A simple question but where to find the answer may be difficult.

How many Americans know the difference between England/Britain/UK?

If I came to America with an English accent, what percentage of people would call me British?

“How many Americans know the difference between England/Britain/UK?”

Millions know the difference. Probably more millions don’t fully understand it, and some have no idea that there is a difference.

I doubt if a more precise answer is possible.

“If I came to America with an English accent, what percentage of people would call me British?”

Percentage? Gosh, that’s difficult.

Americans are famously bad at recognising the accents of other English speakers. Depending on where you were, and what English accent you had, some people might not realise that you weren’t American. Others might ask if you were Australian.

Those who could correctly identify the accent would probably describe you as “British” more than “English”.

Exactly 473,293.


I would, because I know how to piss off British people. cough

Americans frequently use the terms interchangeably… though we have fewer problems with England/Britain than with UK/Britain. We know the difference between Enland/Scotland/Wales/bits of Ireland… but just presume it doesn’t matter. In my experience, once reminded (or told), people use England/English properly, and British when they recognize an accent, but aren’t sure which. You lot can be a bit touchy. :wink:

Cue George Mikes:

And he was living in England at the time.

paolohippi, are you implying that you are English, but not British?

Even I find that hard to believe.

friedo, why? Great Britain isn’t anything like America. The difference between being English and being a Scot is much more than being a Californian or being a Floridian (which is, different orange juice). The difference can be severe injury in the wrong pub. :wink:

I’m with Friedo on this, I thought you seemed to be saying that it would be wrong to call you “British” if you were English. So, I’'m confused too, (but then I often am).

Welcome to the Straight Dope - actually there have been previous threads addressing this subject, or at least seeking elucidation on it. The “search” facility will help you find them - fetch coffee first - they can be quite long! :slight_smile:

I don’t think that’s what paolohippi is saying.

I prefer being identified as English, rather than British, too. However, geographically and politically I know that I am both.

Ha! Simulpost! But, Zagadka, England/English is a subset of Britain/British (in current usage at any rate - it’s too early in the thread to get back to the pre Saxon Roman invasions) :slight_smile:

II see what jjimm means: I simply meant that technically it would be accurate to cll paolohippi British. Likewise, I’d rather be called Scottish, but would accept “British” as O.K., but “English” would simply be wrong.

After all, if the hypothetical Americans s/he has in mind have only heard a “Manchester” accent as portrayed by the “Daphne” character on the T.V. show "Frasier… well, some confusion must be allowed for. :slight_smile:

It’s NEVER too early for that, Celyn! Where’s Tamerlane? :smiley:

True, it is… but I’ve known a lot of English people who react negatively to being lumped in with all the others. Especially during football matches, if I recall. :slight_smile: The division does still exist, and they will acknowledge their British-ness… but some put English-ness (Or Scottish-ness, or Welsh-ness, or whatever) ahead of that. I think it is understandable… after all, them Canadians still prefer that term over “Americans”… denial is powerful.


Pfft, that is wha Guy Ritchie is for.

Oi! I reckon it is the U.S. people who have trouble with the concept of “America” as a continent and not a country. :slight_smile:

Yes - none of use likes being “dumped in with all the others” - what I meant is that it would be technically correct for the hypothetical Americans ( and yes - that would be a lot of different nationalities - tee hee) to call Paolohippi British.

Welcome aboard paolohippi. You might find these threads interesting:

Name for all peoples from the UK
How can I fake an English accent?
Great Britain/UK/England
Great Britain, England
American/English : language difference.
American Accent = English Accent
British Dopers! Tell me about these places in the UK
Stereotypical Britishism
What do the British (now) think of the American Reveloution?
How can I fake an English accent? (OP from Northern Ireland)
How can I fake an English accent Part 2

Oh, you’re all Americans. You just don’t know it yet. Mwuhahaha.

And the rest of the Americas isn’t countries… it is a vacation resort and source of cheap labor and raw material.

Sorry, I’m in an evil mood tonight.

But you see the confusion Americans face with the Brits. I wouldn’t dream of angering a Scot that way (mainly because my room mate is a bulky red head about 2 days away from breaking out a kilt and my distant family can be traced back to a castle somewhere thereabouts), but the English are fair game. :smiley:

When I go to Texas I’m going to call everyone a Yank.

When I was in the States I was called English, British, Australian, Dutch and German for some unknown reason but never Irish.

I never had a problem in the States, I was always recognised as “English” but that’s probably down to my Home Counties accent.

What really annoys a lot of English people is the way that people from other countries seem to think we all live in London and we all think it’s a wonderful city - when in reality it’s a festering cesspool of a city and the majority of us are glad to never have to see it!

Cackle cackle - yes you are, aren’t you?

<Celyn thinks she should merely watch from a safe distance>


And yojimbo - NOOOOO - don’t do it! There must be easier ways of giving yourself a terrible time!

And yet you describe your location as “Wolves”. That’s not going to be much use to the Yanks is it?

You might guess from my screen name that I’m not a Londoner myself and I’m pleased to report that no American I’ve spoken to has ever assumed that I was. In fact most British people (especially southerners) have difficulty guessing my geographical origins, so I wouldn’t expect an American to guess right. They do seem to have a short list of guesses ready for an English-speaker from outside the USA, though, and it’s pretty much a random exercise which one they pick.

Having said that, most British people have no real idea where Americans are from based on their accents.


obviously your from the blue half of Liverpool.

My assumption, and I’m first generation American if that counts for anything, the family is from Finsbury Park, London, is that if your English your British.

The Welsh/Scots/Ulstermen have the option of denying Britishness, as British is a political/geographic term originating with the unification of the islands under an English (British) crown. Thus England is a subset of Britian, as are the others, though not necesarrily by choice. To be English is to be British, but the others may for political reasons rightly deny Britishness.