is perhaps an exception when it comes to metric versus Imperial - some
items are still imperial measurement while others are metric - they seem
to be battling to make that switch over, even though the official change
from Imperial to Metric was made in the '60s..
other interesting differences
make up their beds using blankets and sheets with a bedspread or comforter
to cover the bed. Most Commonwealthers use a "duvet" (pronounced
doo-vay) which is similar to a comforter but has a removable cover which
can be washed. In Australia it is called a doonah.
Continental pillows in
American are unheard of. These are oversize pillows found on many
Commonwealth beds more for decorative purposes or perhaps to lie up
against while reading a book or watching TV in bed.
Christmas time, Commonwealthers celebrate Christmas dinner in a similar
fashion to Americans with one notable exception. Christmas Crackers: paper
tubes that bang when you pull them apart and they contain a toy, a paper
hat and a riddle or joke, the usefulness of which is directly
proportionate to the amount of money paid for them.
billion in the Commonwealth is a trillion in the USA.
switches are opposite. Down is off in America, while down is on in the
it or not, toilet flush handles are (in most cases) also on the opposite side of the toilet.
main road in a town is normally called "Main Street" in the USA,
while in Britain it is invariably called "High Street". In
Australia, many towns have a main street called Station Street.
In Britain, most shoppers bag their
own groceries while in the USA most do not.
In the Commonwealth, checks (cheques)
meant for deposit only are "crossed" meaning two lines are drawn across
the top left corner. In the USA "For Deposit" is written on the back. If
you talk about crossing a cheque in the USA, you are going to get some
funny looks from your banker!
In most Commonwealth countries
(except Australia), you have to pay an annual license fee in order to
own a TV. This money goes
to the state run TV channels in order to finance programming. There is no
license fee in the USA.
Local phones calls in the USA
do not attract charge per minute and you can talk as long as you want to for no additional charge.
Very useful when dialing up to the Internet. In the Commonwealth you are
charged for local phone calls, based on how long you talk, except
Australia where you have no charge per minute on locals, you only pay a
In the USA in sporting events
such as gymnastics, it is possible to get a perfect 10 score. In the
Commonwealth the highest possible score given is normally a 9.9 - the
thought being that you cannot give a perfect 10 score because there could
always be someone who could do it better than you!
Americans are very polite,
greeting everyone including strangers passing by with "Hi, how ya doin'
today", and every thank you is followed with a "You're Welcome".
Commonwealthers are more reserved, and greetings with strangers passing
by are either brief nods or nothing at all.
In American schools you
usually sit individually, but in the UK you sit in a group of 2 or more
(Australia and South Africa single desks).
You may call a period of time you are out of the lesson for behavior,
"time-out", but in the UK you would call it "isolation". Uniform is
worn at nearly every school in the Commonwealth, however in the US not
many schools wear a uniform - only private schools.
American television is much
more "censored" and conservative than in the Commonwealth. For example, a
woman's breasts will not be shown on network or basic cable TV, neither
will any form of swear words be heard. In the Commonwealth it is not
uncommon to see nakedness or hear "bad" words on network TV - and here we
even include Canada, who lean very much toward their true Commonwealth
nature in this respect.
What of course is interesting is the fact that these strong moralistic values are not imposed
upon premium cable channels (such as HBO, Starz and Showtime, who will
show all of the above and MORE!) meaning that you CAN view whatever you want just so long as you are prepared
to pay for it!
In Britain some national daily
newspapers have what is known as a "page three girl", that is a picture on
page three of a topless girl posing.