Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
English Teacher Luke British versus American English words

Today we will discuss important differences between British and American English.

We will also share common British words that may be on the exam.

You need to be familiar with these, because you could see them on IELTS.

Today Luke from Luke’s English Podcast joins Jessica on the podcast.

He shares some insider tips about British vocabulary. Luke has appeared on All Ears English before. He showed us how to be funny in English in Episode 122.

What are some common vocabulary differences?

  • lift: an elevator
  • truck: lorry
  • apartment: flat
  • potato chips: crisps
  • line: queue

There are also some American expressions that are sneaking into British English.

  • my bad

Many British people don’t like to hear the British use Americanisms.

They don’t want American English to influence British English.

What are some British vocab differences that may show up on IELTS?

They have several different words for a crosswalk, depending on the type.

  • crosswalk: zebra crossing (if striped)
  • crosswalk: pedestrian crossing (if not striped)
  • pedestrian crossing controlled by a stoplight: pelican crossing
  • motion detecting pedestrian crossing: puffin crossing

There are also different words to refer to a vacation.

  • vacation: holiday (if extended trip)
  • vacation/sick day: day off (if one day off work)

For words like this, you will want to clarify if the examiner says ‘holiday.’

You can ask, “Do you mean a holiday like Christmas, or a vacation?”

  • hood (of a car): bonnet (also a woman’s hat from the 19th century)
  • trunk (of a car): boot
  • sweater: jumper
  • sweatshirt: pullover

For maps and map labeling

  • main street: high street

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Where can you find more British English resources?

You can listen to Luke’s English Podcast!

He also has a premium subscription program with extra resources.

There are also many movies, TV shows and podcasts where you can hear British English.


As you know, the IELTS exam is an international language test.

Therefore, you may see vocabulary that is specific to many different English-speaking countries.

You need to be familiar with British vocabulary that is different from American.

For more vocabulary tips and strategies, join 3 Keys IELTS, the only study program guaranteed to increase your score!


Luke is a diploma-qualified English teacher from London.

He has been teaching for nearly 20 years, doing stand up comedy for 10 years and in episodes of his award-winning podcast he uses his comedy and teaching skills to help you learn real British English in truly funny and memorable ways.

Learn English by listening to “Luke’s English Podcast.”

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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