Comedy Corner

What the English say and what they mean

What the British say What the British mean What others understand
I hear what you say I disagree and do not want to discuss it further He accepts my point of view
With the greatest respect… I think you are an idiot He is listening to me
That’s not bad That’s good That’s poor
That is a very brave proposal You are insane He thinks I have courage
Quite good A bit disappointing Quite good
I would suggest… Do it or be prepared to justify yourself Think about the idea, but do what you like
Oh, incidentally/by the way The primary purpose of our discussion is… That is not very important
I was a bit disappointed that I am annoyed that It doesn’t really matter
Very interesting That is clearly nonsense They are impressed
I’ll bear it in mind I’ve forgotten it already They will probably do it
I’m sure it’s my fault It’s your fault Why do they think it was their fault?
You must come for dinner It’s not an invitation, I’m just being polite I will get an invitation soon
I almost agree I don’t agree at all He’s not far from agreement
I only have a few minor comments Please re-write completely He has found a few typos
Could we consider some other options? I don’t like your idea They have not yet decided



Americans say This means
I love it! You just don’t CARE, do you? What the hell did you just do? I’m dying of embarrassment here
Oh, you can get away with it, you’re British An American wouldn’t be seen dead wearing what you’re wearing or doing what you just did
Bless her heart! This phrase is a bit of a put down, effectively allowing the speaker to slag off someone without recrimination.


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