I can only imagine the rise in TV viewing since the Covid-19 outbreak. But even before then, I discovered several British TV shows that have given Paula and me countless hours of entertainment from "across the pond" over the last 8 or 9 years.

First of all, let me say that I thoroughly enjoy most British programs ... if their accent is not so deep that I have to turn on the closed captioning in order to understand what's going on. But it's been an education at the same time. I've had to learn that there can be a significant difference between American English and British English.

For instance, we Americans love our potato chips. In England, they enjoy a bag of crisps. In England, chips are called French fries. I wonder if the British crisps come in as many flavors as do our chips here in the U.S. For those of you with a sweet tooth, the American cookie is called a biscuit in England.

In England, you don't stop by the drugstore — you visit the chemist. When you visit the chemist, you push a shopping trolley up and down the aisles instead of a cart ... but of course if you're in the deep south you push a buggy around in a store. In America, you leave the drugstore and drive home to your apartment ... which is your flat in England. If you live in a multi-level apartment building in the U.S., you probably have an elevator ... which is called a lift in the U.K.

In England, you drive on the left side of the road and fill up the tank with petrol — not gasoline as we do here in the states. In England, you clean the bugs off your windscreen. We call that screen the windshield in the U.S. And the hood of the American car is the bonnet for its British counterpart.

Speaking of cars, in our country we have a license plate on our vehicles. In England, it's called the number plate.

If it's cold outside, Americans wear a sweater while their British cousins wear a jumper. I wonder at Christmas if the British have "ugly jumper contests."

Americans go on vacation ... the British go on holiday. If you plan to have a little liquid refreshment while you're away, the British stop by the off-license store, which we call a liquor store. If you needed an extra bit of money for your time away, you might stop at the ATM in the U.S. and withdraw some spending money. In England, they call it the cash point. If you're taking a baby along on holiday, you might need what the British call as push chair ... the American equivalent of a stroller.

In the U.S., just about every one is addicted to their cell phones. In England, they call their ubiquitous communications devices mobile phones. 

In England, they don't have ZIP codes. Instead they have post codes. And in England your letters come to your postbox not your mailbox.

In the U.S., if you want to attach a picture to a cork board or bulletin board you could use thumbtacks. But in England they call them drawing pins.

One of my favorite words I've heard several times in British mysteries is torch, the American equivalent for flashlight. At first, I had to listen to the dialogue more than once to make the connection! 

If you'd like to sample some of the providers of British TV programs check out the Internet searching for British TV. If you're looking for a way to pass the time during the pandemic, I recommend Doc Martin, Father Brown, Death in Paradise, Rosemarie & Thyme, Vera, Shakespeare and Hathaway and Last Tango in Halifax just for starters.   

That's just a sampling of how you can brush up on the fine points of American English and British English, and solve a murder mystery or two at the same time.

Happy viewing.

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