ruined. There is still a chance that it could happen

but this is just a problem on the way to completing it.So let's talk about Brexit I mean yeah

Brexit is happening here in Britain. The British government were trying to organise a deal

with the EU and then the chief negotiator from Britain quit their job and so that was

a spanner in the works. Ok, it didn't stop the situation, it didn't stop the negotiations

but it created a problem so yeah it can relate to a lot of different contexts and subjects.

And the final one, in British English we use a phrase a drop in the ocean to say that a

small amount of actually what is needed. So for example you know I can donate ten pounds

a month to a certain charity but it's a drop in the ocean. It's a small amount compared

to what's actually needed which is much larger. Now in American English I believe they use

that phrase but I think they also say a drop in the bucket which of course has a very similar

meaning, right? A drop is a small amount and a bucket is a larger amount so it is essentially

the same thing here that a much larger amount is needed but we can only give a small amount.

So for example 'Yesterday I gave a homeless guy a sandwich. Now I know it's just a drop

in the ocean but at least I did something.' So there I'm saying that I know that helping

one person with some food on one day is a small amount compared to the actual problem

which is the large amount. so yeah again you can use it in lots of different contexts.

Alright how was that guys? Did you enjoy that? Did you know all those idioms? Do you know

any more idioms that are different between British English and American English? Let

me know in the comments below. If you are an American viewer and you have any other

idioms that are slightly different to British idioms let me know, I would love to learn

from you guys. Remember guys I've got new videos every Tuesday and every Friday helping

you take your English to the next level. Check me out on Instagram, check me out on Facebook

but until next time guys, this is Tom, the Chief Dreamer, saying goodbye.

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