November 15th, 2013
10 Words to Avoid when Visiting/Moving to USA
Petrol – Gas
“$20 Petrol”, I asked at the fuel filling station counter. The salesperson looked at me for a few seconds as I might be speaking Chinese, but then he figured out that I am asking about Gas. It’s weird, but that is what commonly used in the US. It should be gasoline or Petrol. At least I used to think this way or may be still. That is even against the science. Petrol is a liquid, how come called Gas? But doesn’t matter what you believe. Word “Gas” is used instead.
Toilet/Washroom – Restroom
Nature’s call? Search for the “Restroom” sign. First time, at the Chicago airport. I was searching for the Toilet/Washroom sign, but couldn’t find it. I totally ignored Restroom sign as I thought, it may be some kind of quick nap area. After searching for some time, I decided to try “Restroom” as that was the only place left and finally I FOUND IT!
Footpath – Sidewalk
I haven’t heard anybody using “footpath” here. It is better to use “Sidewalk” instead.
Fire Brigade – Fire Truck
One of my friends told me about this conversation between him and another person. Friend: Hey, Fire Brigade is here.
Other Person: Fire What? Friend: Yeah, Fire Brigade! That thing in red with Siren.
Other Person: You’re saying what? Fire Brigade? Bro, that’s a Fire Truck.
Moral of the story, Never use the word “Fire Brigade” use “Fire Truck” instead.
Punctured Tire – Flat Tire
“Flat Tire” is more commonly used in USA.
Dickie/Dicky/Diggy/Boot – Trunk
Always use “Trunk” instead of all alternatives.
Rubber – Eraser
I still laugh about this incident. Those were my early days in the US. I went to my office receptionist and asked her, “Where can I find a Pencil & Rubber.” She looked at me with a shocked face as I said something really bad. “You need what!” she almost screamed. I got confused with her reaction and started to feel that I have messed up something. Quickly I started to think about the alternate words and said, “I need something to write and erase.” She started to relax, “so you need a Pencil and Eraser. Never use the word Rubber again.” I was confused that why she said that, I came to my desk, search this word and started laughing as soon as I saw the meaning of it in American English. I went back to the receptionist and said, “Now, I know the meaning of it” and then we laughed like crazy…
Bonnet – Hood
Another story from early days. I went to an Auto workshop. “Please open the Hood” the mechanic asked. That time I had no clue what he was asking. I tried few seconds searching the “Hood” inside the car and as expected couldn’t find it. “I don’t know from where to open the Hood, I just bought this car” I replied. I knew, that was a stupid reply, but it was the only way out from this situation. But anyway, sometime you have to learn the hard way.
Football is not Soccer
Want to discuss Soccer game with an American? Don’t use the word Football as they would think that you are talking about American Football.
Beverage/Soft Drink – Soda
“Soda” is more commonly used instead of “soft drinks”.