Angry and frustrated Brits

10 Things Brits Say…. but don’t actually mean

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Earlier this year we discussed 10 terms that Brits say and what they actually mean.  If you’re fairly new to the UK or even been here for a while, you may have also realised that us Brits, known for our sarcasm and self-deprecation, also have a habit of saying things that we don’t quite mean. So here’s our guide to the top 10!

Number 1: “Excuse me, sorry, is anyone sitting here?”

What you think Brits are saying: politely asking if the seat next to you is taken

What Brits are actually saying: “does this look like a seat for your bag – move it now” – we can only be so patient when it comes to train etiquette.

Number 2: “This is a bit of a pickle….”

What you think Brits are saying: this is fine, we just need to work out the solution to the problem

What Brits are actually saying: “this is a disaster…. dooms day is upon us” – Brits love a bit of doom and gloom.

Number 3: “That’s certainly one way of looking at it.”

What you think Brits are meaning: they are listening to my point of view on this matter

What Brits are actually saying: “that way of looking at it is wrong.  Plain wrong.  Change the topic.”

Number 4: “With all due respect”

What you think Brits are saying: I respect your opinion

What Brits are actually saying: “you don’t know what you are talking about” – we hate confrontation so we like to say things as nicely as possible, just take everything we say with a grain of salt.

Number 5: “It’s fine”

What you think Brits are saying: It’s fine.

What Brits are actually saying: “it is not fine.  It couldn’t get any worse but of course it will” – Brits normally say “It’s fine” in a tone which indicates it definitely is not fine.

Number 6: “I’m just popping out for lunch, does anyone want anything?”

What you think Brits are saying: can I get you anything at the shops?

What Brits are actually saying: “I don’t want to get anyone else anything, I’m just being polite so please remain silent”.

Number 7: “I might join you later”

What you think Brits are saying: I’ll come join you at the pub later for a drink.

What Brits are actually saying: “I’m not going to join you later, I’m just being polite” – the Brit in question may be tired or simply not feel like coming but they don’t want to be rude or disappoint so they’ll make it seem as if they may come when they actually wont.

Number 8: “Not too bad, actually”

What you think Brits are saying: “I’m okay”

What Brits are actually saying: “I am feeling great, I had the best weekend ever” – we don’t like to make a fuss.

Number 9: “No harm done”

What you think Brits are saying: it’s okay, that mistake hasn’t caused much of an issue.

What Brits are actually saying: “the mistake you made was a disaster, it’s caused complete and utter chaos and I’m going to have to fix it now.”

And finally….Number 10: “I beg your pardon”

What you think Brits are saying: “I’m sorry, I do apologise”

What Brits are actually saying: there are potentially a few answers to this conundrum:

  • They are actually sorry
  • They didn’t hear you so they are asking you to repeat yourself
  • What you said offended them greatly. This would normally be said in a much more aggressive tone!

And that’s it.  We hope this helps you during your time in the UK, although it has probably just made you realise Brits aren’t as nice as they first appear!  For more in our series of blogs click here!

Impact Teachers
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Impact Teachers

Impact was founded on the principle of creating outstanding schools and acquiring passionate teachers who can engage and inspire students both locally and globally. We’re not like other teaching agencies in the UK, we do more and that’s why our teachers recommend us.

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