What British People Say vs What We Mean

There’s a difference between what British people say and what they mean… sometimes, anyway! It can be confusing, particularly for people from cultures who speak more directly.

This is general advice and will not always be true, but did you find it interesting anyway? What was new for you?

Summary and Overarching Rules

It’s a good idea to avoid showing strong emotions in the UK – especially to strangers. This is heavily reflected in the language we use.

We tend to understate our emotions, so when we are happy, we play it down and make it sound less exciting. Conversely, when we are sad, we play it up and make it sound like things aren’t actually that bad. 

Politeness is also generally the standard. If you are very polite, that’s quite normal. If you are mad at someone, you might be a little bit less polite, but still fairly polite compared to other countries.

Confusing, right?

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